University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Quitman County v. State of Mississippi PD-MS-0001
Docket / Court 99-0126 ( State Court )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Indigent Defense
Case Summary
On December 17, 1999, Quitman County, Mississippi filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi under Article 3, Section 26 of the Mississippi Constitution, in the Circuit Court of Quitman County, Mississippi. The County claimed that the State of Mississippi's statutes requiring that the ... read more >
On December 17, 1999, Quitman County, Mississippi filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi under Article 3, Section 26 of the Mississippi Constitution, in the Circuit Court of Quitman County, Mississippi. The County claimed that the State of Mississippi's statutes requiring that the counties provide legal services for indigent defendants were unconstitutional. The County sought a declaratory judgment and an injunction to require the Mississippi State Legislature to establish a statewide public defenders office with state funding.

On July 10, 2000, the State filed a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging that it failed to state a claim and that the County lacked legal standing to bring the suit. On August 31, 2000, the Circuit Court (Judge Elzy Jonathan Smith, Jr.) denied the State's motion to dismiss, finding that the courts and the Legislature have concurrent responsibility for the State's compliance in this area. The State appealed.



On October 10, 2000, the Supreme Court of Mississippi granted the State's petition for interlocutory appeal. However, on October 31, 2001, the Supreme Court of Mississippi (Judge James W. Smith) affirmed, holding that the County did have standing to sue the State because "[t]he County has a colorable interest in the State's compliance with its duty to provide effective assistance of counsel to indigent defendants under Art. 3, ยง 26." State v. Quitman County, 807 So.2d 401, 410 (Miss. 2001). The Supreme Court also found that the allegations in the County's complaint stated a viable claim. The case was remanded to the Circuit Court for further proceedings. The State's motion for a rehearing of the case was denied on February 21, 2002.

On November 10, 2003, following a bench trial that was held from April 29, 2003, to May 6, 2003, the Circuit Court (Judge Ann H. Lamar) entered judgment in favor of the State. Judge Lamar concluded that "Quitman County had not met its burden of proving that the funding mechanism established by statute had led to systemic ineffective assistance of counsel in Quitman County and throughout the state." The County appealed and, on July 21, 2005, the Supreme Court of Mississippi (Judge James W. Smith) affirmed the ruling of the Circuit Court. Quitman County v. State, 910 So.2d 1032, 1037 (Miss. 2005).

Footnote 1 of State v. Quitman County, 807 So.2d 401, 402 (Miss. 2001), states that three similar suits were filed but held in abeyance pending the outcome of the first appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court in the Quitman County case. These other cases are in our database and appear as: Jefferson County v. State (PD-MS-0002), Noxubee County v. State (PD-MS-0003), and Van Slyke v. State (PD-MS-0004). Because we have no docket or other court documents for Jefferson County v. State or Noxubee County v. State, we are unsure whether these cases were resumed following the Mississippi Supreme Court's authorization of a trial in the Quitman County case or whether they were otherwise resolved. The third case, Van Slyke v. State, was voluntarily dismissed in 2001 after the plaintiff resigned as public defender. Because we have no docket or other court documents in the Van Slyke case, we are unsure whether it was dismissed before or after the Mississippi Supreme Court's authorization of a trial in the Quitman County case.

We have no further information on Quitman County v. State.

