Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Mississippi

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Appellant Troy Wesley lost the Democratic primary election for Mississippi’s Washington County District 3 Supervisor on August 4, 2015. He subsequently petitioned the circuit court to request a new election, alleging that numerous irregularities had invalidated the former election. After a hearing on the matter, the Washington County Circuit Court granted summary judgment to defendants Carl McGee and the Washington County Democratic Executive Committee. Wesley appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court. During its review, the Court found Wesley cited no discrepancy in the original vote totals and instead focused his arguments on procedural problems, including an alleged lack of ballot-box security. “While the failure to maintain ballot-box security is a serious issue worthy of reprimand,” the Supreme Court found Wesley’s arguments were insufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact and that summary judgment was properly entered in favor of the defendants. View "Wesley v. Washington Cty. Democratic Exec. Committee" on Justia Law

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Following a narrow loss to Gloria Dickerson in the Sunflower County Board of Supervisor’s Democratic Primary election, Barry Bryant filed a Petition to Contest Qualifications of Gloria Dickerson as Nominee for Supervisor. Specifically, Bryant claimed that Dickerson was not a resident of Sunflower County. In the Sunflower County Circuit Court, Senior Status Judge Breland Hilburn heard the contest and found in favor of Dickerson. Bryant appealed the circuit court’s decision. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Bryant v. Dickerson" on Justia Law

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Sheriel Perkins lost the 2013 Greenwood mayoral race by 206 votes. She filed an election contest against the winner, Mayor Carolyn McAdams. In her complaint, Perkins alleged illegal voting and fraud. But at trial, the only evidence she produced was that fifty-two absentee ballots were wrongly counted and one absentee ballot and nine affidavit ballots were wrongly rejected. Her other claims of illegal voting and fraud had no evidentiary support. Thus, the trial court granted McAdams’s motion for a directed verdict and entered a judgment in McAdams’s favor. Perkins appealed; however, the contested mayoral term ended June 30, 2017. So her appeal was made moot by the time of this opinion. Conceding mootness, Perkins still insisted the Mississippi Supreme Court should consider the merits of her illegal-voting claim under the public-interest exception to the mootness doctrine. The Supreme Court found Perkins presented no evidence that anyone voted illegally in a precinct outside of his or her residence. Rather, according to her own witnesses, it was the election materials - not the voters - that ended up in the wrong precincts. And Mississippi statutory law was clear that misdelivery of election materials would not prevent the holding of an election. "Instead, poll managers should provide a suitable substitute procedure, which is exactly what occurred here." The Court therefore dismissed Perkins' appeal as moot. View "Perkins v. McAdams" on Justia Law

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Craig Jones filed a petition for judicial review of the Tunica County Democratic Executive Committee’s (TCDEC) decision that he was not qualified to run in its primary for Tunica County Board of Supervisors, Beat Five position. The trial court found that Jones’ name should be on the primary ballot. TCDEC appealed, but failed to prosecute the appeal and kept Jones’ name off the primary ballot. The trial court then vacated the primary election one day before the general election, which took place and which was won by an independent candidate. Jones then petitioned under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 60 for relief from the judgment vacating the primary election, which the trial court granted. Because the trial court lacked authority to enter the second and third orders, as no election contest was ever filed, the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated those orders and held the uncontested election results currently stand. View "Tunica County Democratic Executive Committee v. Jones" on Justia Law

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This election contest arose out of the November 4, 2014, general election for the circuit judge seat in Mississippi’s eleventh circuit district, subdistrict 3. Charles Webster received 3,255 votes, whereas Chaka Smith received 2,369 votes. Of the total votes cast, 390 were cast by absentee ballot. Webster received 296 of the absentee ballots and Smith received the remaining 94. After the election had been certified, Smith conducted statutory examinations of the ballot boxes. During the examinations, Smith requested to photocopy or scan the contents of the ballot boxes. The Coahoma, Quitman, and Tunica County circuit clerks denied these requests. Smith filed a petition in the Quitman County Circuit Court seeking both declaratory relief and to contest the election, seeking a declaration on whether he had the right to make copies of election documents before contesting the election. In addition, Smith argued most of the absentee ballots violated Mississippi law and were comingled to the extent that illegal absentee ballots could not be separated from legal ones. Webster successfully moved for summary judgment; the trial court found no genuine issue of material fact existed regarding which candidate received the most votes in the election. Smith appealed. Finding no error in the grant of summary judgment in favor of Webster, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Smith v. Webster" on Justia Law

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Once removed from office, a justice court judge may not return to it by reelection or otherwise Former Justice Court Judge Rickey Thompson challenged the Lee County Democratic Executive Committee’s decision to withhold his name from the general-election ballot for a new term as a justice court judge, based on the Court’s order removing him from the office of justice court judge prior to the election. The circuit court dismissed Thompson’s case, finding him ineligible for judicial office. The Mississippi Supreme Court concurred with the circuit court and affirmed. Thompson also claimed that the proper procedures for removing him from the ballot were not followed, as neither the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance nor the Lee County Election Commission had authority to disqualify him. Because the Supreme Court held that Thompson’s removal was permanent, it did not address whether the proper procedures for removing him from the ballot were followed. View "Thompson v. Mississippi Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Tasha Dillon contested the results of the August 4, 2015, Democratic primary for Mississippi House of Representatives (“House”) District 98. The Pike County Circuit Court dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Dillon appealed. Finding that the circuit court erred in finding it lacked jurisdiction, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Dillon v. Myers" on Justia Law

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Floyd McKee contested the election after he was defeated by Joe Chandler in the Democratic primary run-off election for District 5 Supervisor of Clay County. After the Clay County Democratic Executive Committee (CCDEC) ruled in favor of Chandler, McKee filed a petition for judicial review with the Clay County Circuit Court. Chandler filed a motion to dismiss McKee’s petition, arguing that it was not timely filed. This interlocutory appeal stems from the circuit court’s denial of Chandler’s motion to dismiss. Finding that the circuit court erred in failing to grant Chandler’s motion to dismiss, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment and remanded this case back to the circuit court with instructions to dismiss McKee’s petition for judicial review. View "Chandler v. McKee" on Justia Law

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Dr. Willie Wilson timely submitted his petition and qualification papers to the Mississippi State Democratic Executive Committee (the “Party”), to run for President in the 2016 Democratic primary. The Party rejected Dr. Wilson’s petition but later reconsidered and requested the Mississippi Secretary of State to place Dr. Wilson’s name on the primary ballot. But, because absentee and overseas military voting had already begun, the Secretary of State refused. The Circuit Court of Hinds County refused to grant Dr. Wilson an injunction and he appealed. Under the particular facts and circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court found that Dr. Wilson’s due process rights were violated, so the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Wilson v. Hosemann" on Justia Law

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The Union County Election Commission disqualified Roger Browning from running for Union County Superintendent of Education, finding that he was not a qualified elector of the Union County School District. The Circuit Court overturned the Commission’s decision and issued an injunction requiring Browning’s name to be placed on the ballot for the general election. James Basil, the incumbent Union County Superintendent of Education appealed the circuit court’s decision, arguing that Browning did not meet the residency requirement to serve as county superintendent. After review, the Supreme Court held that Browning, a resident of the New Albany Municipal Separate School District, was not eligible to run for Union County Superintendent of Education. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Circuit Court and rendered judgment in Basil’s favor. View "Basil v. Browning" on Justia Law