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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Marlon Latodd Howell, aka Marlon Cox
(argued the cause for Petitioner)
(argued the cause for Respondent)
Facts of the Case 

A Mississippi court convicted Marlon Howell of capital murder - murder committed during a felony - and sentenced him to death. Howell appealed and argued the trial court was wrong to deny the jury the option of finding Howell guilty of the lesser offenses of non-capital murder or manslaughter, for which the death penalty would not have been an option. The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against Howell and said there was no evidence to support lesser charges.


1.) In death penalty cases can a state court refuse to give a jury the option of finding a defendant guilty of at least one lesser offense if it is recognized by state law and supported by evidence? 2.) Was Howell's federal constitutional claim properly raised before the Mississippi Supreme Court?

Decision: 9 votes for Mississippi, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 28 U.S.C. 1257

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Court dismissed the case because Howell had not first raised his federal constitutional claims in state court.

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HOWELL v. MISSISSIPPI. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
HOWELL v. MISSISSIPPI, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"HOWELL v. MISSISSIPPI," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,