Gideon Alert: Mississippi takes first step toward unified statewide system

BY David Carroll on Friday, June 10, 2011 at 2:55 PM

The Mississippi Office of State Public Defender was created earlier this session with the passage of SB 2563 consolidating the existing Office of Indigent Appeals and the Office of Capital Defense Counsel. The new office is tasked with providing “training and services to public defenders practicing in all state, county and municipal courts” and making recommendations for a future unified, statewide trial-level system. On June 9, 2011, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour announced the appointment of Ms. Leslie Lee as the first State Public Defender.

Gov. Haley Barbour today announced the appointment of Leslie Lee to manage the newly created Office of the State Public Defender. Her appointment begins July 1.

Author/Organization: Governor Haley Barbour, State of Mississippi
Publication Date: 06/09/2011

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Mississippi has 82 counties and a statewide population estimated in 2009 at roughly 2.95 million. The felony trial courts are structured through 22 Circuit Court districts, with each comprising multiple counties.  As the NAACP-LDF so succinctly stated, with the exception of death penalty cases and felony appeals (since 2005), “the State of Mississippi does not contribute one dollar towards the representation of poor defendants. Instead, it requires counties to shoulder the full obligation of providing lawyers for the poor.”

Author/Organization: Phyllis E. Mann
Publication Date: 2010

Gideon Alert: Warren County, Mississippi struggles to provide right to counsel services

BY David Carroll on Friday, April 2, 2010 at 9:46 AM

The Vicksburg Post reports this morning on Warren County’s struggle to provide right to counsel services.  Mississippi requires its counties to fund and administer all trial-level and most appellate defense.  Many counties, including War