On Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court released an important decision in Carothers v. State, the core of which involved the admissibility of an expert witness the defendant offered on the science of the unreliability of eyewitness identification testimony. The majority opinion, by Chandler, rejects admission largely on the theory that the expert did not observe the [...]
Recall that, in the last round, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed Michelle Byrom’s conviction; it seemed fairly clear that the reversal was because there was a relevant confession that pointed toward Michell Byrom’s innocence, and that this confession was never disclosed to the defense lawyers.
The Attorney General responded by, more or less, demanding [...]
Folks may have been aware of the correction the United States Supreme Court ran the day after it had released a Scalia opinion that got important details of a prior Scalia opinion wrong.
Today, thanks to Anderson’s compulsively quick reading of Mississippi Supreme Court cases, and, perhaps to the fact that Anderson has at [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 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 [...]
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 [...]
Another quiet week at the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Remember the discussion a while back about the demise of the presumption that a child born during a marriage was the child of the husband? Today, the Supreme Court, following statute, held that a “father” who signed a birth certificate and an order adjudicating child support [...]