Miss. Appeals Court rejects inmate challenge to legal representation

Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The state Court of Appeals has rejected a Harrison County man’s claim that he deserved a new trial because his attorney should have done a better job.

Armstrong Jacob Knight’s post-conviction petition was turned down by a Harrison County judge in January. Inmates use post-conviction petitions to claim they have discovered new evidence that may win them a new trial.

Knight was arrested in the shooting death of Charles Dawson, 41, on July 9, 2002. Dawson was in the Saucier home with his ex-wife, another couple and a baby when the structure was sprayed with bullets. Dawson was the only one shot.

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Knight pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter in Harrison County. He was sentenced to the maximum 20 years for manslaughter, plus another 10 years for three related firearms counts. Knight had a prior felony drug conviction and the law prohibits convicted felons from having a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon.

Appeals Judge Leslie Southwick, writing Tuesday for the court, said Knight had no complaint about his attorney when questioned by the judge during a sentencing hearing.

“Knight’s testimony at his sentencing hearing does not indicate any confusion as to the result of his guilty plea. It also does not indicate any dissatisfaction with counsel,” Southwick said.