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Jackson v. State

August 13, 1998

HENRY CURTIS JACKSON, JR.
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McRAE, Justice

Jackson v. State, 98-DP-00708-SCT, __ So. 2d __

ON MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND PAYMENT OF REASONABLE LITIGATION EXPENSES

DISPOSITION GRANTED - 08/13/98

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

EN BANC.

¶1. Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr. seeks to have the State provide attorney compensation and reasonable litigation expenses in his attempt to seek post-conviction relief pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-1 (1994), et seq. for his conviction and death sentence. This Court has previously denied all motions in other capital cases requesting similar relief. See Lockett v. State , 614 So. 2d 888 (Miss. 1992). Over the years, it has become apparent that the system is flawed. Valuable time and resources are being wasted in finding representation for death row inmates seeking post-conviction relief, especially since all remedies available under the UPCCRA must be exhausted before federal habeas relief may be sought. We find at this time that recognition of the nature of death penalty litigation in the courts of this state, coupled with the ultimate penalty the State seeks to impose, requires that the motion be granted, that counsel be appointed, and that reasonable expenses of litigation be allowed.

I.

¶2. Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr. was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the stabbing deaths of four nieces and nephews in Leflore County Circuit Court in 1991. See Jackson v. State , 684 So. 2d 1213 (Miss. 1996). Jackson was represented by Johnnie Walls at trial and on direct appeal. After Jackson's conviction and death sentence were affirmed by this Court, Walls failed to file a petition for rehearing on behalf of his client within the allotted time and never moved to withdraw from representing him. Jackson's execution was set for August 21, 1996.

¶3. On August 6, 1996, another attorney, C. Jackson Williams, *fn1 filed on behalf of Jackson, in this Court, an Entry of Appearance as Jackson's attorney, Motion for Stay of Execution and Application for Leave to File Out of Time Petition for Rehearing and/or for Recall of the Mandate. Jackson's execution was stayed by this Court and the petition for rehearing was filed, considered and denied. A petition for writ of certiorari was filed in the United States Supreme Court March 5, 1997, and denied May 12, 1997. Jackson's execution was then reset by this Court

for July 9, 1997, and was stayed by the United States District Court on July 1, 1997. Williams filed Jackson's Application for Post-Conviction Relief in this Court on May 8, 1998.

¶4. Williams has now filed in this Court on behalf of Jackson a Motion for Appointment of Counsel and Payment of Reasonable Litigation Expenses. Williams states that he has raised in the Application issues "that require paid expert assistance and investigation in order to be adequately addressed" and that if supplied with funds he would hire a forensic psychologist or psychiatrist to review the mental evaluations performed on Jackson before his trial to determine whether insanity was a viable defense, which could lead to a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. See Jackson , 684 So. 2d at 1226 (Jackson abandoned insanity defense during guilt phase of trial). Williams finally asks that this Court "appoint, compensate, and pay reasonable litigation expenses of the undersigned, including the expenses of a forensic psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist, to prepare and file a petition for Post-Conviction Relief on his behalf." This Court ordered that the State respond to the motion, and that response has been filed and considered. We find that Jackson's motion should be granted.

II.

¶5. A judgment of conviction and sentence of death shall be subject to automatic review by this § Court. See Miss. Code Ann. 99-19-101 (4)(1994); 99-19-105 (Supp. 1997). The Constitution of Mississippi requires appointment of counsel pursuant to that automatic review. See also Miss. § Code Ann. 99-15-15 (1994). Where the conviction and sentence of death are affirmed by this Court, the appellant may then file a ...


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