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Renfro v. City of Moss Point

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 12, 2014

SCOTE RENFRO, APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF MOSS POINT, A BODY POLITIC & ITS CIVIL SERVICE, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/25/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. DALE HARKEY. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED APPELLEE'S DECISION TO TERMINATE APPELLANT.

FOR APPELLANT: TANYA L. HASBROUCK, ROBERT KEITH MILLER.

FOR APPELLEE: AMY LASSITTER ST. PE', NATHANIEL AUSTIN BOSIO.

BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ISHEE AND ROBERTS, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. BARNES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 914

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. Scote Renfro appeals his termination as a police officer for the City of Moss Point, Mississippi (the City), for insubordination. The Moss Point Civil Service Commission (the Commission) found that the City acted in good faith when it terminated Renfro for cause. Renfro appealed to the Jackson County Circuit Court, which affirmed the Commission's judgment. Renfro appeals and claims that there was not substantial evidence to support the Commission's decision. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Renfro's termination stemmed from events that occurred shortly after midnight on June 16, 2011. Renfro was off-duty at that time. Although he had been at his home, he " got bored, and decided to ride into Moss Point." Renfro had a portable police radio with him.

¶3. Officer Ricky Guerrero was on duty that night. After responding to a burglary call, Officer Guerrero heard Renfro over the radio. According to Officer Guerrero, he heard his name, but initially he could not understand Renfro. When Renfro repeated himself, Officer Guerrero realized that Renfro was reporting that he had seen a drug transaction, and he wanted Officer Guerrero to arrest someone involved in the transaction. Officer Guerrero responded to the area that Renfro described.

¶4. After Officer Guerrero stopped his patrol car, Renfro drove his Ford F-250

Page 915

pickup next to him. Officer Guerrero later testified that he did not see Renfro face to face. Renfro told Officer Guerrero that " he was going to go back by and see if the vehicle was still there . . . . He then departed, went back by [the house], and he informed [Officer Guerrero] on the radio that the vehicle was leaving." Officer Guerrero followed the vehicle and stopped it. He arrested one of the occupants for misdemeanor possession of narcotics. Officer Guerrero later clarified that he had arrested the occupant for possession of " a couple pills."

¶5. Officer Guerrero was concerned about the way Renfro sounded. According to Officer Guerrero, Renfro's speech was slurred, and " he might have been intoxicated." Officer Guerrero contacted Deputy Jackie Trussell of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department because he was a friend of Renfro's. Officer Guerrero asked Deputy Trussell to tell Renfro that he needed to go home. The record ...


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