William Mitchell is one of the men named in the Knox Lawsuit, who received inadequate counsel.
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, Jan Michael Brawner, 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.
Some lawyers like to play a cat-and-mouse game in which they go light on some proof, expecting the chancellor to fill in the blanks in their client’s favor. Sometimes that strategy fails calamitously.
However William Mitchell had a lawyer who did NOT want to defend him so again this has left Mr Mitchell without proper counsel. We need to ask the Governor of Mississippi to allow William Mitchell to be able to have his case reviewed.
UPDATEWilliam Mitchell had a seizure like episode in October 2011. Since that time, he has become considerably ill. He is suffering severe weight loss, memory impairment, and other neurological symptoms. A PET scan that was scheduled was unexpectedly cancelled.
As you might already know, William has suffered for many years from symptoms consistent with paranoid schizophrenia and is medicated for depression and anxiety. There is a possibility of organic brain damage. In addition, he has suffered from maladaptive behavior since childhood.
Willam was examined and evalutated in 1975 and determined to suffer mental retardation.
He is languishing, in pain, in Parchman.
- Mississippi Governor
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant demanding justice for William Mitchell
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