Case: Quitman County v. State of Mississippi

99-00126 | Mississippi state trial court

Filed Date: Dec. 17, 1999

Closed Date: 2005

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 17, 1999, Quitman County, Mississippi filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi under Article 3, Section 26 of the Mississippi Constitution, in the Circuit Court of Quitman County, Mississippi. The County claimed that the State of Mississippi's statutes requiring that the counties provide legal services for indigent defendants were unconstitutional. The County sought a declaratory judgment and an injunction to require the Mississippi State Legislature to establish a statewi…

On December 17, 1999, Quitman County, Mississippi filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi under Article 3, Section 26 of the Mississippi Constitution, in the Circuit Court of Quitman County, Mississippi. The County claimed that the State of Mississippi's statutes requiring that the counties provide legal services for indigent defendants were unconstitutional. The County sought a declaratory judgment and an injunction to require the Mississippi State Legislature to establish a statewide public defenders office with state funding.

On July 10, 2000, the State filed a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging that it failed to state a claim and that the County lacked legal standing to bring the suit. On August 31, 2000, the Circuit Court (Judge Elzy Jonathan Smith, Jr.) denied the State's motion to dismiss, finding that the courts and the Legislature have concurrent responsibility for the State's compliance in this area. The State appealed.

On October 10, 2000, the Supreme Court of Mississippi granted the State's petition for interlocutory appeal. However, on October 31, 2001, the Supreme Court of Mississippi (Judge James W. Smith) affirmed, holding that the County did have standing to sue the State because "[t]he County has a colorable interest in the State's compliance with its duty to provide effective assistance of counsel to indigent defendants under Art. 3, § 26." State v. Quitman County, 807 So.2d 401, 410 (Miss. 2001). The Supreme Court also found that the allegations in the County's complaint stated a viable claim. The case was remanded to the Circuit Court for further proceedings. The State's motion for a rehearing of the case was denied on February 21, 2002.

On November 10, 2003, following a bench trial that was held from April 29, 2003, to May 6, 2003, the Circuit Court (Judge Ann H. Lamar) entered judgment in favor of the State. Judge Lamar concluded that "Quitman County had not met its burden of proving that the funding mechanism established by statute had led to systemic ineffective assistance of counsel in Quitman County and throughout the state." The County appealed and, on July 21, 2005, the Supreme Court of Mississippi (Judge James W. Smith) affirmed the ruling of the Circuit Court. Quitman County v. State, 910 So.2d 1032, 1037 (Miss. 2005).

Footnote 1 of State v. Quitman County, 807 So.2d 401, 402 (Miss. 2001), states that three similar suits were filed but held in abeyance pending the outcome of the first appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court in the Quitman County case. These other cases are in our database and appear as: Jefferson County v. State (PD-MS-0002), Noxubee County v. State (PD-MS-0003), and Van Slyke v. State (PD-MS-0004). Because we have no docket or other court documents for Jefferson County v. State or Noxubee County v. State, we are unsure whether these cases were resumed following the Mississippi Supreme Court's authorization of a trial in the Quitman County case or whether they were otherwise resolved. The third case, Van Slyke v. State, was voluntarily dismissed in 2001 after the plaintiff resigned as public defender. Because we have no docket or other court documents in the Van Slyke case, we are unsure whether it was dismissed before or after the Mississippi Supreme Court's authorization of a trial in the Quitman County case.

We have no further information on Quitman County v. State.

Summary Authors

Shadi Peterman (7/12/2007)

Related Cases

Jefferson County v. State, Mississippi state trial court (1999)

Noxubee County v. State, Mississippi state trial court (1999)

Van Slyke v. State, Mississippi state trial court (2000)

People


Judge(s)

Banks, Fred L. Jr. (Mississippi)

Carlson, George C. Jr. (Mississippi)

Cobb, Kay B. (Mississippi)

Diaz, Oliver E. Jr. (Mississippi)

Dickinson, Jess H. (Mississippi)

Easley, Charles (Mississippi)

Graves, James Earl Jr. (Mississippi)

Lamar, Ann H. (Mississippi)

McRae, Charles R. (Mississippi)

Pittman, Edwin L. (Mississippi)

Judge(s)

Banks, Fred L. Jr. (Mississippi)

Carlson, George C. Jr. (Mississippi)

Cobb, Kay B. (Mississippi)

Diaz, Oliver E. Jr. (Mississippi)

Dickinson, Jess H. (Mississippi)

Easley, Charles (Mississippi)

Graves, James Earl Jr. (Mississippi)

