Oral arg. – MSSC – 3/13/18

At 1:30 the court will hear argument in the death penalty case of Abdur Rahim Ambrose v. State of Mississippi. 

Ambrose and two others were indicted for the murder of Robert Trosclair who was found on the side of a road outside of Delisle in Harrison County.  He was brain dead having suffered trauma to the head. Apparently Trosclair was beaten after being suspected of having broken into Ambrose’s car and stolen painkillers and other items.  One of the state’s witnesses was Demetrius Lee.  While Lee was a participant in the events, he agreed to testify for the state in exchange for not being prosecuted.  What the jury wasn’t told was that Lee had a prior felony of burglary which the state had agreed to non adjudicate.  The state could have revoked the agreement to non adjudicate the burglary based on Lee’s participation in the Trosclair killing but did not.  Lee was also facing being charged in an unrelated armed robbery.  The trial court refused to allow the defense to elicit any of the this information because they did not qualify as convictions under MRE 404.

Before the jury began deliberations on the sentence, a juror disclosed that he could not participate because he knew members of the defendant’s family.  He had revealed these during voir dire but stated that he could be fair. The trial court excused the juror over the defendant’s  objection and request for a mistrial.

There are numerous other issues as would be expected in a death penalty case.

Ambrose’s brief

State’s brief

Ambrose’s reply brief

Watch the argument here

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