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Kemper County v. Parks

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 19, 2019

KEMPER COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI APPELLANT
v.
CORNELIUS PARKS APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/04/2017

          KEMPER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JUSTIN MILLER COBB, JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MARVIN E. WIGGINS JR.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: STEPHEN PAUL WILSON

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.

          LAWRENCE, J.

         ¶1. Cornelius Parks was convicted of a misdemeanor for domestic violence in 2011. In order to appeal his conviction, he filed a check for $449 along with his notice of appeal and a document entitled "Cost and Appearance Bond" with the circuit court. The State moved to dismiss the appeal and argued that Parks did not file the cost and appearance bond simultaneously with his notice, as required in former Rule 12.02 of the Uniform Rules of Circuit and County Court Practice.[1] The circuit court granted the State's motion and dismissed the appeal. Parks appealed to this Court, and we found that he met the "bare minimum" requirements under former Rule 12.02 "to confer jurisdiction on the circuit court." Parks v. State, 194 So.3d 179, 181-82 (¶9) (Miss. Ct. App. 2015). Therefore, this Court reversed the decision of the circuit court. Id. at 182 (¶12). Further, this Court held that "[o]n remand, the circuit court may decide whether Parks should be granted leave to amend his 'costs and appearance bond' to correct these and any other deficiencies." Id. at (¶11).

         ¶2. After this Court reversed and remanded the dismissal of Parks's appeal to the circuit court, the Kemper County prosecutor filed another motion to dismiss. The circuit court found that the $449 filed by Parks was only a "cost bond" and ordered the justice court to set an amount for the "appearance bond." The justice court denied the request for jurisdictional reasons, and the circuit court then set the appearance bond at one dollar. Parks paid the bond fee, and after a trial on the original domestic violence charge, Parks was acquitted. The State now appeals the denial of its second motion to dismiss, complaining that the legal issue of bond should again be addressed by this Court.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶3. Traditionally, when the question before the court is one of law, the standard of review is de novo. Brown v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Servs., 806 So.2d 1004, 1005 (¶4) (Miss. 2000).

         ANALYSIS

         ¶4. The State is limited by statute on what types of judgments may be appealed. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-35-103 (Rev. 2015). Specifically, the State may only appeal pure questions of law that result from an order "acquitting the defendant where the question of law has been decided adversely to the state or municipality . . . ." Miss. Code Ann. § 99-35-103(b). In those cases, the defendant is not subject to further prosecution, and the acquittal is not reversed. Id.

         ¶5. The State offers five separate issues for our review.[2] In its brief, the State essentially asks this Court for "a ruling and clarification of a question of law, namely, a clear, objective standard in applying former Rule 12.02." As noted earlier, this is not the first time this Court has reviewed this case. Originally, we determined Parks provided a bond that "made clear it was intended to cover both the appeal costs and to secure his appearance before the circuit court." Parks, 194 So.3d at 179 (¶9). As a result, we concluded that the "bare minimum requirements" of former Rule 12.02 were met in order to confer jurisdiction. Id.

         ¶6. We recognize that there is no remedy that we can provide that would turn the clock back to 2011 when Parks filed his initial appeal. Because of that, there is no way for this Court to give relief to the State under section 99-35-103 because the appeal is not just about a "question of law." See City of Pascagoula v. Delmas, 157 Miss. 619, 128 So. 743, 743 (1908). Here, we are presented with an interpretation of the facts as to whether or not Parks initially followed the rule governing his appeal and what his intent may have been. ...


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