ERIC DENORRIS KENNEDY a/k/a ERIC D. KENNEDY a/k/a ERIC KENNEDY
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
OF JUDGMENT: 03/15/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. WINSTON L. KIDD JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ERIC DENORRIS KENNEDY (PRO SE)
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
WALLER, CHIEF JUSTICE.
1. The Court of Appeals of the State of Mississippi affirmed
the Hinds County Circuit Court's order denying Eric
Kennedy's motion for an out-of-time appeal. Kennedy's
petition for a writ of certiorari was granted. Because the
Mississippi Supreme Court previously found Kennedy's
appeal to have been timely, we reverse the Court of
Appeals' decision and remand the case to that court for
an appeal on the merits.
2. In 1997, Kennedy and Nakiea Sutton were indicted in Hinds
County for capital murder in violation of Mississippi Code
Section 97-3-19(2) (1997). The charges stemmed from the
burglary and subsequent murder of Thomas Ward.
3. On June 10, 1998, Kennedy entered a guilty plea to the
lesser-included offense of murder. At his plea hearing,
Kennedy testified that he had reviewed his plea petition with
his attorney and that he understood it. Kennedy testified
that he also understood the allegations set forth against
him, and he admitted that he did commit the alleged crime.
4. On December 16, 2013, Kennedy filed a second motion for
post-conviction relief (PCR) in the circuit court, arguing
that the statute under which he had pleaded guilty was
unconstitutional; that his co-indictee's "recanted
testimony" showed that Kennedy was not guilty; and that
the evidence that had been collected in the original
investigation showed that he was not guilty.
5. On June 25, 2014, Kennedy filed a petition for a writ of
mandamus in this Court, requesting that we compel the circuit
court to rule on his PCR motion. The mandamus case was
assigned case number 2014-M-00851-SCT. After calling for a
response, the Supreme Court Clerk received a copy of the
circuit court's Order Denying Motion for Post-Conviction
Collateral Relief, which had been signed August 29,
2014. The circuit court's order stated that
Kennedy's "motion has no merit." Finding that
the circuit court had ruled, a panel of this Court entered an
order on November 5, 2014, dismissing Kennedy's mandamus
petition as moot.
6. On November 18, 2014, Kennedy filed a motion in this Court
seeking sanctions against the circuit court for having not
provided him a copy of the August 29, 2014, order denying his
PCR motion. Kennedy claimed this had prevented his filing a
timely appeal. Kennedy also asked this Court either to treat
his June 25, 2014, petition for a writ of mandamus as a
notice of appeal or to mandate that the circuit court reopen
his time to appeal. In dismissing that motion, this Court
explained that Rule 4(h) of the Mississippi Rules of
Appellate Procedure directs a party such as Kennedy to
request an out-of-time appeal directly from the circuit
7. Also on November 18, 2014, Kennedy filed a notice of
appeal in the circuit court, as well as a motion for an
out-of-time appeal, claiming he never received a copy of the
circuit court's August 29, 2014, order denying his PCR
motion. When the trial court failed to rule on his motion for
an out-of-time appeal, Kennedy filed another petition for a
writ of mandamus with this Court, seeking to compel a ruling.
On March 15, 2016, the circuit court entered an order denying