Bob Ryan appointed to head Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel

December 21, 2001

The Mississippi Supreme Court has appointed Bob Ryan of Jackson as the new director of the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel.

Ryan's appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2002, for a term to run through June 30, 2004.

C. Jackson Williams, the office's first director, resigned effective Dec. 31.

The Office of Post-Conviction Counsel was created by the 2000 Legislature to provide representation to indigent death row inmates in post-conviction proceedings. There are about 38 death penalty post-conviction proceedings pending. Of those, 13 are represented by attorneys appointed by the circuit courts before the creation of the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel. The remainder are the responsibility of the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel.

A post-conviction proceeding, as defined by the Mississippi Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act, Mississippi Code Section 99-39-3, is "a procedure, limited in nature, to review those objections, defenses, claims, questions, issues or errors which in practical reality could not be or should not have been raised at trial or on direct appeal." Post-conviction proceedings are for the purpose of bringing to the trial court's attention facts not known at the time of the judgment.

The position of director pays $79,830 a year, the same as for a district attorney.

Ryan has worked in the office of the Hinds County Public Defender since 1994. He has been director of the appellate division, with responsibilities including preparation of all appeals for indigent defendants from the Hinds County Circuit Court to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. As an assistant public defender, his responsibilities also included representing indigent criminal defendants in municipal, county and circuit court.

Ryan has served since 1998 on the Mississippi Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules.

Ryan worked as an assistant district attorney in the 17th Judicial District in Hernando in 1993. He served as public defender in Panola and Tate counties 1988 to 1992. He was city attorney for the town of Crenshaw 1983 to 1985. He was municipal court judge for the town of Como 1981-1991. He was in private law practice in Sardis, Senatobia and Southaven from 1980 to 1988.

Ryan graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1980. He obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University in 1968 and attended the University of Northern Colorado 1971-1972. He obtained a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Texas Christian University in 1975.

Ryan served in the U.S. Air Force 1968-1976. He is a Vietnam combat veteran. He attained the rank of captain and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, six Air Medals and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He was a flight and ground instructor pilot, aircraft commander, director of training, information officer, education officer and special projects officer.

For more information, call Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, court public information officer, at the Administrative Office of Courts, 601-354-7452.