William Waller speaking at a podium before a US Flag

Mississippi Courts Won’t Say How They Provide Lawyers for Poor Defendants

In 2017, the Mississippi Supreme Court’s then-Chief Justice William Waller Jr. helped mandate that judges throughout the state explain in writing how they deliver on their duty to provide poor criminal defendants with a lawyer. Now, six years after the rule went into effect, only one of the 23 circuit court districts in the state has responded.

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a close up photo of Cliff Johnson

Mississippi Says Poor Defendants Must Always Have a Lawyer. Few Courts Are Ready to Deliver.

In April, the Mississippi Supreme Court changed the rules for state courts to require that poor criminal defendants have a lawyer throughout the sometimes lengthy period between arrest and indictment. The goal is to eliminate a gap during which no one is working on a defendant’s behalf. That mandate went into effect Saturday. But few of the state’s courts have plans in place to change their procedures in a way that is likely to accomplish what the justices intended.

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Black and white photo of Mamie Bradley at her son Emmett Till's funeral (Emmett Till movie)
MFP Voices

Carolyn Bryant Donham Death Reopens Old Wounds From Emmett Till Case

Duvalier Malone reflects on the recent death of Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman whose accusations led to the kidnapping, beating and lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Miss., in August 1955, writing that “her death reopens old wounds for the family and all of Black America simply because justice never came.”

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NYPD are seen cordoning off an area with yellow tape
MFP Voices

Crime Is On the Ballot, But Data Do Not Support the Rhetoric

Different approaches to justice are on the ballot in November 2022 in some public prosecutor and congressional elections around the country, revealing a deep divide about how differently Americans feel about crime and its consequences. But the data do not support the rhetoric.

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