Hand down list

Brian Burns v. Sonador Rei LLC –  standing/tax sale – Burns owned property at  469 Rockdale Drive in Jackson.  When he failed to pay his property taxes in 2012, the State of Mississippi acquired the possessory rights to the property.  Burns allowed the two year redemption period to expire without payment, and the State sold the property to Sonador Rei LLC in October 2016.  In November Burns  sued Sonador for trespass and  Sonador filed suit in accordance to confirm the tax patent and quiet title.  The chancellor confirmed the tax patent.  Burns had not been a party to the lawsuit against the State, filed a motion to set aside the judgment confirming title.  The court denied Burns’s motion, citing Burns’s failure to challenge the validity of the tax sale.  The COA affirms on the grounds that lacked standing to challenge the chancellor’s judgment because he had no interest in the subject property after it was sold to Sonador. 

Anthony Terrell Booker  v. State of Mississippi juvenile resentencing under Miller/waiver of jury resentencing – In 2004 when he was a sixteen, Anthony Terrell Booker was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life  without eligibility for parole.  His sentence was later vacated pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), which abolished mandatory life without parole for juveniles.  The Circuit Court of Jackson County conducted a sentencing hearing after Booker  waived resentencing by a jury.  The court again sentenced Booker to life without eligibility for parole.  On appeal, the COA reverses finding that Booker was entitled to resentencing by a jury and that his waiver, because it was not written, failed to comply with MCA Sect. 99-19-101.

Ruth Dedeaux v. Coastal Developments Inc. –  property –  Dedeaux was awarded a judgment against Coastal in the amount of $33,419.76 plus 8% interest.  Four years later the amount with interest equaled $44,113.84.   Dedeaux obtained a writ of execution against 4 parcels of land owned by Coastal.   At  the sheriff’s sale she purchased the four parcels for $20,000.   She later sold three of them for $76,5000.  Coastal sued to set aside the conveyances.   The court found Dedeaux’s bid of $20,00 to be unconscionably low and ordered Dedaex to pay Coastal $32,386.16 as reimbursement for the overage amount and to convey the fourth parcel back to Coastal.  On appeal, the COA affirms the order requiring Dedeaux to convey the unsold parcel to Coastal and to reimburse Coastal for any surplus. The COA, however, finds that the court erred in failing to take into account the $9,458.63 in real estate expenses that Dedeaux incurred and reduces the reimbursement amount to $22,927.53. 

The Saxon Group Inc. v. South Mississippi Electric Power Associationbreach of contract – SMEPA is a generation transmission electric power coop that sells electricity wholesale to eleven distribution coops in Mississippi. Saxon was a Georgia construction company that was awarded a bid for mechanical and electrical construction services at SMEPA’s Moselle Power Station. There were a few disagreements and Saxon claimed that SMEPA used these to avoid paying Saxon $3,000,000 it owed. Saxon sued. The jury returned a verdict for Saxon and awarded $93,326 on Saxon’s claim for return of backcharges withheld by SMEPA, $90,000 withheld by SMEPA as liquidated damages, and $1.2 million in damages caused by SMEPA’s wrongful delay in payments. The jury denied SMEPA’s counterclaim for damages concerning an alleged misrepresentation claim related to a change order. Saxon appealed on two issues: the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of SMEPA as to Saxon’s contractual claim for interest on the final balances due Saxon for its work on the Project, withheld by SMEPA for three years and the court’s granting of SMEPA’s motion for JNOV of the jury’s award to Saxon of $1.2 million in consequential damages. The COA affirms. 

Malcolm Ward  v. State of Mississippi –  suggestive identification techniques – Ward was convicted of holding up a woman at gunpoint in her carport.  Ward was spotted nearby wearing the clothing as described by his victim.  On appeal he argues that the court erred in granting two strikes for cause to jurors who were acquainted with the defendant. The CPA finds no error. He also challenges the out-of-court and in-court identification by the victim.  The police spotted Ward right after the robbery based on his clothing. An officer took a cell phone photo of Ward and sent it to another officer who showed it to the victim who identified Ward as the man who robbed her. Her husband stated he had seen him walking down the street earlier.  The COA finds that the identifications were not the result of improper police activity.