Appeals Court to hold hearings at MSU

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The state Court of Appeals hits the road in November, heading to Mississippi State University on Nov. 15 to hold oral arguments in two cases.

The Appeals Court periodically schedules oral arguments on college campuses — and occasionally at other locations — as a teaching tool for students. It is known as the “Court on the Road” program.

Earlier this year, the Appeals Court heard oral arguments at University of Mississippi School of Law.

A panel of three Appeals Court judges will answer questions from MSU students after the oral arguments, but will not talk about the cases which were argued.

The two cases among dozens the Appeals Court will take up during the November-December term.

The first case before the court at 1:15 p.m. at the Henry Hunter Center on the Starkville campus is an appeal from John Daniel Rodgers.

Rodgers was convicted in 2010 in Monroe County in a home invasion case. He was sentenced to 15 years for armed robbery and 15 years for burglary of a residence. The sentences are running concurrently.

Prosecutors said an elderly Amory couple was severely beaten during the incident.

The second case will be heard at 2:30 p.m. Third-year law school students from Ole Miss’ criminal appeals program will present arguments on behalf of Darrell Walker.

Walker was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for his role in the slaying of a home health nurse whose throat was slashed.

Walker was convicted in Hinds County of accessory after the fact in the 2008 death of Juliet Lilly. He also was convicted of auto theft for driving the victim’s car after she was killed.

The Appeals Court has scheduled oral arguments for 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 29 in Jackson in an appeal from the owners of Trapani’s Eatery in Bay St. Louis from a judgment that they cannot collect more than $300,000 they claimed to be owed by a local insurance agent after their business washed away in Hurricane Katrina.

A Hancock County judge ruled against Anthony Trapani in 2010. Trapani and his wife had sued David Treutel, Jr., a longtime insurance agent, following the 2005 storm. The couple claimed he failed to place as much insurance on their restaurant as they ordered before Katrina.

Because Treutel had under-insured the property, the Trapanis alleged, they ultimately received $314,678 less from insurance proceeds than anticipated. Their lawsuit sought that much in damages.

A judge ruled that the Trapanis did not prove their case.

The Appeals Court will hear oral arguments at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 15 in an appeal in a civil lawsuit filed by Gerald “Heath” Hudson of Moss Point and his father, Arthur “Gerald” Hudson of Lucedale, against WLOX-TV in Biloxi.

A Harrison County jury in 2009 found WLOX did not defame a homebuilding company in 2006 story.

The Hudsons, co-owners of H&H Construction Co., had sought unspecified damages.

The Hudsons claimed their reputation was damaged by a news story aired on June 21, 2006, and in a follow-up on June 26, 2006. The news story involved dispute between the Hudsons and a property owner who had hired the Hudsons to build his home in 2005.