Lamar, Ann H. (Mississippi)

McRae, Charles R. (Mississippi)

Pittman, Edwin L. (Mississippi)

Randolph, Michael K. (Mississippi)

Smith, James W. Jr. (Mississippi)

Waller, William L. Jr. (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Behan, Kathleen A. (District of Columbia)

Freedman, John A. (District of Columbia)

Kallet, Beth R. (New York)

Klotz, J. Christopher (Mississippi)

McKinley, Erica Taylor (District of Columbia)

Norman, Donna K. (District of Columbia)

Southwell, Alexander H. (New York)

Stern, Jonathan L (District of Columbia)

Sweet, Dennis C III (Mississippi)

Voth, William H (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berryhill, Billy (Mississippi)

Googe, P. Roger Jr. (Mississippi)

Hood, Jim (Mississippi)

McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)

Moore, Mike (Mississippi)

Pizzetta, Harold Edward III (Mississippi)

Other Attorney(s)

Abel, Laura K. (New Jersey)

Adelman, Michael (Mississippi)

Anderson, Reuben V. (Mississippi)

Bernhard, Adele (New York)

Cardin, Tommie S. (Mississippi)

Collins, Jennifer Alicia (Mississippi)

Coxwell, Merrida (Mississippi)

Craig, James W. (Mississippi)

De Gruy, Andre (Mississippi)

Epps, Julie Ann (Mississippi)

Fortenberry, Rusty (Mississippi)

Gohara, Miriam (New York)

Hanlon, Stephen F. (Florida)

Hardwick, Kelly (Mississippi)

Hardy, James Steiner (New York)

Hewitt, Damon Todd (New York)

Hudson, Joseph P. (Mississippi)

Jones, John Griffin (Mississippi)

Kendall, George H. (New York)

Keyes, Samuel W. Jr. (Mississippi)

Kirksey, William B (Mississippi)

Klein, Jessica M. (New York)

Lambert, Elizabeth Anne (Mississippi)

Miller, David B. (Mississippi)

Peterson, Eleanor Johnson (Mississippi)

Pigott, J. Brad (Mississippi)

Reeves, Carlton Wayne (Mississippi)

Riley-Collins, Jennifer A. (Mississippi)

Roy, Robert G. (Mississippi)

Rydzewski, Leo G. (District of Columbia)

Sanders, Everett T. (Mississippi)

Slaughter-Harvey, Constance (Mississippi)

Stevens, Lance L. (Mississippi)

Wise-Martin, Crystal (Mississippi)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

00-IA-01477

Docket [Supreme Court of Mississippi]

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

Sept. 17, 2002

Sept. 17, 2002

Docket

03-SA-02658

Docket [Supreme Court of Mississippi]

Mississippi state supreme court

Oct. 7, 2005

Oct. 7, 2005

Docket

99-0126

Complaint

Quitman County v. Mississippi

Dec. 15, 1999

Dec. 15, 1999

Complaint

00-IA-01477

Brief of Defendants-Appellants

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

Feb. 7, 2000

Feb. 7, 2000

Pleading / Motion / Brief

00-IA-01477

Brief for Appellee

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

April 11, 2001

April 11, 2001

Pleading / Motion / Brief

00-IA-01477

Brief of Amici Curiae Mississippi Trial Lawyers' Association and Magnolia Bar Association

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

April 17, 2001

April 17, 2001

Pleading / Motion / Brief

00-IA-01477

Brief of Amici Curiae Sheriffs of Quitman County, et al, in Support of Appellee Quitman County

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

April 18, 2001

April 18, 2001

Pleading / Motion / Brief

00-IA-01477

Brief of Amici Curiae of Rusty Fortenberry in Support of Appellee Quitman County

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

April 18, 2001

April 18, 2001

Pleading / Motion / Brief

00-IA-01477

Brief for Warrat Stewart, Willie Henley, Donald Staten, Walter Williams, Diana Brown, Jimmy Redwine, Carlos Ivy, Milas McDonald, and James Borgmann as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff for Affirmance of the Circuit Court

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

April 20, 2001

April 20, 2001

Pleading / Motion / Brief

00-IA-01477

Brief of Amici Curiae J.B. Van Slyke and The Mississippi Public Defenders Association in Support of Appellee Quitman County

State of Mississippi v. Quitman County

Mississippi state supreme court

May 1, 2001

May 1, 2001

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 1, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

Indigent Defense

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 17, 1999

Closing Date: 2005

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Quitman County, MS

Plaintiff Type(s):

City/County Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Mississippi, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None