Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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Defendant Roger Thorson was indicted in 1987 and charged with the capital murder of Gloria McKinney, his ex-girlfriend, during the commission of a kidnapping. On Thorson’s direct appeal of his capital-murder conviction and sentence of death, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court on all issues except a 'Batson' issue, and the case was remanded to the trial court to conduct a Batson hearing. On remand, the trial court found no Batson violation, holding that Defendant was not entitled to a new trial. On appeal, the Supreme Court found that the trial court had committed reversible error in allowing the State to peremptorily strike a member of the jury venire based solely on her religious affiliation, in violation of Article 3, Section 18 of the Mississippi Constitution and Mississippi Code Section 13-5-2. The case was reversed and remanded for a new trial. After another jury trial, Defendant was again convicted for the crime of capital murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection, and on appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed both the conviction and sentence. The United States Supreme Court denied Defendant's petition for writ of certiorari. Defendant subsequently filed a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief with this Court, seeking an 'Atkins' hearing pursuant to 'Atkins v. Virginia.' Once all briefs had been submitted, the court entered an eight-page order thoroughly discussing the issue before him and finding that Defendant was not mentally retarded under 'Atkins.' Upon entry of this order denying his petition for post-conviction relief under Atkins, Defendant appealed again to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that Defendant was not mentally retarded. View "Thorson v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Appellant Jeremy Davis was convicted of aggravated assault on a law-enforcement officer, escape, burglary and possessing a firearm as a felon. Appellant's attorney filed an appeal, the briefs to which provided only generalized assertions that the State had violated Appellant's constitutional rights by exercising all of its six peremptory strikes against African-American jurors. After reviewing the briefs and the trial court's record, the Supreme Court found no error and upheld the trial court's decision and Appellant's convictions. View "Davis v. Mississippi" on Justia Law