Purpose

Our office was established with two main purposes:

(1) to provide high quality representation to indigent persons charged with death penalty eligible offenses in the state courts of Mississippi at the trial level and on direct appeal where the death penalty has been imposed; and (2) to relieve the financial burden death penalty cases pose to local governments.

History

The Office of Capital Defense Counsel was established by the Capital Defense Litigation Act of 2000 in order to "providerepresentation to indigent parties under indictment for death penalty eligible offenses."

In July 2001, André de Gruy was appointed the first director.  De Gruy opened the office August 1, and the office accepted its first case on September 12, 2001.

Since then, the office has assumed representation in over 150 death penalty-eligible cases at the trial level and over 20 death penalty cases on direct appeal.  Twelve of the trial level cases were without local counsel requiring the assignment of two attorneys from the office.  The office has also consulted on many more cases at trial and appeal level and provided three training programs.
 
Effective July 1, 2011, Capital Defense Counsel became a division of the Mississippi State Public Defender. 
 
Capital Defense will continue the mission of providing high quality representation in cases assigned by the State Defender as well as assisting the Defender Training Division with training.  The State Defender will supervise the delivery of services in death penalty eligible conflict cases.

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Mississippi OSPD
©2011