Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mississippi high court to review death row appeals

Joseph Patrick Brown
Joseph Patrick Brown / Courtesy of MDOC
Jeffrey Keller Davis / Courtesy of MDOC

The post-conviction appeal of death row inmate Joseph Patrick Brown has made its way back to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
In 2009, Brown's case was among nine death row post-conviction appeals in which the Supreme Court asked trial judges why they had not ruled – or scheduled hearings.
Brown's claims of ineffective counsel were heard in Adams County Circuit Court in 2004. But no ruling had been issued. The trial judge issued a ruling denying the petition in 2010.
In a post-conviction petition, an inmate argues he has found new evidence – or a possible constitutional issue – that could persuade a court to order a new trial.
Brown's case is among dozens the Supreme Court will consider during its November-December term.
In 1999, the Supreme Court ordered an Adams County judge to determine if Brown was treated fairly when his attorneys decided against pursuing a mental evaluation of their client.
The court said there was merit to Brown's complaint about his attorneys' failure to ask questions about a state mental examination or to pursue an examination themselves.
Brown was convicted and sentenced to death in Adams County in 1994 for the killing of a convenience store clerk in Natchez.
Prosecutors said Brown and his girlfriend were driving around Natchez on Aug. 8, 1992, looking for drugs when they pulled into the Charter Food Store where Martha Day worked.
Brown's girlfriend testified that she saw Day grab her chest and fall after Brown approached the counter. The woman said Brown returned to the car with a cash register and other items.
Police said Day was shot four times and died at the scene.
The Supreme Court also will hear a post-conviction petition from death row inmate Jeffrey Keller Davis. A Greene County judge in 2010 ruled against Davis' petition of ineffective counsel.
Davis was convicted in the robbery and killing of Linda Hillman. She was shot and stabbed in 1991 at her trailer in Greene County. Prosecutors said Davis confessed to the killing and said he needed money to buy drugs in Pascagoula.

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