Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You can' t make this up.

The probation officer for Doug Hindman was indicted and convicted a year after he requested termination for Mr. Hindman's probation when it was only 50% completed.

A Hinds County grand jury indicted Gerald Jones, Jr. on June 2, 201 for three counts of embezzlement and three counts of extortion. The indictment charged Mr. Jones with selling early releases from probation. It seems Mr. Jones was pretty cheap as the indictment alleges he charged $150, $200, and $50 for the three cases cited. Judge Swan Yerger approved a plea agreement on October 20, 2010. Mr. Jones was sentenced to one year of house arrest under MDOC supervision and had to pay $660 in restitution per month (Yes, this is the son of Gerald Jones. That should tell you all you need to know about why he got one year of house arrest.)

Mr. Jones was the probation officer for Doug Hindman. Mr. Hindman was busted for exploitation of a child in 2006 in a joint sting operation between NBC and the Hinds County Sheriff's office. A Hinds County Grand Jury indicted him for exploitation of a child in 2007. His attorney, Cynthia Stewart, made a plea agreement with the prosecutor, Rebecca Mansell, that reduced the charge to cyberstalking. The court ordered Mr. Hindman to pay a $10,000 fine, suspended a prison sentence of two years, and placed him on probation for five years. Earlier post containing court file and chat log

Mr. Jones filed a petition to terminate his probation on July 28, 2009 after he had completed only 50% of his probation. Special Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn approved the petition and terminated Mr. Hindman's probation. Then of course there is this passage published by the New York Times last week:

"Maggi and I wanted to begin by thanking you and Marsha for a lovely and special lunch at the Mansion last Tuesday,” began a letter to the governor by a family friend of Doug Hindman, one pardon applicant. “It was very interesting to see the historical quilt upstairs.”

So lets get this straight. The HCSO busts Doug Hindman trying to hook up with what he thought was a 13 year-old girl. He is indicted for exploitation of a child. An Ed Peters crony representing Mr. Hindman and a prosecutor involved in some questionable cases cut a deal reducing his charge to a lesser felony and resulting in no jail time for Mr. Hindman. Then a crooked probation officer gets his probation terminated after its only halfway completed. Then Governor Barbour pardons him after a "lovely and special lunch".

Welcome to the Mississippi criminal justice system.



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Monday, January 30, 2012

Governor Bryant asks court to dismiss him from pardon lawsuit

Another chapter was written in Pardongate today as Governor Phil Bryant filed a motion to dismiss in Hinds County Circuit Court today in response to the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jim Hood. Mr. Hood seeks to block many of the pardons issued by then-Governor Haley Barbour.

The Governor in essence said this is not his fight, leave him out of it. He argued there was no remedy that could be obtained from him, he did not take part in the process of granting the pardons, and has no liability under any reading of the law.




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Pardonees file request for emergency stay with Mississippi Supreme Court

Note: If you are suddenly having problems accessing this site, comment or email me. Ever since scribd went to HTML5 it causes problems for blogger in IE.

Am uploading appeal right now. When post when done. Attorney Tom Fortner filed suit on behalf of Charles Hooker, David Gatlin, Nathan Kern, and Anthony McCray. Mr. Fortner also asked for an emergency hearing. Here is the petition:

Copy of petition and exhibits



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Davis: I'm gay & I'm here to stay BUT the kinfolk deal with Sluggo & Doug Davis is on hold

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis refused to step down today, said people are trying to use his homosexuality against him, and took no questions in a very short press conference today. WREG reported:

"Southaven Mayor Greg Davis says he is not resigning.

Davis made the statements in a very short press conference held at Southaven City Hall.

Davis says some have used his announcement that he is gay against him, "It deeply hurts that some have taken that very personal struggle and manipulated it and twisted it maliciously into something that was never intended."

Davis has not been seen in weeks, his attorney says he has been seeking medical treatment.

The State of Mississippi originally ordered Davis to repay $170,700 in expenses billed to the city unless he could provide specific receipts.

The $170,000 comes from several years of receipts which state auditors say are not appropriate.

