Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Court of Appeals to visit three college campuses in November

November 1, 2018

The Mississippi Court of Appeals will convene on three college campuses in November. Three-judge panels will hear oral arguments at Rust College on Nov. 7, Alcorn State University on Nov. 13, and Mississippi State University on Nov. 14.

The Court on the Road program schedules oral arguments on college campuses as a teaching tool to give students and the public opportunities to watch proceedings in cases on appeal.

Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee made the Court on the Road program a priority in his more than seven years a Chief Judge. “It's a unique learning opportunity. It affords the public and the students an opportunity to see how the court actually operates,” Judge Lee said.

Judges talk with students after each oral argument and answer their questions, although they don’t talk about the pending cases.

People wishing to watch an oral argument are asked to be in their seats 15 minutes before a proceeding is scheduled to begin.

Times and locations for the court proceedings are:

• 11 a.m. Nov. 7 in Doxey Auditorium at Rust College, 150 Rust Avenue, Holly Springs;
• 11:30 a.m. Nov. 13 in the Clinton Bristow Dining Facility at Alcorn State University, 1000 ASU Drive, Lorman;
• 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Hunter Henry Center on the Mississippi State University campus in Starkville.

The cases to be heard are:

Nov. 7 at Rust College, Sidney Keith Austin Ferguson v. State of Mississippi, cause number 2017-KA-0855-COA.
Ferguson was convicted on Jan. 26, 2017, in Grenada County Circuit Court of touching a child for lustful purposes. Circuit Judge Joseph Loper sentenced him to 10 years in prison and five years suspended.

The appellant brief on behalf of Ferguson is at this link:

The appellee’s brief on behalf of the State of Mississippi is at this link:

Ferguson is represented by attorneys John T. Lamar III and Taylor A. Heck of Senatobia. Special Assistant Attorney General Laura H. Tedder represents the state.

• Nov. 13 at Alcorn State University, Charles E. Blake v. State, 2017-KA-01345-COA. Blake was convicted on July 21, 2017, in Coahoma County Circuit Court of sexual battery by a person of authority. Circuit Judge Albert B. Smith III sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

The appellant brief on behalf of Blake is at this link:

The appellee’s brief on behalf of the State of Mississippi is at this link:

Students of the Criminal Appeals Clinic at the University of Mississippi School of Law represented Blake for briefing, and George Holmes of the Indigent Appeals Division, Office of State Public Defender, will represent Blake at argument. Special Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey A. Klingfuss will represent the State at argument.

• Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. at Mississippi State University, Beverly Knight v. W. Craig Clark, M.D., 2017-CA-00722-COA.

Knight, who underwent back surgery on Feb. 20, 2007, later filed a medical malpractice awsuit against Dr. Clark. A DeSoto County Circuit Court jury found in favor of Dr. Clark at a trial that concluded on March 10, 2017. Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure III rejected Knight’s motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial.

The appellant brief on behalf of Knight is at this link:

The appellee’s brief on behalf of Clark is at this link:

Knight is represented by attorneys Lindsey C. Meador of Cleveland and Gary K. Smith and C. Philip M. Campbell of Memphis. Clark is represented by attorney S. Kirk Milam of Oxford.

• Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Mississippi State University, Roman Harvell v. State, 2017-KA-0161-COA.

Harvell was convicted on May 31, 2017, in Prentiss County Circuit Court on a charge of trafficking methamphetamine found in a locked safe in an apartment in Baldwyn. Circuit Judge Thomas J. Gardner III sentenced him to 30 years to serve and 10 years suspended.

The appellant brief on behalf of Harvell is at this link:

The appellee’s brief on behalf of the state is at this link:

Harvell is represented by attorney Thomas O. Cooley of Booneville. Special Assistant Attorney General Barbara Byrd represents the state.

The oral arguments will not be broadcast via the court’s Internet web site, since the Court of Appeals is convening in special sessions away from its camera-equipped courtroom.

Any media organization which may wish to photograph or videotape the arguments must file a Camera Coverage Notice. Camera Coverage Notices should be directed to Clerk of the Court Jeremy Whitmire, fax 601-359-2407, and to Assistant Court Administrator Camille Henick Evans, fax 601-576-4708. The Camera Coverage Notice form is at this link:

Photographers and videographers must be familiar with and follow the Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings. The camera coverage rules are available at