Category Archives: Crime

Don’t take your Gun to Court.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has reversed a Lowndes County Chancery Court Judge’s Order which essentially banned firearms from all areas of the courthouse.

download.jpg
The Judge- by Taurus, a revolver capable of firing a .45 long colt or .410 shotgun shell. It is legal for Judges to carry guns, even on the bench in Mississippi.

This is somewhat controversially in light of several recent MS law clarifications on where one could and could not carry a firearm. A resident of the local community challenged the Court Order, alleging it contradicted state statutory law which limited broader restrictions to the wisdom of the legislature.

The law currently provides that if you have a concealed carry license and enhanced carry license endorsement you may carry in most public places, including Courthouses, so long as it is not in the Courtroom while Court is in session.

The Family law judges thought that did not go far enough and entered an Order, declaring the entire Courthouse a Courtroom, effectively banning firearms from the entire building.

The challenge was successful in having the Judge’s Order reversed. The Mississippi Supreme Court declared the Order an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.

“One of the clearest delegations of legislative power in our Constitution is found in
Article 3, Section 12. It provides: “The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in
defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the Legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons.” (Emphasis in original.) Without equivocation, the Legislature is the branch of government that the citizens of Mississippi chose to regulate or forbid concealed weapons.”

Justice Mike Randolph, Mississippi Supreme Court

The Lowndes County Chancellors have filed for a Rehearing and made several compelling arguments on why the Mississippi Supreme Court may have gotten this one wrong. Stay tuned for more.

Also, you may be wondering why the title says Don’t take your Gun to the Courthouse, even though the Supreme Court says you can, well, it’s just good advice.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney, gun enthusiast and practices in Lowndes Chancery Court and does not think family law litigants having guns at all times is a great idea.

img_6390

How to Pick a Candidate…

It’s election season. Candidates are coming out of the woodwork for senate, congress, and judicial seats. Here’s a primer on picking a candidate.

download.jpg

  • Do they have Experience?
    • This does not mean that they must have served in the position being sought, but does their work experience, life experience, education and training lend itself to the seat?
  • Are they Competent?
    • Experience is good, but it needs to be good experience. We all know that person that received opportunities because of connections, or who their uncle knew. Merely having experience may not be enough if you are merely a figurehead or placeholder.
    • The candidate should know what the position requires and should possess the needed traits to fill the spot.
  • Do they meet the Requirements?
    • For may positions there is age, residency and education requirements. It is fair to inquire if the bare minimums are met.
  • Why are they Running?
    • Is it for prestige or ego? Is it because they can make a difference.
    • Ask the candidate, ” Why are you Running?”
  • Are they a Good Person?
    • You can have plenty of experience, meet the requirements, be competent and still not be the best candidate. There is an intangible, hard to measure judgment of candidates. This is about their honesty, integrity and is the person they portray really the person that they are?

These are just some of the criteria that should be considered when choosing a candidate. We all have an obligation to meet the candidates, engage the process, ask questions and care. These elections impact our lives whether we realize it or not.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and is excited about the campaign season and if all else fails you can still “eeny, meeny, miney, moe” to pick your slate.

img_6390

Mississippi Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA); How to prevent Parental Abduction in Custody cases.

In 2010, Mississippi enacted the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). This statute is designed to give the Courts the authority to prevent child abduction in parental custody/visitation disputes. This statute, in conjunction with the UCCJEA regarding interstate jurisdictional determinations, provides remedies to  prevent abduction by providing for injunctive relief upon a demonstration of a credible “risk of abduction.” 

The statutes provides the following;

§ 93-29-13. Factors to determine risk of abduction.

(a)  In determining whether there is a credible risk of abduction of a child, the court shall consider any evidence that the petitioner or respondent:

(1) Has previously abducted or attempted to abduct the child;

(2) Has threatened to abduct the child;

(3) Has recently engaged in activities that may indicate a planned abduction, including:

(A) Abandoning employment;

(B) Selling a primary residence;

(C) Terminating a lease;

(D) Closing bank or other financial management accounts, liquidating assets, hiding or destroying financial documents or conducting any unusual financial activities;

(E) Applying for a passport or visa or obtaining travel documents for the respondent, a family member or the child; or

(F) Seeking to obtain the child’s birth certificate or school or medial records;

(4) Has engaged in domestic violence, stalking or child abuse or neglect;

(5) Has refused to follow a child-custody determination;

(6) Lacks strong familial, financial, emotional or cultural ties to the state or the United States;

(7) Has strong familial, financial emotional or cultural ties to another state or country;

(8) Is likely to take the child to a country that:

(A) Is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and does not provide for the extradition of an abducting parent or for the return of an abducted child;

(B) Is party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction but:

(i) The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is not in force between the United States and that country;

(ii) Is noncompliant according to the most recent compliance report issued by the United States Department of State; or

(iii) Lacks legal mechanisms for immediately and effectively enforcing a return order under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;

(C) Poses a risk that the child’s physical or emotional health or safety would be endangered in the country because of specific circumstances relating to the child or because of human rights violations committed against children;

(D) Has laws or practices that would:

(i) Enable the respondent, without due cause, to prevent the petitioner from contacting the child;

(ii) Restrict the petitioner from freely traveling to or exiting from the country because of the petitioner’s gender, nationality, marital status or religion; or

(iii) Restrict the child’s ability legally to leave the country after the child reaches the age of majority because of a child’s gender, nationality or religion;

(E) Is included by the United States Department of State on a current list of state sponsors of terrorism;

(F) Does not have an official United States diplomatic presence in the country; or

(G) Is engaged in active military action or war, including a civil war, to which the child may be exposed;

(9) Is undergoing a change in immigration or citizenship status that would adversely affect the respondent’s ability to remain in the United States legally;

(10) Has had an application for United States citizenship denied;

(11) Has forged or presented misleading or false evidence on government forms or supporting documents to obtain or attempt to obtain a passport, a visa, travel documents, a social security card, a driver’s license or other government-issued identification card or has made a misrepresentation to the United States government;

(12) Has used multiple names to attempt to mislead or defraud; or

(13) Has engaged in any other conduct the court considers relevant to the risk of abduction.

(b)  In the hearing on a petition under this chapter, the court shall consider any evidence that the respondent believed in good faith that the respondent’s conduct was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child or respondent and any other evidence that may be relevant to whether the respondent may be permitted to remove or retain the child.

Miss. Code Ann. §93-29-1 et. seq.

UCAPA is a another arrow in the quiver of child custody remedies when dealing with a dangerous opposing party. It is not often invoked, but is a necessary remedy in the above specific situations.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody lawyer in Mississippi and advises all parents to take serious Child Custody matters.

img_6390