Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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An officer with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks saw Sylvester Williams, a convicted felon, throw a pistol from the passenger seat of a fleeing vehicle the officer had been pursuing. A jury found Williams guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. On appeal, his appellate counsel has filed a Lindsey brief; Williams thereafter opted to file a pro se brief. He argued the State’s evidence was insufficient and the jury’s guilty verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. He also claimed a judge and attorney should have recused, a defense witness was wrongly prevented from testifying, a jury instruction was incorrectly refused, and he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The Mississippi Supreme Court found no merit to any of Williams’s claims, and affirmed. View "Williams v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Joseph Ward was convicted of burglary of a dwelling, for which he was sentenced to serve twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Ward appealed, arguing the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, and that the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence. Because the State failed to present substantive evidence proving the elements of the burglary charge against Ward, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed Ward’s conviction and sentence. View "Ward v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Christopher Lozier appealed a circuit court order denying his petition to relieve him of having to register under the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry Law(MSORL). Lozier claimed the trial court misinterpreted Mississippi Code Section 45-33- 47 as applied to him. Lozier also claimed that the MSORL was unconstitutional because it violated ex post facto laws of the federal and state constitutions, constituted cruel and unusual punishment under both constitutions, violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV, Section 1, of the federal constitution, and in Mississippi Code sections 11-7-301 through -309. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision. View "Lozier v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Maria Thompson filed sued Dennis Holliman and Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company (“Allstate”) alleging that Holliman had negligently operated his motor vehicle while pulling a trailer in a gas-station parking lot, resulting in a collision in which she was injured. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Holliman, and the circuit court entered a judgment consistent with the jury verdict. Aggrieved, Thompson appealed, alleging that the trial court had abused its discretion by excluding her expert witness. Finding no abuse of the trial court's discretion, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed judgment in Holliman's favor. View "Thompson v. Holliman" on Justia Law

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The mayor and board of aldermen of the Town of Leakesville, Mississippi adopted an ordinance extending and enlarging the boundaries of the town. The Greene County Chancery Court found Leakesville’s annexation request to be reasonable and entered a decree approving the annexation ordinance. Ollie Mae Clay, Crystal Collins, Christine Holloway, Jimetra Holloway, Voncile Holmes, Latiana Jones, Briggett Peters, Jacques Smith, Martin Ray Smith, Marcia Taylor, Clifton Thomas, Glenda Thomas, Jimmy Washington, and Pinchey Woullard (“Opponents”) appealed, contending the chancellor erred in his findings on seven of the twelve reasonableness factors, and that the chancellor’s findings in those areas were manifestly wrong and not supported by substantial and credible evidence. Find that the chancellor’s approval of the annexation request was supported by the record, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "In the Matter of the Enlarging, Extending and Defining the Corporate Limits and Boundaries of the Town of Leakesville, Greene County, Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Marquis Stevenson was convicted of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for shooting Marvion Leflore in the chest. On appeal, Stevenson argued his convictions were contrary to the weight of the evidence, and that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. Because Stevenson’s convictions were not contrary to the weight of the evidence, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. Because the record was insufficient to determine whether ineffective assistance of counsel was rendered, the Supreme Court dismissed his ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim without prejudice. View "Stevenson v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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April Garner appealed a chancellor’s custody modification, awarding custody of her minor child to the child’s uncle, awarding grandparent visitation to the child’s step-grandfather, finding of contempt, and assessing various fees and costs. Because the Mississippi Supreme Court found the chancellor properly modified custody and found April in contempt, but lacked the authority to award grandparent visitation to a step-grandparent, it affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "Garner v. Garner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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James Cobb Hutto, III was convicted of the capital murder of Ethel Simpson and was sentenced to death. He sought post-conviction relief from the Mississippi Supreme Court, or alternatively, leave to proceed at the trial court on grounds of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The Supreme Court found Hutto failed to present a substantial showing of the denial of a state or federal right, so it denied his petition. View "Hutto v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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The Tippah County Board of Supervisors abandoned a public road, then rescinded its decision a year and a half later without giving notice to the owners of the land on which the road was located. The Mississippi Supreme Court concluded that doing so violated the landowners’ due-process rights, so it affirmed the circuit court’s order voiding the recision order. View "Tippah County v. Lerose" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Chad Bowman of one count of burglary of a dwelling - a hunting camp where his wife had stayed during the early part of Mississippi’s bowhunting season. On appeal, Bowman argued the State failed to sufficiently prove the hunting camp was, at the time of the alleged burglary, a dwelling house. Bowman did not dispute that, under Mississippi law, a hunting camp could be considered a dwelling house. Instead, Bowman argues the hunting camp was not Emily Anne’s dwelling house, as charged in the indictment, because she neither owned the hunting camp, nor did she intend the hunting camp to be her permanent residence. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found the State sufficiently proved Emily Anne was residing in the hunting camp when Bowman broke in. Because of the apparent confusion over the length of time Bowman had to serve, the Court remanded the case for resentencing. View "Bowman v. Mississippi" on Justia Law