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David Thomas admitted in oral and written statements to police that he and Jontez Garvis had attacked Fred Jackson and stole cash from him. After being hospitalized for forty-one days due to the injuries inflicted by the two men, Jackson died. Thomas was indicted for and convicted of capital murder. The trial court sentenced Thomas to life in prison without parole. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Thomas’s conviction and sentence. View "Thomas v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Joe and Dianne McGinty sued Grand Casinos of Mississippi Inc.-Biloxi alleging negligence and breach of implied warranty of merchantability for serving unfit food. The McGintys ate breakfast at the Island View Café inside the Grand Casinos. Mr. McGinty ordered “Mama’s Eggs and Chops,” which included two grilled pork chops. Mr. McGinty took a bite of the pork chop and “didn’t like it.” Mrs. McGinty finished the remainder from his plate. Hours later, after only consuming water following the "bad" chop, Mrs. McGinty began to feel nauseated, and she experienced diarrhea at the airport. They then caught a flight to Los Angeles, California. About an hour into the flight, Ms. McGinty began vomiting. Mr. McGinty also fell ill. He began to sweat profusely, feel nauseous, and become incontinent. The flight attendants gave him oxygen and moved the couple to the back of the plane. Mr. McGinty vomited and had diarrhea as well. The McGintys did not eat or drink anything on the airplane. When the plane landed in Los Angeles, Mr. McGinty was carried off the airplane on a stretcher by emergency medical technicians. The McGintys were transported to a local hospital by ambulance. On the way to the hospital, Mrs. McGinty began to vomit a large amount of blood. At the hospital, she received two blood transfusions and was treated for an esophageal tear. Mr. McGinty was discharged from the hospital the same day, but Mrs. McGinty stayed for three days. No tests were conducted for food poisoning at the hospital. Upon returning home, Mrs. McGinty saw her general doctor. Prior medical records from her general doctor show Mrs. McGinty had a history of digestive problems. Two months before the alleged food poisoning, her medical records noted that she suffered from “abdominal pain within 30 minutes after eating which is chronic/recurring frequently, . . . [c]rampy/colicky abdominal pain, diarrhea 15-30 minutes after eating which is chronic.” Further, Mrs. McGinty’s medical records show that she had vomited blood in March 2003, which also occurred prior to the alleged food poisoning. Mrs. McGinty’s treating physician from the California hospital concluded Mrs. McGinty’s “upper gastrointestinal bleeding was caused by the severe vomiting, which related to food and drink [she] had prior to the event.” The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Grand Casinos as to both McGinty claims, and the Court of Appeals affirmed as to negligence, but reversed as to breach-of-implied-warranty. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court and affirmed. View "McGinty v. Grand Casinos of Mississippi, Inc. - Biloxi" on Justia Law

