Gary v. Mississippi

Laqunn Gary carjacked Vizavian Trent Darby at gunpoint. When Darby refused to get out of the car, Gary shot Darby in the head, killing him. At Gary’s trial, the jury watched a video of Gary confessing to killing Darby. The jury found Gary guilty of capital murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prior to trial, Gary moved to suppress his confession, claiming he had not voluntarily waived his Miranda rights. The trial court ruled the confession was voluntary, but it reached this conclusion without holding a full suppression hearing in which the State carried the burden to prove voluntariness. Because this violated Gary’s due-process rights, the Mississippi Supreme Court remanded this case to the trial court to conduct a suppression hearing. On remand, the State presented one of the detectives who was present when Gary confessed. She testified Gary had not been coerced or promised any reward. Instead, Gary signed the Miranda waiver and answered the detectives’ questions voluntarily. Based on her testimony, the signed Miranda statement, and Gary’s demeanor during the video confession, the trial judge determined Gary’s confession was voluntary. After re-review of the suppression proceedings, the Supreme Court determined Gary’s confession was voluntary, and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress. The Court also found no merit to Gary’s claims that the evidence was insufficient, the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, or reversal is warranted based on cumulative error. Thus the Court affirmed Gary’s capital murder conviction and sentence of life without parole. View "Gary v. Mississippi" on Justia Law