Error Found "Harmless"

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The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that Scott County authorities' failure to bring a defendant before a judge within 48 hours of his arrest did not violate the suspect's constitutional protection from unreasonable seizure.

Mississippi court rules require suspects to be taken before a judge within 48 hours of being arrested.

Justice George C. Carlson, writing for the Supreme Court, said the hearing given Larry Wesley Lawrence six days after his arrest did violate the rules, but not his Fourth Amendment rights.

The Fourth Amendment guarantees people against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Carlson said the Supreme Court was siding with the state Court of Appeals, which ruled in April that while Lawrence's rights were violated, the error was harmless.

The Appeals Court said the totality of the case against Lawrence was sound.

Lawrence was convicted of burglary of a dwelling in Scott County Circuit Court in 1999. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison as a habitual offender.