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Rickey Portis was convicted of two counts of sexual battery based on allegations that he repeatedly abused his then eight- and nine-year-old stepdaughters. The trial court sentenced him to two life sentences, to run consecutively. Portis appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by: (1) refusing to grant a continuance; and (2) in failing to allow him to introduce a prior inconsistent statement of a prosecution witness. Furthermore, Portis argued: (3) the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence; (4) the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence;(5) cumulative error required reversal; and (6) Portis’s sentences were disproportionate to the crime. Finding no such errors, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Portis' convictions. View "Portis v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Roger Jackson appealed his convictions for aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm. The jury acquitted Jackson of deliberate-design murder, which was charged in the same indictment. Jackson claimed the trial court erred by: (1) limiting defense counsel’s cross- examination of State’s witnesses; and (2) limiting defense counsel’s closing argument about reasonable doubt. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Jackson’s convictions. View "Jackson v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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In 2011, the Mississippi Legislature amended Mississippi Code Section 97-37-7, granting enhanced concealed-carry licensees the privilege of carrying a concealed firearm in Mississippi courthouses, save for courtrooms, which the Legislature left within the province of judges. Litigants, witnesses, and family members who did not have enhanced concealed-carry licenses were subject to the general ban found in Mississippi Code Section 97-37-1 (Rev. 2014), which makes carrying a concealed weapon illegal for persons without enhanced concealed-carry licenses. Nonetheless, the three chancellors of the Fourteenth Chancery District, on their own motion, issued a court order prohibiting enhanced concealed-carry licensees from possessing a firearm in and around courthouse buildings of the Fourteenth District. Thereafter, Ricky Ward, an enhanced concealed-carry licensee, filed a petition to modify or dismiss the order. The chancellors issued another order denying Ward’s petition and reiterated that enhanced concealed-carry licensees would be prohibited from possessing a firearm in all Fourteenth District courthouses. Ward then filed an Extraordinary Writ of Prohibition to the Mississippi Supreme Court, seeking to have the orders vacated as unconstitutional and in direct conflict with state law. The Supreme Court ordered additional briefing, after which concluded the orders were facially unconstitutional. Furthermore, the orders "defy existing Mississippi statutory and caselaw. Accordingly, the orders are vacated. They are nullius juris." View "Ward v. Colom" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review was whether Robert Hammons Jr. properly named fictitious parties in his original complaint so his amended complaint related back to the filing of the original complaint to avoid the statute-of-limitations bar. The Circuit Court ruled that Hammons had failed to comply with the fictitious-party rules and granted summary judgment for the defendants. The Court of Appeals, in an evenly divided decision, affirmed the circuit court’s judgment. Hammons’s amended complaint, fifteen pages longer than his original complaint, added new parties and new claims against those parties. As the amendment was not a substitution under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 9(h), the Supreme Court determined it did not relate back to the time of filing of the original complaint under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(2). Further, the amended complaint was filed outside the statute of limitations, and Hammons’s claim was time-barred. Thus, the Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court and the decision of the Court of Appeals. View "Hammons v. Navarre" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In 2016, the Adjutant General of the Mississippi Military Department (Department) terminated Cindy King’s employment with the Department after conducting an investigation into some of King’s activities. King began working for the Department approximately twenty years ago, and her role was that of a supervisor in the Environmental Office at Camp Shelby. However, in late 2015, an officer was tasked with investigating whether King “utilized information garnered through her position as the Camp Shelby Environmental Officer to front run the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program for personal gain” by purchasing a specific piece of property located near Camp Shelby. King denied the claim against her, but after concluding the investigation, the Adjutant General terminated King’s employment with the Department. Aggrieved, King appealed her termination to the Mississippi Employee Appeals Board (Board); however, the Department challenged the Board’s jurisdiction to hear King’s appeal. The chief hearing officer assigned to King’s appeal agreed with the Department and dismissed King’s appeal. King then appealed for full Board review, and the Board affirmed the chief hearing officer’s determination. Next, King appealed to the Forrest County Circuit Court. The circuit court heard arguments and issued an opinion and judgment affirming the Board. Finally, King filed this appeal. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that, while King may be considered a state service employee as defined by the Legislature, the Adjutant General, by virtue of three statutory provisions, was not subject to review by the Board. View "King v. Mississippi Military Department" on Justia Law

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The City of Horn Lake and DeSoto County appealed after the DeSoto County Chancery Court granted Sass Muni-V, LLC’s (Sass Muni’s) motion for summary judgment. The result of the chancery court’s decision voided a 2008 tax sale at which Sass Muni purchased some property in DeSoto County and also refunded Sass Muni the purchase price of $530,508. Due to the clear and unambiguous language of Mississippi Code Section 27-43-3, the chancery clerk’s failure to give proper notice of the tax sale rendered the sale void. Therefore, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Horn Lake v. Sass Muni-V, LLC" on Justia Law

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Prior to April 2016, a chancellor could, as part of a contested adoption, terminate the parents’ rights, even when the termination issue was pending in youth court as part of a child-abuse proceeding. In April 2016, the adoption and termination-of-parental-rights statutes changed. Now, a chancellor cannot grant an adoption contested by the parents unless the parents’ rights have been terminated under the Mississippi Termination of Parental Rights Law (MTPRL). Under the MTPRL, the Mississippi Legislature carved out an important exception to the chancery court’s jurisdiction over termination proceedings, giving “a county court, when sitting as a youth court with jurisdiction of a child in an abuse or neglect proceeding, original exclusive jurisdiction to hear a petition for termination of parental rights against a parent of that child.” In this contested adoption, the chancellor applied the MTPRL and recognized the youth court had exclusive jurisdiction over the request to terminate parental rights because the youth court already had jurisdiction over the child as part of an abuse proceeding. And unless and until the youth court terminated the parents’ rights, the chancery court could not grant the petition to adopt the child. For this reason, the chancellor dismissed the adoption so the termination could be pursued in youth court. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the chancellor correctly interpreted and applied the controlling law when he dismissed the adoption petition, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "M.A.S. v. Mississippi Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In May 2017, Derrick Hall was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder. Due to his status as a habitual offender, Hall was sentenced to serve life in prison. Having his posttrial motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) denied by the circuit court, Hall petitioned the Mississippi Supreme Court for relief. Finding no reversible error, the Court affirmed Hall's conviction. View "Hall v. Mississippi" on Justia Law