Oral arg. – COA – Sept. 27, 2016

At 10:30 the Court of Appeals will hear the case of Dennis Thompson v. State. 

Thompson was found guilty of depraved heart murder and three counts of aggravated assault after a fight during a  high school graduation party  in Starkville went bad and someone fired shots into the crowd.   The jury decided that someone was Thompson.

On appeal he argues that it was error to allow the prosecution to call Officer Landon Stamps as a rebuttal witness “since the defendant never testified at trial there was no genuine issue at controversy that Officer Stamps could rebut.”  He also argues that the trial court erred in refusing every one of the defense’s instructions.

Jacksonians might want to watch because Thompson’s attorney is Chokwe Lumumba, the son of the late mayor who himself ran for that office.  The brief Lumumba filed is extremely vague and he didn’t file a rebuttal.

dennis-thompson-brief

dennis-thompson-states-brief

Watch the argument here.

The panel was made up of Justices Griffis, Carlton, and Barnes.  I watched the first eight minutes or so and have one observation. Mr. Lumumba spent the first five minutes giving the Court an account of how the crime happened – arguing that the defense was self defense.  The brief was notably brief on the facts and the panel allowed Mr. Lumumba to get through his recitation of the facts uninterrupted.  Sometime in the last year, there was an argument in the Mississippi Supreme Court and this young attorney started out telling the Court he was going to give a recitation of the facts and Justice Dickinson spent three minutes asking him if he was accusing the justices of not being thoroughly acquainted with the facts of the case they were about to hear.  So, to launch into a recitation of the facts or not? I guess it depends.

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