Shadi Peterman - 07/12/2007


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) State of Mississippi
Plaintiff Description Quitman County, MS
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PD-MS-0004 : Van Slyke v. State (State Court)
PD-MS-0002 : Jefferson County v. State (State Court)
PD-MS-0003 : Noxubee County v. State (State Court)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Indigent Defense Reform: The Role of Systemic Litigation in Operationalizing the Gideon Right to Counsel
Written: May. 07, 2007
By: Vidhya K. Reddy (Washington University in St. Louis)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel.
Written: Apr. 14, 2009
By: National Right to Counsel Committee (The Constitution Project)
Citation: National Right to Counsel Committee, Justice Denied: America's Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
By: Norman Lefstein (Indiana University--Indianapolis)
Citation: (ABA 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Third Generation of Indigent Defense Litigation
New York University Review of Law and Social Change
By: Cara Drinan (Columbus School of Law, Catholic University)
Citation: 33 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 427 (2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2003-SA-02658-SCT (State Supreme Court) 09/17/2002
PD-MS-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
2003-SA-02658-SCT (State Supreme Court) 10/07/2005
PD-MS-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 12/15/1999
PD-MS-0001-0026.pdf | Detail
Brief of Defendants-Appellants 02/07/2000
PD-MS-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Brief for Appellee 04/11/2001
PD-MS-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae Mississippi Trial Lawyers' Association and Magnolia Bar Association 04/17/2001
PD-MS-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae Sheriffs of Quitman County, et al, in Support of Appellee Quitman County 04/18/2001
PD-MS-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae of Rusty Fortenberry in Support of Appellee Quitman County 04/18/2001
PD-MS-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Brief for Warrat Stewart, Willie Henley, Donald Staten, Walter Williams, Diana Brown, Jimmy Redwine, Carlos Ivy, Milas McDonald, and James Borgmann as Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff for Affirmance of the Circuit Court 04/20/2001
PD-MS-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae J.B. Van Slyke and The Mississippi Public Defenders Association in Support of Appellee Quitman County 05/01/2001
PD-MS-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Motion and Brief for Amicus Curiae Quitman County Chamber of Commerce 05/01/2001
PD-MS-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amicus Curiae, The Mississippi Association of Supervisors, in Support of Appellee Quitman County Mississippi 05/01/2001
PD-MS-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amicus Curiae the Mississippi Bar 05/01/2001
PD-MS-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Reply Brief of Defendants-Appellants 05/08/2001
PD-MS-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Appellate Decision [En Banc] 10/31/2001 (807 So.2d 401)
PD-MS-0001-0027.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Assembly Line Justice: Mississippi's Indigent Defense Crisis [NAACP Legal Defense Fund Report] 02/01/2003
PD-MS-0001-0025.pdf | Detail
National Legal Aid & Defender Association's Brief of Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellant Quitman County, Mississippi 07/03/2004
PD-MS-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Brief for Appellant 07/14/2004
PD-MS-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae of the Mississippi Circuit Clerks' Association and Mississippi Chancery Clerks' Association in Support of Appellee Quitman County 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Mississippi Center for Justice and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant Quitman County 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Amicus Curiae Brief of Mississippi Sheriffs 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Brief for Amici Curiae NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and 100 Black Men of Jackson, Inc. in Support of Plaintiff-Appellant 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Amicus Curiae Brief of Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association and Magnolia Bar Association 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0018.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amicus Curiae, The Mississippi Association of Supervisors, in Support of Appellant, Quitman County, Mississippi 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0019.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amici Curiae Reuben V. Anderson, Rhoda B. Billings, Charles B. Blackmar, Harold G. Clarke, Armis E. Hawkins, James L. Robertson, Albert W. Thompson 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Brief of Amicus Curiae District Attorney Eleanor J. Peterson 08/04/2004
PD-MS-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Brief for Appellee 11/15/2004
PD-MS-0001-0022.pdf | Detail
Amicus Curiae Brief of Mississippi State Legislators in Support of the State of Mississippi, et. al. 12/08/2004
PD-MS-0001-0023.pdf | Detail
Reply Brief for Appellant 01/04/2005
PD-MS-0001-0024.pdf | Detail
Appellate Decision [En Banc] 07/21/2005 (910 So.2d 1032)
PD-MS-0001-0028.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Banks, Fred L. Jr. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027
Carlson, George C. Jr. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0028
Cobb, Kay B. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-0028
Diaz, Oliver E Jr. Court not on record
PD-MS-0001-0027
Dickinson, Jess H. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0028
Easley, Charles (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-0028
Graves, James Earl Jr. (State Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit)
PD-MS-0001-0028
Lamar, Ann H. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-9001
McRae, Charles R. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027
Pittman, Edwin L. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027
Randolph, Michael K. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0028
Smith, James W. Jr. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-0028
Smith, Elzy Jonathan Jr. (State Trial Court)
PD-MS-0001-9000
Waller, William L. Jr. (State Supreme Court)
PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-0028
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Behan, Kathleen A. (District of Columbia)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0012 | PD-MS-0001-0024 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-0028 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Freedman, John A. (District of Columbia)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Kallet, Beth R. (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Klotz, J. Christopher (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0007 | PD-MS-0001-0012 | PD-MS-0001-0024 | PD-MS-0001-0028 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
McKinley, Erica Taylor (District of Columbia)
PD-MS-0001-0002
Norman, Donna K. (District of Columbia)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Southwell, Alexander H. (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Stern, Jonathan L (District of Columbia)
PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Sweet, Dennis C III (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Voth, William H (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0002 | PD-MS-0001-0012 | PD-MS-0001-0024 | PD-MS-0001-0026 | PD-MS-0001-0028 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Berryhill, Billy (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0022 | PD-MS-0001-0028 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Googe, P. Roger Jr. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0001 | PD-MS-0001-0011 | PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Hood, Jim (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0022 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Moore, Mike (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0001 | PD-MS-0001-0011 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Pizzetta, Harold Edward III (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0001 | PD-MS-0001-0011 | PD-MS-0001-0022 | PD-MS-0001-0027 | PD-MS-0001-0028 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Other Lawyers Abel, Laura K. (New Jersey)
PD-MS-0001-0015 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Adelman, Michael (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0007 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Anderson, Reuben V. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0010 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Bernhard, Adele (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0015 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Cardin, Tommie S. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0019 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Collins, Jennifer Alicia (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-9001
Coxwell, Merrida (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0018 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Craig, James W. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0010 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
De Gruy, Andre (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0007
Epps, Julie Ann (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0013 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Fortenberry, Dewitt L. Jr. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-9000
Fortenberry, Rusty (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0005
Gohara, Miriam (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0006 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Hanlon, Stephen F. (Florida)
PD-MS-0001-0007
Hardwick, Kelly (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0023 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Hardy, James Steiner (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0017 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Hewitt, Damon Todd (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0017 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Hudson, Joseph P. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0006 | PD-MS-0001-0020 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Jones, John Griffin (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0004 | PD-MS-0001-0016 | PD-MS-0001-9000 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Kendall, George H. (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0006 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Keyes, Samuel W. Jr. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0009 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Kirksey, William B (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0014 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Klein, Jessica M. (New York)
PD-MS-0001-0020 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Lambert, Elizabeth Anne (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0019 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Miller, David B. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0015 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Peterson, Eleanor Johnson (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0021 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Pigott, J. Brad (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-9001
Reeves, Carlton Wayne (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0017 | PD-MS-0001-9001
Riley-Collins, Jennifer A. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0015
Roy, Robert G. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0008 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Rydzewski, Leo G. (District of Columbia)
PD-MS-0001-0007
Sanders, Everett T. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0004 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Slaughter-Harvey, Constance (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0003 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Stevens, Lance L. (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0003 | PD-MS-0001-9000
Wise-Martin, Crystal (Mississippi)
PD-MS-0001-0018 | PD-MS-0001-9001

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -