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Brandy Williams was convicted by jury of the capital murder of Sheriff Garry Welford. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. On appeal, Williams argued the trial court erred by not quashing her indictment, improperly instructing the jury and admitting evidence of her prior crimes. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found no reversible error and affirmed. View "Williams v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Joseph Patrick Brown was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1994, and his conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1996. Brown notified the Supreme Court of his intent to file a successive petition for post-conviction relief. Included in that notice was a motion requesting the Court to direct the Circuit Court of Adams County to assume jurisdiction over “discovery matters relevant to Mr. Brown’s successive post-conviction claims.” The Supreme Court unanimously denied that motion on December 17, 2015, finding that “there has been no minimal showing of any need for pre-petition discovery.” Brown’s Motion for Leave to Invoke Discovery and Seek Access Orders in the Circuit Court was thus denied. “The only thing differentiating this motion from the previous request is that Brown now presents [the Supreme] Court with several discovery ‘needs.’ Aside from references to a claim of ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel, Brown’s motion does not identify with any particularity the issues that he plans to raise in his successive petition. Instead, he claims that so-called ‘pre-petition discovery’ is necessary for him to ‘file a meaningful and constitutionally adequate motion for leave to proceed in the trial court with a petition for post-conviction relief.’” View "Brown v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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A homeowner appealed an award of attorney fees associated with a complaint filed against him for injunctive relief to enforce a neighborhood’s restrictive covenants. The Deer Haven Owners Association filed a Complaint for Mandatory Injunction and Other Relief against Arlin George Hatfield III, claiming he had violated the subdivision’s restrictive covenants by erecting pens for various fowl without the covenants’ required prior approval, and that Hatfield’s fowl had violated the covenants’ prohibition against noxious or offensive activities by roaming around the subdivision and making loud noises. The Association sought an injunction ordering Hatfield to comply with the covenants and an award of attorney fees. According to the chancellor, the original complaint sought to have the fowl and pens removed for violations of the covenants, and the Association prevailed on that argument, therefore, fees were warranted for the Association. Hatfield appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Hatfield v. Deer Haven Homeowners Association, Inc." on Justia Law

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In an effort to increase chances of conception, Lacy Dodd underwent surgery to remove ovarian cysts and, potentially, one fallopian tube. During the surgery, Lacy’s physician, Dr. Randall Hines, discovered that both of Lacy’s ovaries appeared abnormal to the extent that they seemed cancerous. Dr. Hines consulted, intraoperatively, with his colleague, Dr. Paul Seago. Dr. Seago concluded that both ovaries lacked any appreciable amount of normal tissue and were highly suspicious for malignancy; he recommended that it was in Lacy’s best interest to remove both ovaries. Dr. Hines agreed and removed both ovaries. A biopsy later revealed that Lacy’s ovaries were not cancerous. Lacy and her husband, Charles Dodd, filed a pro se complaint against Dr. Hines, Dr. Seago, and Mississippi Reproductive Medicine, PLLC, claiming that her ovaries were removed without consent. Lacy also alleged defendants were negligent in failing to obtain informed consent from the patient and/or her family to proceed with the procedure, failing to test tissues and analyze the results; and misdiagnosing Lacy’s condition as malignant. The trial court found that Lacy had consented to the removal of her ovaries based on a consent form executed by Lacy prior to the surgery and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Despite the sole issue of consent before the trial court, it entered a final judgment with respect to all of Lacy’s claims alleged in her complaint. On appeal, the Court of Appeals determined that Lacy’s claim was “battery-based” and held that Lacy did not give express consent for the removal of her ovaries and the consent form did not summarily provide consent to remove her ovaries. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the result reached by the Court of Appeals, holding that there is a genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment as to whether Lacy consented to the removal of her ovaries in accordance with the Court’s decisions in Cole v. Wiggins, 487 So. 2d 203 (Miss. 1986), and Fox v. Smith, 594 So. 2d 596 (Miss. 1992). The trial court’s judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings for reasons different than those of the Court of Appeals. View "Dodd v. Hines" on Justia Law

