Before Thomas, P.j., Lee, And Southwick, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lee, J.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/21/97
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ELZY JONATHAN SMITH, JR.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - MISDEMEANOR
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MISDEMEANOR ABUSE OF A VULNERABLE ADULT: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF 1 YEAR IN COAHOMA COUNTY JAIL & PAY A FINE IN THE AMOUNT OF $500; DEFENDANT SHALL PAY ALL COURT COSTS
DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 02/23/1999
¶1. Pamela Ivy was indicted on December 9, 1996, on a charge of felonious abuse of a vulnerable adult under Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-19 (1) and (3) (Rev. 1993). Ivy was convicted of the lesser- included-offense of misdemeanor abuse of a vulnerable adult under Miss. Code Ann. § 43-47-19 (2) (Rev. 1993) and sentenced to serve a term of one year in the Coahoma County Jail and pay a fine of $500. She appeals her conviction and sentence to this Court.
¶2. In the early morning hours of August 6, 1996, Pamela Ivy was working the third shift at Delta Manor, a home for the mentally retarded in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The third shift began at 10:00 p.m. and ended at 6:00 a.m. the following morning. Ivy was employed as a member of the direct care staff. Her responsibilities were to assist the clients of the home in any manner of everyday life with which they needed assistance.
¶3. Sometime after midnight, Ivy began to look for her time card so that she might "clock out" to take a short break. Upon finding her time card in the garbage can, she continued with her assigned duty of cleaning the break room. When she returned from cleaning the break room her time card was missing for the second time. After a diligent search, she began to ask those around if they knew where the time card was. She questioned Ms. Kemp, Ms. Dampier, and Ms. Mattie Brownridge, all of whom were close by. Ms. Brownridge is a 59 year old lady, a resident of Delta Manor, who has been diagnosed with psycho effective disorder, a mild mental retardation. According to Ivy, Brownridge was known for moving things that did not belong to her, so Ivy began to question her about the location of the time card. Brownridge replied that she did not move the card. At that point Ivy went down the hall to Brownridge's room with Brownridge following her. Ivy took a dress of Brownridge's from her closet and told her that she could have her dress back when she returned Ivy's time card. Brownridge again replied that she did not have Ivy's time card. At this point Brownridge began to chase Ivy to try to regain possession of her dress, and Ivy went into the hairdressing room.
¶4. It is at this point that Ivy's story diverges from that of the witnesses of the incident. There were two witnesses to the incident, Ms. Kemp and Ms. Dampier. Both Kemp and Dampier were co-workers of Ivy's on the direct care staff and both testified as to what happened that morning at Delta Manor. Their stories are identical. According to the two witnesses, when Ivy went into the hairdressing room, the door was cracked with Ivy on the inside and Brownridge on the outside. Brownridge was pleading with Ivy to return her dress, and Ivy was responding that she could not have her dress until she returned the time card. While this was going on, Nurse Josie Jones came on the hall and told Ivy to return the dress and told Brownridge to return the time card if she had it. She then continued making her rounds.
¶5. When Ivy came out of the hairdressing room, Brownridge grabbed the dress. The two began to pull on the dress, and at the point where Brownridge had almost pulled the dress from Ivy's hands, Ivy slapped Brownridge across the neck and cheek with an open hand. Brownridge was stunned initially, but appearing very upset, she began to fight back. According to Dampier, when Brownridge began fighting, Ivy "began to slam Mattie up against the wall, trying to make her let go of the dress so she wouldn't get control of the dress, Ms. Mattie." This happened two or three times, then Ivy hit her with her fist and she fell to the floor. Brownridge got up and again began to try to fight Ivy, but Ivy hit her again and she again fell to the floor. When Brownridge got up again, Ivy put her knee in the small of Brownridge's back with her arms stretched out straight behind her. Brownridge was yelling for Ivy to let her go because she was in pain.
¶6. Ivy's recollection of the incident is markedly different. Ivy claims that she realized at the point when she was in the hairdressing room that Brownridge was not going to return her time card, so she gave the dress back, and Brownridge took it to her room. Then, Ivy claims, Brownridge came back out of her room and back to where Ivy was, and began to try and hit Ivy. Ivy claims that she in no way hurt or attempted to hurt Ms. Brownridge. She asserts that she was merely trying to restrain her until her fellow workers called a nurse. She alleged that she ...