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Chism v. Bright

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

December 11, 2014

JIMMY RAY CHISM, JR.
v.
ABBY GALE MORRIS CHISM BRIGHT

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/08/2011.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: UNION COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. C. MICHAEL MALSKI. TRIAL COURT

ATTORNEYS: J. MARK SHELDON, JAK M. SMITH.

FOR APPELLANT: GREGORY M. HUNSUCKER, JAK M. SMITH.

FOR APPELLEE: J. MARK SHELDON, JANA L. DAWSON.

LAMAR, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON AND RANDOLPH, P.JJ., KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 319

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

LAMAR, JUSTICE

¶1. Jimmy Ray Chism Jr. challenges the termination of his parental rights to his son, Johnny.[1] Because we find that Jim's parental rights were wrongfully terminated, we reverse the judgments of Court of Appeals and the chancery court and remand this case to the Union County Chancery Court.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Jimmy Ray Chism Jr. and Abby Gale Morris Chism Bright married on October 17, 2003.[2] They had one child, Johnny, on March 17, 2004, and they divorced on March 10, 2008. Under the divorce decree, the parties had joint legal custody of Johnny; Abby had primary physical custody, and Jim had regular, unrestricted visitation. From March 2008 to July 4, 2008, Jim executed his visitation rights without incident.

¶3. On July 4, 2008, Jim and Abby separately attended a party at Darden Lake. Johnny stayed with Jim's parents, Dr. Jimmy Ray Chism Sr. and Terri Chism, at their cabin near Darden Lake. On the morning of July 5, Jim picked Johnny up from his parents' cabin and drove him to a nearby McDonald's. While in the drive-through line, Jim fell asleep with the car in park. The police were called, and Jim was arrested for public intoxication. Johnny was not injured during the incident, and Terri picked him up from the scene.

¶4. On July 25, 2008, Abby filed an emergency petition for modification of Jim's visitation rights, based on the July 5 incident. On August 18, 2008, the chancellor entered an order for modification of visitation which: (1) required that all Jim's visitation ...


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