Court orders new sentencing in prize money scam
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal appeals court has ordered the resentencing of two men convicted in Mississippi in a multistate telemarketing scam in which victims were told they won cash prizes but had to pay taxes and fees to the scammers to claim the money.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Monday that incorrect sentencing guidelines were used for Kevin Coe and Jarvis Jones.
Both men were sentenced in 2011 to more than seven years in prison.
The appeals panel said the U.S. District Court judge in Aberdeen, Miss., realized the error and tried to correct it, but didn't do so within the required 14-day period.
The appeals court ordered that the men be resentenced, permitting the district judge to correct the procedural error.
MISSISSIPPI SHERIFF INDICTED
Sheriff Byrd pleads guilty to federal charges
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - The attorney for four-term Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd, who pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge, says the two will talk this week about details of Byrd's anticipated resignation.
And the Harrison County Board of Supervisors - in anticipation of Byrd's resignation - are working on details of finding an interim sheriff until a special election can be held.
Mississippi state law does not allow a convictedn felon to hold public office.
Byrd's attorney Joe Sam Owen told news organizations after Tuesday's hearing in federal court in Mobile, Ala., details are being worked out.
Byrd pleaded guilty to misleading conduct toward another person with intent to prevent communication to a federal law enforcement officer as part of a federal plea deal stemming from a 2012 arrest.
Ala. man admits shooting dolphin in Miss. Sound
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A commercial boat captain from Bayou La Batre, Ala., has pleaded guilty to shooting a dolphin with a shotgun in the Mississippi Sound in the summer of 2012.
The Sun Herald reports Brent Buchanan faces maximum penalties of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine at his sentencing on Feb. 24.
Buchanan was charged with taking a marine mammal in a bill of information filed in federal court Thursday. He pleaded guilty Tuesday before Magistrate Judge John M. Roper. Roper allowed him to remain free on an unsecured $25,000 bond pending sentencing.
Online court records don't say why Buchanan shot the dolphin, if he killed it or whether it was hoisted aboard his vessel.
Suggs named Toyota Miss. VP of administration
BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) - Sean Suggs is the new vice president of administration for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi. He replaces Doug Formby, who announced his retirement recently.
The 48-year-old Suggs joined Toyota's Mississippi operation on Nov. 4 after working for Nissan for several years. Most recently, he was director of strategy, administration and human resources from 2011-2013 for Nissan's North American headquarters in Tennessee.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports Suggs is no stranger to Mississippi, either. Before his stint at Nissan's headquarters, he headed production quality at Nissan's Canton plant.
SEWAGE RATE DISPUTE
Lower court to hear sewage rate dispute
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - A legal dispute over sewage treatment between the cities of Petal and Hattiesburg has been remanded back to Forrest County Chancery Court from U.S. District Court.
The Hattiesburg American reports U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett signed the order Friday after both Petal and Hattiesburg stipulated to the withdrawal of Petal's claims made under federal anti-trust laws, leaving no remaining federal court jurisdiction.
Petal claims against Hattiesburg center around increased rates for sewage treatment. The suit was initially filed in Chancery Court in August, but later was removed to district court.
The complaint accuses Hattiesburg representatives of saying Petal residents should pay twice as much for treatment of their wastewater and should subsidize payments for Hattiesburg residents.
Miss. sandhill cranes get first taste of freedom
GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) - A flock of 22 young cranes is getting the first taste of freedom at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.
Their wing restraints were taken off Tuesday.
As the biggest group of youngsters to grace the refuge, the birds have been kept in four pens since their arrival last month from the Audubon Institute in New Orleans.
The restraints have kept them in the pens so they can get acclimated to the area.
Scott Hereford, supervisory biologist at the refuge, tells The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1gonYiq ) most of the time, the birds don't know they can fly so they just continue to walk around the pens.
Tuesday morning, though, the first bird released did not dawdle and took flight within minutes of being let go.
BILOXI BASEBALL STADIUM
Biloxi council tables baseball stadium vote
BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - The Biloxi City Council has tabled a vote on a minor league baseball stadium while those working to bring a team to the city are in Orlando at the Major League Baseball's winter meetings.
On Tuesday's Council agenda was an application for conditional use to build the stadium north of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.
City attorney Michael Collins said additional documentation was required before the vote.
The Sun Herald reports meeting in Orlando this week are Ken Young, who told the Council he is in negotiations to buy a team to bring to Biloxi, and Timothy Bennett, president of Overtime Sports, who has worked for more than 10 years to get a stadium built in South Mississippi.
No announcements about the team were made Tuesday.
Ala. developer to plead guilty in wetlands case
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - An Alabama real estate developer set for trial on charges of wetlands and Clean Water Act violations in Hancock County has notified court officials he plans to plead guilty to a reduced charge.
Federal court records show William R. "Rusty" Miller, of Fairhope, Ala., plans to accept a plea agreement on a charge of filling wetlands without permission.
The Sun Herald reports his initial court appearance and plea hearing are set for Dec. 17. An 11-count indictment filed in November 2012 will be dismissed if the court accepts Miller's plea to one count from a bill of information.
The charge alleges Miller knowingly and illegally ordered the ditching, draining and filling of wetlands in 2007 on land owned by three businesses collectively known as Hancock County Land.
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