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Magee v. City of Mendenhall

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 10, 2015

DOUGLAS M. MAGEE, APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF MENDENHALL, MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: SIMPSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/20/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. EDDIE H. BOWEN. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED PARKING VIOLATION AND FINED APPELLANT $250; HELD APPEAL OF THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PARKING ORDINANCE WAS UNTIMELY.

DOUGLAS M. MAGEE, APPELLANT, Pro se.

FOR APPELLEE: L. WESLEY BROADHEAD.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

CARLTON, J.

¶1. Douglas Magee appeals the Simpson County Circuit Court's judgment finding that he failed to timely appeal the constitutionality of a parking ordinance and ordering him to pay a $250 fine for violating the parking ordinance. On appeal, Magee raises the following issues: (1) whether the ordinance is unconstitutional; (2) whether

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the circuit court erred by denying him a trial de novo; (3) whether the circuit court erred by failing to issue an attachment for a witness; and (4) whether the circuit court's judgment is contrary to the law and against the weight of the evidence. Finding that the City of Mendenhall, Mississippi, failed to meet its burden to prove guilt in a trial de novo, we reverse and render Magee's conviction for violating the parking ordinance.

FACTS

¶2. The Mendenhall Board of Aldermen (Board) passed Ordinance 256 to prohibit parking for more than four hours in certain areas of downtown Mendenhall. On March 27, 2013, the Mendenhall Municipal Court fined Magee $100 for violating Ordinance 256. Magee subsequently filed a timely notice of appeal with the circuit court on April 11, 2013, seeking a trial de novo.

¶3. At the hearing on Magee's appeal, the circuit court judge determined that Magee sought to challenge the constitutionality of Ordinance 256 rather than to contest the municipal court's ruling that he violated the ordinance. Finding Magee's appeal as to the constitutionality of Ordinance 256 to be untimely, the circuit court judge refused to rule that the ordinance was unconstitutional. However, the circuit court judge allowed Magee to make a record for appeal. A review of the record reflects that Mendenhall failed to offer any evidence during the hearing to support Magee's conviction for violating the parking ordinance.

¶4. After allowing Magee to make a record for appeal, the circuit court judge found the following:

1. That [Magee] did not intend to attack his verdict of guilty[] but[,] instead, attacked the constitutionality of the said ordinance.
2. After hearing testimony adduced from the witness stand by [Magee], it was clear to this court that [Magee] was attacking the constitutionality of the said ordinance in spite of the fact that this [c]ourt explained to [Magee] that it was ...

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