I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Michelle Byrom: The Mississippi Supreme Court has ordered a new trial.

Update below

The Mississippi Supreme Court entered an order today that Michelle Byrom is to receive a new trial. They have also ordered that the trial be before a new judge, in an en banc order signed by Justice Coleman with no dissents.

This is extraordinary and unprecedented to my knowledge. The order says […]

Rumsfeld denies Bush administration had a Justice Department

Charles Pierce pulls this quote from Errol Morris’s documentary about Rumsfeld:

ERROL MORRIS: What about all these so-called torture memos?

DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, there were what? One or two or three. I don’t know the number, but there were not all of these so-called memos. They were mischaracterized as torture memos, and they came […]

What’s Wrong with FiveThirtyEight.Com, Exemplified

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.Com came up through sabermetrics. Sabermetrics began in baseball writing in the 80s, and used intense number analysis to draw conclusions about sports. It has the advantage, there, about looking at something that is measured, a lot. So, when Silver commissions a piece doing numerical analysis of baseball, we’d expect it […]

Orange you glad Sarah went to Super Sunday to see the Mardi Gras Indians

Photograph by Sarah Simonson and heading thanks to the knock knock jokes of my childhood.

The Music of the South Conference at Ole Miss April 2nd and 3rd

There’s a lot going on in Oxford later this week. Wednesday and Thursday, Southern Studies is holding the annual Music of the South conference, starting with a brown bag lecture at noon “Songwriter’s Roundtable,” followed at 1 by Jake Fussell with a talk on contemporary corridos from the South (corridos are story-songs or […]

Michelle Byrom news: Mississippi Supreme Court denies motion to set execution date

The Mississippi Supreme Court this afternoon denied the state’s motion to set an execution date but took no further action.

The order, that the state’s motion to set an execution was “not well taken and should be denied”, was unanimous, joined by all justices, and was signed by Justice Coleman.  Here it is.

Still […]

Observation about Estate Cases

Over the years, I’ve seen several estate cases where some family members were claiming the deceased had a lock box with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in it, and even were willing to swear under oath to its existence.

But I’ve never seen one with a shred of actual tangible evidence of […]

Michelle Byrom: What kind of representation did she have, Part 4: The Context for Michelle Byrom’s Ineffectiveness Claim

After Michelle Byrom lost her direct appeal, the next stage of her case was handled by the Office of Post-Conviction counsel.  Their job was to investigate possible claims that her conviction or death sentence was improper.  The most important claim they developed was that Byrom’s original lawyers had been ineffective in investigating and trying […]

Michelle Byrom–What kind of representation did she have? Part 3: Every kind of waiver you can imagine

With all due respect to Byrom’s counsel, whose intentions were no doubt admirable, the brief that was filed on her behalf falls below what I consider professionally acceptable. The recurring failure of Byrom’s counsel to adequately brief issues is a factor I have considered in concluding that Byrom’s counsels’ performance was deficient. Throughout […]

Michelle Byrom–What kind of representation did she have? Part 2: How closely decided were the cases?

Michelle Byrom had a direct appeal, a post conviction appeal, a decision by a federal judge on habeas, and a decision by the Fifth Circuit on habeas.  She filed certiorari petitions in the United States Supreme Court.

You will frequently see proponents of death sentences count up the judges involved in the process and […]