Money, time wasted in inmate’s appeal

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 9, 2004

A ruling last week by the Mississippi Court of Appeals is proofthat some prison inmates have nothing better to do than waste otherpeople’s time and money.

The court upheld Judge Mike Smith’s denial of a Lincoln Countyman’s request for post-conviction relief after he pleaded guilty tosexual battery, child exploitation and other charges in 2001. Theman was sentenced to 93 years in prison.

Notice the key words: pleaded guilty.

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That means he admitted to doing what prosecutors said he did.Any court motions or appeals after that suggests he just didn’tlike the sentence he got.

Pleading guilty is not an easy process. When a defendant choosesto do so, the judge goes through an extensive series of questionsto determine the guilty party’s competency and his truedesires.

In affirming the lower court decision, the appeals courtacknowledged the questions and the defendant’s responses to them.The state court also said a due process denial issue raised by thedefendant was impossible to discuss because he had raised noarguments on how that had happened.

Our question is why this appeal even needed to be considered atall.

Time spent researching the law and writing the ruling couldeasily have been spent on more important cases, like instanceswhere a defendant has been convicted by a jury and may have beenlegitimately wronged in the process. And the $100 cost of theappeal, which was assessed to Lincoln County, could certainly havebeen better spent elsewhere.

Defendants who have pleaded guilty should find a quick dead endto their avenues of appeal. To modify the familiar saying, “You’veadmitted the crime. Now, do the time.”