JACKSON – The state Court of Appeals this weeked ruled in two Northeast Mississippi cases, sending an Alcorn County case back to Circuit Court and affirming a Tippah County ruling.
In the Alcorn County case, Troy Pittman will get another chance for a Circuit Court hearing on a rape conviction.
Pittman was convicted in April 2000 on three counts of sexual battery and two counts of statutory rape.
The Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions on sexual battery, but the rape convictions were reversed and sent back to Alcorn County for lack of evidence.
The case also packs some significance because it instructs judges on how to treat deadlines when the Supreme Court OKs new considerations.
After the Supreme Court denied its review, Pittman asked to be allowed to request Circuit Court reconsideration. He got it, but when he asked the Circuit Court for a hearing, he was told he had filed after the three-year statute of limitations.
Pittman appealed after the Circuit Court denied his motion to reconsider.
“The circuit court must examine the record and determine whether an evidentiary hearing is required,” stated the 8-2 opinion written by Judge Kenneth Griffis.
Griffis is saying that whenever the Supreme Court finds enough merit in a petition to grant relief to proceed, the trial judge can’t turn around and summarily dismiss the petition without seeking an answer from the state – even, as Pittman’s petition apparently did to his trial judge – if the filing deadline appears to have passed.
A second case, the Court of Appeals affirmed a Tippah County judgment in favor of Dillingham Motors, which was sued by AAA Cooper Transportation Co.
In May 2008, Circuit Judge Robert Elliott ruled for Dillingham, and AAA Cooper appealed, claiming the court abused its discretion when it denied AAA Cooper more time to gather evidence.
“Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court,” wrote Judge Tyree Irving in the 9-0 decision. Judge Donna Barnes did not participate.
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal