Pervis Payne is back in court after 14 years

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After 14 years Pervis Payne faced a judge Friday morning for another hearing on the status of his intellectual disability case.

Payne has been on death row for more than 30 years after being convicted in the murder of a Millington mother and her child.

Payne’s family was present for the hearing.

“We are expecting good things to happen on today, we are expecting good news,” Payne’s sister Rolanda Holman said.

“We’re not walking in this courtroom with doubt, but god got it already worked out,” Payne’s father Carl Payne said.

The state wants to have a medical expert evaluate Payne and access records to determine whether or not he is intellectually disabled. Constitutionally a person with intellectual disabilities cannot be executed.

Payne’s attorney Kelley Henry said she welcomes the evaluation but objected to the records request, saying they are confidential.

“The state is inviting error because the evidence that they are requesting is specifically forbidden under the U.S. Supreme courts decision in Moore vs Texas,” Henry said.

The state and Payne’s legal team tabled a motion to work on what records the state wants to request.

Henry motioned to record the state’s evaluation to which the assistant District Attorney Steve Jones objected.

“I submit that would be unfair and there’s no law that requires that and so the state would object on that basis,” Jones said.

Payne’s legal team had a psychologist who has done extensive research on the intellectual and development disabilities testify. He stated recording the evaluation would not impact anything.

“It’s not upsetting to the person being tested and it doesn’t impact the validity of the responses in any way,” phycologist Dr. Stephen Greenspan said.

The judge said she will make a written ruling on whether the medical assessment can be videotaped. No word on when that will be released.

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