The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial, but two men in Mississippi are still waiting for trials after 7 and 8 years.
The two inmates, Marktain Kilpatrick Simmons, 43 and Lee Vernel Knight, 47, both have mental issues and have been waiting years for a their day in court. Both Simmons and Knight are being held at the Hinds County Detention Center.
Simmons was arrested for k¡lling Christopher Joiner in 2006 and has yet to stand trial. Witnesses claim Simmons demanded money from Joiner, who was standing with a friend in a complex parking lot, before stabbing Joiner.
Simmons was denied bond in 2006 after Judge Bill Gowan said he wanted more information about the accused man’s mental issues, reports The Clarion Ledger.
Knight was arrested in 2007 after having been arrested for stabbing his brother on Christmas day. Knight, a paranoid schizophrenic, was ordered in 2013 to be housed in a mental institution, but there have been no beds available.
District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith says defense attorneys have dropped the ball.
“First of all they need adequate representation, and secondly they need someone who can give a mental evaluation that’s final and conclusive, because we can’t prosecute someone if they do not have a final mental evaluation or the results of that evaluation,” Smith said. “So someone who’s just there waiting for their mental evaluation is something that the defense attorney has to bring to the attention of the court and to our attention. We don’t know whether or not the person has that mental illness conclusively until we receive the medical information from the defense attorney.”
In total, 130 inmates have been in the detention center for a year or more without trial.