IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF VIVIAN BYAS, DECEASED: VICTOR BYAS AND MARY BYAS APPELLANTS
PAULETTE BYAS APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 02/12/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: SUNFLOWER COUNTY CHANCERY COURT HON.
MARIE WILSON JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: ALSEE MCDANIEL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: VALLRIE LANETTE DORSEY
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ.
In this case, we must determine whether the chancellor erred
in finding both Victor Byas and Mary Byas in contempt.
Because the record contains insufficient evidence of contempt
regarding both Victor and Mary, we reverse and render.
This case stems from a probate matter filed by Paulette Byas
in the Sunflower County Chancery Court. Paulette's
mother, Vivian Byas, died on June 18, 2014. Victor, Mary, and
Paulette are three of Vivian's children. Paulette filed a
petition to probate Vivian's will. After a hearing, the
chancellor entered an order on August 13, 2014, to continue
the probate matter. The chancellor also ordered the parties
involved to remove their personal belongings from
Vivian's house. The chancellor ordered that the house be
vacated and remain locked until the matter was resolved. The
chancellor further appointed Victor to "temporarily
collect rental income, [and] pay the mortgages of [Vivian]
along with the utilities and homeowners' insurance."
The locks on the house were changed, and the keys were
retained by the Sunflower County Chancery Clerk.
On October 27, 2014, Paulette filed a motion for contempt,
alleging that Victor and Mary had entered the house in
violation of the previous order. Paulette claimed that Mary
had been living in the house.
After a hearing on February 12, 2015,  the chancellor
found both Victor and Mary in contempt for failing to abide
by the court's prior order. The chancellor fined Victor
$250 and Mary $500. The chancellor also ordered Victor and
Mary to be equally responsible for $677 in attorney's
Victor and Mary now appeal, arguing the chancellor erred in
finding them in contempt.
Paulette testified at the hearing that someone told her
Victor and Mary had been seen going in and out of
Vivian's house after the chancellor ordered the house be
vacated. Paulette stated she saw Mary's car in the
driveway on one ...