Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – Mon., March 23, 2015

At 1:30, the Miss.S.Ct. will hear the  case of Charles Ray Crawford v. State.

Crawford was convicted of having raped a 17-year-old  in April of 1991.  While awaiting trial, he was charged with the capital murder of 20-year-old Kristy Ray in Jan. of 1993.  The jury rejected Crawford’s insanity defense to the rape and he was sentenced to 46 years.   He was then  tried on the capital murder charge,  found guilty and sentenced to death.  In the years since then, he has appealed the capital murder case and pursued both post conviction and habeas relief all of which have been denied thus far.

The rape conviction was used as an aggravating circumstance in the capital murder case.  For various reasons, the rape conviction was not appealed until recently. His first issue on appeal  is that the 21-year delay violated his right to due process. He also raises prosecutorial misconduct (asking a defense witness whether he had smoked marijuana with Crawford); that the trial court erred in allowing a flight instruction; that an instruction on the elements of rape shifted the burden of proof onto Crawford; that the state was allowed to elicit improper rebuttal testimony.

Crawford’s initial brief is not accessible electronically.

State’s brief

Crawford’s rebuttal brief

Watch the argument here.

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