Decisions – Miss.S.Ct. – Sept. 20, 2016

Nathaniel Walden v. State   pcr/ineffective advice regarding plea –  Walden was convicted in 2006 of murder and shooting into an unoccupied dwelling.  In 2013, he filed a motion for pcr relief and the Miss.S.Ct. granted him a hearing.  At the hearing, the trial court found that the motion was barred because Walden did not first seek permission from the Miss.S.Ct. to file it and because it was supported only by his own affidavit.    The COA affirmed.  The Miss.S.Ct. reverses finding that Walden did, in fact, get the Miss.S.Ct’s permission to file his pcr.  As for the failure to get other affidavits – Walden’s claim was that his attorney provided ineffective assistance in advising him to not accept a plea of manslaughter.   He explained his failure to obtain the affidavits from his trial attorney and the District attorney  by stating that his trial attorney might be in prison and he had written to the DA to get information about the plea offer.  The Court finds that the trial court’s dismissal without considering whether Walden had good cause to not attach other affidavits was error and remands.

In Re Robert Shuler Smith –  due process for sanctions – The Court reverses Judge Weill’s order temporarily disqualifying Smith from participating in grand jury proceedings because Judge Weill failed to provide Smith with notice and a hearing before doing so.  As for Smith’s request to unseal certain files, the Court holds that’s for the specially appointed judge Roberts to decide.





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