Court of Appeals to hear cases at Miss. State

By Jack Elliott Jr./The Associated Press

JACKSON — It’s back to the road for judges of the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments in two cases on Tuesday at Mississippi State University.

The “Court on the Road” program made several stops earlier this year, including Jones County Community College, Mississippi Valley State University and the University of Mississippi.

The cases are among dozens the court will take up during its November-December term.

The Appeals Court periodically schedules oral arguments on college campuses — and occasionally at other locations — as a teaching tool for students.

The panel will hold arguments at Mississippi State’s Hunter Henry Center in Starkville.

The first case before the panel is Christopher Smith’s appeal of his 2010 conviction for aggravated assault.

Smith was convicted in Neshoba County in connection with the shooting of Nellie Woodward of Philadelphia while she stood in the carport of her home on Feb. 16, 2010.

Smith was also found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to court records, Woodward testified she knew the masked shooter’s identity because of a teardrop tattoo under his right eye, which was visible when the crime occurred. She testified that she knew Smith because he had dated her granddaughter.

The second case involves a dispute over the awarding of a contract for construction of a new jail in DeSoto County.

The two losing bidders — Murphy & Sons Inc. and Panola Construction — sued, contending the bidding process was unfair.

A DeSoto County judge ruled against the companies in November 2011.

The county awarded the jail construction contract in June 2011 to Flintco Construction Solutions.

At issue are bid requirements that stipulated a company must have built at least two jails within the past five years at $8 million each.

DeSoto County officials contend they were within their rights to require experience in jail construction to avoid costly expenses down the line.

Oklahoma-based Flintco submitted a bid of $13.8 million after Murphy & Sons and Panola Construction were disqualified from the process for failing to meet the experience requirements.

Murphy & Sons bid $13.6 million. Panola bid $13.7 million.

Click video to hear audio