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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BlogRoll

Bobby DeLaughter: “I didn’t do nearly everything that they thought I did.”

Megan West at WAPT TV in Jackson got an interesting interview with Bobby Delaughter, apparently on the occasion of his Amazon-only new novel.

“I said then, and will always say it because it’s the truth, I didn’t do nearly everything that they thought I did. But I was stupid. I admit that,” DeLaughter told [...]

Bobby DeLaughter writes about a criminal who moves from Jackson to New Orleans…

… where, according to a jacket-blurb on Amazon (the only place the book is available), he resumes his life of crime:

The journey DeLaughter now takes us on is not merely one from his roots of Jackson, Mississippi to his new home along the narrow streets and alleys of the famous French Quarter of [...]

Gov. Bryant signs bill protecting peyote eaters and rejecting Scalia opinion to the contrary

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court decided Employment Division v. Smith.  In that case, individuals were denied unemployment benefits because they were fired for eating peyote.  In an opinion by conservative justice Antonin Scalia, the United States Supreme Court held: Of course you can deny unemployment benefits to people fired for eating peyote.

While [...]

Michelle Byrom: The Attorney General pleads, “Tell me why!”

The Attorney General responded to Tuesday’s order reversing Michelle Byrom’s conviction by noting that it is unprecedented since the re-imposition for the death penalty for a defendant to be allowed to win so resoundingly and so Court must explain itself.

Or something like that.

The motion makes a statement it ends with a question [...]

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 [...]

Michelle Byrom–What kind of representation did she have? Part 1: They pretty much did nothing

I’ve been thinking and reading about the Michelle Byrom case, and my reaction is complicated.  The evidence of her innocence is, from a lawyer’s perspective, equivocal, about which I will post more later.  But the evidence of whether she had due process– a fair trial– is absolutely clear.  Her lawyers were grossly incompetent, and [...]