The Mississippi Supreme Court has asked trial judges why they have not ruled on post-conviction claims of nine death row inmates. At least four of the cases involve claims of mental disability.
The Supreme Court issued the orders Thursday. The justices said they want to know what is taking so long on the cases and if they should force on the trial judges a timetable to render decisions.
In a post-conviction petition, an inmate argues he has found new evidence, or a possible constitutional issue, that could persuade a court to order a new trial.
The death row inmates with mental disability claims are Willie C. Russell in Sunflower County, Ricky Chase in Copiah County, Ronnie Lee Conner in Lauderdale County and Kevin Scott in Bolivar County.