The State of Mississippi filed a motion on Monday requesting that the Jeffrey Havard case be sealed. If this request is granted, it could limit or prohibit a non-party’s remote electronic access to case documents that would normally be public record.
The motion filed by the office of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, cites a message posted on a Facebook page by one of Havard’s attorneys as the reason for the filing of the request. The problem is that the State’s request attempts to go far beyond the prevention of an attorney speaking publicly about the case on social media websites. If granted, this motion will prevent the public from seeing the injustice currently being committed against Jeffrey Havard. The public has a right to know the facts of this case.
Jeffrey Havard currently sits wrongfully convicted on death row in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. The truth is the infant slipped from Jeffrey’s arms while lifting her from the tub, causing her head to hit the toilet. Chloe’s death was a tragic accident, not a murder. According to two national leading experts, Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. James Lauridson, the evidence supports Jeffrey’s claims. Jeffrey Havard is innocent.
The State seems shocked that Havard’s case is receiving any public attention at all:
“Additionally, although the State has no knowledge of how this case has become such a public one, the State directs this Court to Exhibit B. Routinely, the State receives letters from across the country, from concerned citizens pleading for the life of Jeffrey Havard. See Exhibit B. Curiously, each of the letters (submitted herein as examples) contains detailed factual allegations about this case: that the victim, Chloe Britt, died as the result of an accidental fall; that the victim’s autopsy made no reference to sexual assault; that the only binding factor in this case was anal dilation of the victim; that Mr. Havard requested a polygraph test; that Mr. Havard refused a plea agreement. Moreover, some of these letters are identical in their wording, leading the State to believe the writers are procuring their information from the same source.”
The motion goes on to say: “The State is not suggesting that Petitioner or his legal team have disseminated such information; indeed, he State has no evidence to support or infer such a claim and would go so far as to suggest habeas counsel have had no involvement whatsoever with respect to these letters. However, the facts being as they are, this case has become a public spectacle; and Mr. Carner’s Facebook posting has only added fuel to the fire.”
It is odd that the State is claiming not to know how Havard’s case has become a public one, when a simple Google search for “Jeffrey Havard” provides the answer. Freejeffreyhavard.org, a website owned and operated by Injustice Anywhere, currently occupies the top two entries on Google for Jeffrey Havard.
The letters mentioned in the motion are the result of a letter writing campaign that was started by Havard’s supporters. The letter campaign is detailed on the home page of freejeffreyhavard.org. Visitors will also see that the site provides public case documents and expert analysis in support of Havard’s innocence. Every detail cited by the State can be found in public documents. It makes no sense to speculate that Havard’s attorneys are making an effort to leak public information to the public.