State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Mississippi > Title-99 > 19 > 99-19-105

§ 99-19-105. Review by State Supreme Court of imposition of death penalty.

(1)  Whenever the death penalty is imposed, and upon the judgment becoming final in the trial court, the sentence shall be reviewed on the record by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The clerk of the trial court, within ten (10) days after receiving the transcript, shall transmit the entire record and transcript to the Mississippi Supreme Court together with a notice prepared by the clerk and a report prepared by the trial judge. The notice shall set forth the title and docket number of the case, the name of the defendant and the name and address of his attorney, a narrative statement of the judgment, the offense, and the punishment prescribed. The report shall be in the form of a standard questionnaire prepared and supplied by the Mississippi Supreme Court, a copy of which shall be served upon counsel for the state and counsel for the defendant. 

(2)  The Mississippi Supreme Court shall consider the punishment as well as any errors enumerated by way of appeal. 

(3)  With regard to the sentence, the court shall determine: 

(a) Whether the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor; 

(b) Whether the evidence supports the jury's or judge's finding of a statutory aggravating circumstance as enumerated in Section 99-19-101; 

(c) Whether the sentence of death is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant; and 

(d) Should one or more of the aggravating circumstances be found invalid on appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court shall determine whether the remaining aggravating circumstances are outweighed by the mitigating circumstances or whether the inclusion of any invalid circumstance was harmless error, or both. 

(4)  Both the defendant and the state shall have the right to submit briefs within the time provided by the court, and to present oral argument to the court. 

(5)  The court shall include in its decision a reference to those similar cases which it took into consideration. In addition to its authority regarding correction of errors, the court, with regard to review of death sentences, shall be authorized to: 

(a) Affirm the sentence of death; 

(b) Reweigh the remaining aggravating circumstances against the mitigating circumstances should one or more of the aggravating circumstances be found to be invalid, and (i) affirm the sentence of death or (ii) hold the error in the sentence phase harmless error and affirm the sentence of death or (iii) remand the case for a new sentencing hearing; or 

(c) Set the sentence aside and remand the case for modification of the sentence to imprisonment for life. 

(6)  The sentence review shall be in addition to direct appeal, if taken, and the review and appeal shall be consolidated for consideration. The court shall render its decision on legal errors enumerated, the factual substantiation of the verdict, and the validity of the sentence. 

Sources: Laws,  1977, ch. 458, § 4; Laws, 1984, ch. 448, § 7; Laws, 1985, ch. 305, § 1; Laws,  1994 Ex Sess, ch. 23, § 2; Laws, 2000, ch. 569, § 11, eff from and after July 1, 2000.