Sixteen-year-old William Haymon has spent more than 500 days in an adult jail in rural Lexington, Mississippi. There are no state rules governing how long a person can be incarcerated without being formally charged with a crime.
On July 14, the day that William Haymon turned 16, he spent his 511th day in jail. He has been incarcerated without bail in the Holmes-Humphreys Regional Correctional Facility, an adult jail in rural Lexington, Mississippi, since February 2019. In those 17 months, prosecutors have yet to present charges to a grand jury so it can consider whether the state has enough evidence to pursue a conviction against him.
This delay, according to the local district attorney, Akillie Malone-Oliver, who prosecutes the state’s 21st judicial district, is primarily because of turnover in the city police department that is investigating the charges. But Haymon’s prolonged incarceration is emblematic of a larger issue facing Mississippians who are arrested. There are no rules governing how long a person can be incarcerated without an indictment. As a result, people can languish in jail for months and years before they are formally charged with a crime.
Haymon’s attorney, Lawrence Blackmon, has attempted to win his client’s release by alleging that the county is illegally detaining him and violating his constitutional right to a speedy trial. While Malone-Oliver has defended Haymon’s imprisonment as a path to self-improvement, Blackmon has argued that Haymon is missing school—he would be starting the 10th grade in the fall—and will experience lasting harm from his incarceration as a child. So far, those arguments have failed to secure Haymon’s freedom.
Featured Image, Photo illustration by Kat Wawrykow. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Blackmon.
Full article @ The Appeal
The Innocence Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit legal organization that is committed to exonerating individuals who it claims have been wrongly convicted through the use of DNA testing and to reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. The group cites various studies estimating that in the United States, between 2.3% and 5% of all prisoners are innocent. The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. Scheck and Neufeld gained national attention in the mid-1990s as part of the so-called “Dream Team” of lawyers who formed part of the defense in the O. J. Simpson murder case.
As of November 17, 2019, the Innocence Project has worked on 189 successful DNA-based exonerations.
Source – Innocence Project (Updated: 18 August 2020) Wikipedia. Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocence_Project, (Accessed: 04 October 2020)