Decisions – MSSC – 9/28/2018

Hand down list 

Eric Denorris Kennedy  v. State of Mississippiout of time appeal – In 1998,  Kennedy  entered a guilty plea to murder.  In 2013 he filed a motion for post-conviction relief  arguing that the statute under which he had pleaded guilty was
unconstitutional, etc.  A year later he filed a mandamus in the MSSC asking it to compel the circuit court to rule on his motion.  The trial court then entered an order denying relief. Apparently the order was not provided to Kennedy. In November, 2014, Kennedy filed a motion in this Court seeking sanctions against the circuit court for having not provided him a copy of the August 29, 2014, order denying his PCR motion. Kennedy claimed this had prevented his filing a timely appeal. Kennedy also asked this Court either to treat his June 25, 2014, petition for a writ of mandamus as a notice of appeal or to mandate that the circuit court reopen his time to appeal. In dismissing Kennedy’s motion, the Court explained that Rule 4(h) of the MRAP  directs a party such as Kennedy to request an out-of-time appeal directly from the circuit court.  Kennedy filed a notice of appeal in the circuit court, as well as a motion for an out-of-time appeal, claiming he never received a copy of the circuit court’s August 29, 2014, order denying his PCR motion. When the trial court failed to rule on his motion for an out-of-time appeal, Kennedy filed another petition for a writ of mandamus with this Court, seeking to compel a ruling. On March 15, 2016, the circuit court entered an order denying Kennedy’s motion to reopen the time to file a notice of appeal, and this Court dismissed that mandamus petition as moot on March 29, 2016. In  April  2016, Kennedy filed what he called a “Motion for Rehearing and Also Petition to Treat Filed Petition for Interlocutory Appeal as Direct Appeal.” Along with that filing, Kennedy provided the docket from the circuit court showing that the August 29, 2014, order denying his motion for post-conviction relief was not entered on the docket until  October 13, 2015. The MSSC  held that Kennedy timely had perfected an appeal of the order denying his second PCR motion, because the order dated August 29, 2014, had not been filed and docketed until October 13, 2015.  In the meantime, the appeal proceeded in case number 2016-CP-00755-COA on the notice of appeal filed by Kennedy on November 18, 2014. The Court of Appeals failed to consider this Court’s order of May 25, 2016, which had held that Kennedy’s appeal was timely and affirmed the circuit court’s denial of an out-of-time appeal.

We hold today, as the panel of this Court held on May 25, 2016, that Kennedy’s
notice of appeal was timely. While the notice of appeal was premature, as a matter of law, it effectively was filed on October 13, 2015, the same day the order denying Kennedy’s motion for post-conviction relief was entered on the docket. See Miss. R. App. P. 4(b). Therefore, the Court of Appeals’ opinion in this case is reversed, and the matter is remanded to the Court of Appeals for an opinion on the merits addressing the denial of Kennedy’s second motion for post-conviction relief filed on December 16, 2013.


The Mississippi Bar v. Yvonne L. Hughesdisbarment – Hughes was disbarred in Louisiana for various reasons including numerous instances of being paid to do work and then not doing it.  She would take money to represent a criminal defendant and then not bother to show up to court. The Mississippi Supreme Court grants the Bar’s request for reciprical discipline and disbars her in Mississippi.