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Nicholas Johnson appealed his convictions of burglary and attempted armed robbery, claiming the State presented insufficient evidence to identify him as the perpetrator and that the jury found he was the perpetrator contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Because three witnesses identified Johnson with absolute certainty, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Johnson v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Jafron Roberts was convicted by jury of kidnapping and statutory rape, but was acquitted him of sexual battery. The Circuit Court imposed the maximum penalty for the kidnapping conviction, thirty years, and sentenced Roberts to thirty-seven years for the statutory rape conviction, to run concurrently with his sentence for kidnapping. Roberts appealed, arguing: (1) the trial court should have granted his motion to suppress his statement to the police; (2) the trial court should have granted his request for production and in camera inspection of medical records; (3) the State’s loss of exculpatory evidence denied his right to due process; (4) the trial court should have excluded the testimony of the State’s DNA expert; and (5) a pre-indictment delay of approximately one year violated his due process rights. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirm Roberts’ convictions. View "Roberts v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Kevin Boston was convicted of capital murder for the killing of Willie Dean. Boston raised five issues on appeal, one of which was raised by Boston himself in a pro se supplemental brief. In that supplemental brief, Boston argued the trial court erred by granting the State’s “pre-arming instruction.” Finding that the granting of the pre-arming instruction was reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed Boston’s conviction and sentence and remanded the case for a new trial. View "Boston v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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This civil action arose out of the alleged mishandling of the Conservatorship of Victoria Newsome. Victoria Newsome’s mother and conservator, Marilyn Newsome, filed suit against former chancellor Joe Dale Walker, Chancellor David Shoemake, and other parties. Victoria’s severely infirm condition was the result of medical malpractice. A trust was established out of the proceeds from settlement of the malpractice case. Newsome raised numerous claims seeking redress, and a full accounting of the conservatorship, when the two chancellors were sanctioned by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. The Mississippi Supreme Court determined the doctrine of judicial immunity applied to bar Newsome’s claims, made on behalf of the Victoria Newsome Conservatorship, against former chancellor Joe Dale Walker and Chancellor David Shoemake. The Court therefore affirmed the judgment of the Chancery Court of Simpson County granting a Rule 54(b) dismissal. In addition, the Court granted Keely McNulty’s Motion to Strike Allegation and others involved in the administration of the conservatorship. View "Newsome v. Shoemake" on Justia Law

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Shelia Regan filed her first medical-malpractice claim against South Central Regional Medical Center in 2005. Three lawsuits, two appeals, and more than ten years later, there was no trial. Her present lawsuit was reinstated in 2010. But since then, it languished for more than five years. During this time, Regan took only one deposition. Based on her inactivity, the trial judge granted South Central’s motion to dismiss her case without prejudice for failure to prosecute, finding lesser sanctions insufficient. Finding no error, this Court affirms the trial court’s dismissal without prejudice. Regan appealed, arguing: (1) the trial court failed to consider her lawyer’s communications with defense counsel; (2) the trial judge did not consider lesser sanctions; and (3) dismissal without prejudice here is tantamount to a dismissal with prejudice. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Regan v. South Central Regional Medical Center" on Justia Law

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The Mayor and the Columbus City Council members held four pairs of prearranged, nonsocial and subquorum gatherings over the course of two months. For each pair of gatherings, the Mayor first met with three Council members, and then later the same day, he met with the remaining three Council members on the same topic. Because all of the gatherings were just shy of a quorum (four Council members would have constituted a quorum), the gatherings were not open to the public. A reporter for The Commercial Dispatch received notice of the meetings, and filed an Open Meetings Act Complaint against the Mayor and the City of Columbus. The Ethics Commission found that the Mayor and the City of Columbus had violated the Open Meetings Act. The Mayor and the City of Columbus appealed to the chancery court. The chancery court affirmed the Commission’s judgment on de novo review. The Mayor and the City of Columbus appealed to this Court. Finding no reversible error in the chancery court's judgment, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Columbus v. Commercial Dispatch" on Justia Law