2014 Mississippi Code
§ 99-39-23 - Conduct of evidentiary hearing; right to counsel; finality of order as bar to subsequent motions; burden of proof; appointment of postconviction counsel in death penalty cases

MS Code § 99-39-23 (2014) What's This?

(1) If an evidentiary hearing is required, the judge may appoint counsel for a petitioner who qualifies for the appointment of counsel under Section 99-15-15.

(2) The hearing shall be conducted as promptly as practicable, having regard for the need of counsel for both parties for adequate time for investigation and preparation.

(3) The parties shall be entitled to subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, including, but not being limited to, subpoenas duces tecum.

(4) The court may receive proof by affidavits, depositions, oral testimony or other evidence and may order the petitioner brought before it for the hearing.

(5) If the court finds in favor of the petitioner, it shall enter an appropriate order with respect to the conviction or sentence under attack, and any supplementary orders as to rearraignment, retrial, custody, bail, discharge, correction of sentence or other matters that may be necessary and proper. The court shall make specific findings of fact, and state expressly its conclusions of law, relating to each issue presented.

(6) The order as provided in subsection (5) of this section or any order dismissing the petitioner's motion or otherwise denying relief under this article is a final judgment and shall be conclusive until reversed. It shall be a bar to a second or successive motion under this article. Excepted from this prohibition is a motion filed under Section 99-19-57(2), raising the issue of the convict's supervening mental illness before the execution of a sentence of death. A dismissal or denial of a motion relating to mental illness under Section 99-19-57(2) shall be res judicata on the issue and shall likewise bar any second or successive motions on the issue. Likewise excepted from this prohibition are those cases in which the petitioner can demonstrate either that there has been an intervening decision of the Supreme Court of either the State of Mississippi or the United States which would have actually adversely affected the outcome of his conviction or sentence or that he has evidence, not reasonably discoverable at the time of trial, which is of such nature that it would be practically conclusive that, if it had been introduced at trial, it would have caused a different result in the conviction or sentence. Likewise excepted are those cases in which the petitioner claims that his sentence has expired or his probation, parole or conditional release has been unlawfully revoked. Likewise excepted are those cases in which the petitioner has filed a prior petition and has requested DNA testing under this article, provided the petitioner asserts new or different grounds for relief related to DNA testing not previously presented or the availability of more advanced DNA technology.

(7) No relief shall be granted under this article unless the petitioner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he is entitled to the relief.

(8) Proceedings under this section shall be subject to the provisions of Section 99-19-42.

(9) In cases resulting in a sentence of death and upon a determination of indigence, appointment of post-conviction counsel shall be made by the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel upon order entered by the Supreme Court promptly upon announcement of the decision on direct appeal affirming the sentence of death. The order shall direct the trial court to immediately determine indigence and whether the inmate will accept counsel.

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