Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled against this class action suit. Stating that Post Conviction Law prevents them from this action. They need to file this suit separately with the Mississippi Supreme Court.
My fear is this will be ruled individually as isolated incidences, in the first few lawsuits. There was strength in a class action suit. The Magnolia Bar Association even wrote a friendly letter to the court supportig this action. Many of these men and woman are in there final appeals. One, will be getting a date yet this month.
In the suit that was initially filed, it asked for remedies for the harm caused. Three of these men included in the suit have already been executed. Obviously there is no cure for the damages Gerald Holland, Benny Stevens, and Rodney Gray sustained. Please lets ensure the remaining 13 do receive remedies by the state. The state has failed to do as promised, and provide adequate representation before execution.
I would like everyone to Please email and call the NAACP, and the Magnolia Bar Association. Ask for there continued support for these individuals.
Carshena L. Bailey Esq.
President Magnolia Bar Associaton
P.O. Box 951
Jackson, Ms. 39205
Miss. Supreme Court dismisses death row inmates' suit claiming inadequate legal counsel
www.wreg.com. A Challenge to Post-Conviction Indigent Defense in Mississippi
This next article was in the Clarion not long after the suit was filed.
Today's Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports, "State's legal help for death row inmates called failure," by Jimmie E. Gates.
Mississippi consistently has appointed unqualified, underfunded and overburdened attorneys to represent death row inmates in their appeals, a petit...ion filed Monday with the state Supreme Court says.
The brief was filed on behalf of 15 death row inmates challenging the systemwide failure to provide them with competent counsel during their appeals after conviction.
The death row inmates are: Steve Knox, Michelle Byrom, Blayde Grayson, Benny Joe Stevens, Jan Michael Brawner, Rodney Gray, Jeffrey Harvard, Richard Jordan, Thong Le, Willie Manning, William Mitchell, Stephen Powers, Larry Matthew Puckett, Gary Carl Simmons and Alan Dale Walker.
"The remedies sought ... are to correct the harm they suffered as a result of the state's failure to do what it promised to do: provide them with competent and conscientious counsel before executing them," according to the 51-page document filed by Jackson attorney Jim Craig and attorneys from Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.
An injunction is sought to ensure that all prisoners sentenced to die receive competent and conscientious counsel for future proceedings.
In May, a lawsuit was filed in Hinds County Chancery Court on behalf of 16 death row inmates, including Gerald James Holland, who was facing execution.
Chancery Court Judge William Singletary dismissed the suit, citing lack of jurisdiction, and Holland was executed days later.
Court papers filed with the state high court argue that the Chancery Court erred in its decision.
Glen Swartzfager, director of the Office of Capital Post Conviction Counsel, has acknowledged in court papers that some death row inmates appeals weren't adequately represented during previous administrations.
Swartzfager, who became director in 2008, was out of the office Monday and unavailable for comment.
The office was created in 2000. From the inception of the Office of Capital Post Conviction Counsel, the state set out to destroy the office's ability to provide competent and conscientious representation, the lawsuit says.
The appeal says the state:
# Failed to provide essential staff.
# Failed to provide critical funding.
# Appointed the office to represent more death-sentenced prisoners than it could competently and ethically represent at one time.
# Interfered with the performance of the duties of the director and the staff of the office.
# Failed to take corrective action once it became obvious that the office was failing to provide competent and conscientious counsel.