The Jackson Free Press last week requested an interview with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood about the pending Michelle Byrom execution.
He so far has declined an interview issued this statement instead. Needless to say, we still have questions.
Basis for Requesting an Execution Date When Certiorari has been denied in a case, pursuant to the rules of the United States Supreme Court, the order of denial is legally effective as of the time of its entry by the Supreme Court and the Mississippi Supreme Court may then take further appropriate action in light of that denial. It is at that time, that the State must file a motion to set an execution date and pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-106, assert in the motion, “that all state and federal remedies have been exhausted . . . .” The denial of certiorari after federal habeas corpus litigation has normally been the end of the normal litigation in a death penalty case. Then, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-29, “the Supreme Court of Mississippi shall forthwith fix a day, not more than thirty (30) days distant from the date of said denial or the vacating of any stay entered by any federal court, for the execution of the sentence, and a warrant shall forthwith issue accordingly.” The State filed the motions to set execution dates in both Byrom and Crawford on the day of the denial of Certiorari, which was February 24, 2014. The Mississippi Supreme Court then ordered responses to those motions from Crawford and Byrom. Crawford filed his response on February 28, 2014, and Byrom filed hers on March 3, 2014. Both motions are still pending with the Mississippi Supreme Court as of March 25, 2014. We would also note that both Byrom and Crawford filed motions with the Mississippi Supreme Court for leave to be allowed to file a successive petition for post-conviction relief in the trial court. Those motions are likewise pending before the Court. In the past, in such situations, the Court has withheld setting an execution date until it has taken action on those motions. Thus, it is doubtful that any dates will be set in either of these cases until the Court has ruled on those motions.