Questions about his expenses arose last April when Davis spent two weeks and more than $27,000 at Psychological Counseling Services in Scottsdale, Arizona.
" Link to video

Meanwhile, that little story about the city purchasing ten acres for $1.9 million from the Mayor's cousins is now on hold. The story on WREG (some of which looks very familiar) has some new revelations as the reporter took my advice and looked at the settlement statement:

"Southaven aldermen say a plan to buy 10 acres of land for a new senior center are on hold.

It comes amid concerns from some people that the planned sale is a sweetheart deal between the sellers and Mayor Greg Davis.

On one side of the deal is the buyer, the city of Southaven, and the embattled mayor.

The seller is a limited liability company. Two of its members are the mayor’s distant cousins, DeSoto County Chancery Court Clerk Sluggo Davis and his son, former State Senator Doug Davis....

But Sluggo Davis insists everything is above-board when it comes to the agreement that the city purchase the ten acres for a proposed senior center. In December Southaven’s Board of Aldermen followed the mayor’s recommendation and voted to buy the property for $1.95 million. Mayor Davis told the board the land was appraised at $2.6 million.

“No, we have not seen the appraisal,” admitted Alderman Ronnie Hale. He was one of two aldermen who voted no on the purchase which is set to close in mid-2012.

With Mayor Greg Davis now under federal investigation for his spending of taxpayer money, Hale says the sale will not go through until aldermen see that appraisal.

“The fact that we've been lied to in the past it's just not prudent for us to move forward on the project until we know all the details,” said Hale.

Adding fuel to the fire, the county’s most recent appraisal in 2006 valued the land at $315,000.

Sluggo Davis said he and a partner, Alvin Gilless, bought the ten acres for $1.3 million in 2005. A settlement statement provided by Davis backed-up his claim.

WREG On Your Side Investigators asked him about the $2.6 million appraisal cited by the mayor. Sluggo Davis said he’s never had the land appraised, never seen the appraisal, and doesn’t know who did it.

So does he believe the property is worth what the mayor claims?

“It's been on the market and hadn't bought it,” said Davis.

Southaven’s city administrators said he didn’t have a copy of the appraisal either.

We asked DeSoto County Tax Assessor Parker Pickle why the county’s appraisal is $1 million less than what Davis paid. He was unaware of the sale price
." Rest of story and video

Here's some advice for the city: pay someone to appraise the property. The appraisal should be done by the buyer or lender, never the seller. As for the Mayor, no one is attacking you for being gay, they are attacking you for your endless attempts to steal public money, set up sweetheart deals with your family and friends, and the general smell of corruption around you that grows stronger and stronger. You're the one that made Jay Leno, not your critics.

earlier post


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Cottonmouth: he funny.

Cottonmouth is at it again. The mouthpiece for Mississippi Democrats went into hysterics last week over PERS yet again. Senator Fillingane filed a bill about PERS. What sent Cottonchicken over the edge was some language about mortgage-backed securities (MBS):

"My favorite part, though, is the language that would let PERS retirement funds be invested in mortgage-backed securities (see lines 1241-1243). You may recall mortgage-backed securities as the investment vehicle that nearly ended America in 2008."

Um, no Cottonchicken. It was not the MBS's that nearly ended America, it was the fact the credit ratings agencies were grading them AAA instead of what they should have been - B,C or junk. Text of bill. The language merely authorizes PERS to purchase a long and diverse list of securities, of which MBS's are merely one item. However, once again, Cottonchicken has no clue about what he is talking about because PERS HAS BEEN PURCHASING MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES for quite some time.

Here is the report from the August meeting of the PERS investment committee. Look at Page 10 of this report on the PIMCO II fund. 25% of the fund is........ mortgage-backed securities. Page 14 of this report shows the fund at the time of the committee meeting had a balance just over $27 million. OH MY GOSH!!! HELLLLPPPP!!!! RUN FOR THE DELTA!!!!!!!!! PERS has mortgage-backed securities in its portfolio!!!!

Of course, I'm not too surprised at his ignorance as he once said to me on his blog that reading PERS reports, reading the audits, and going to the committee meetings did not make one an expert. Well, I can understand that coming from a lawyer as when you get so used to manipulating facts for a courtroom you can forget sometimes there is such a thing as actual truth. The truth is MBS's are a legitimate form of investment, as his hero Cecil Brown would tell him. Just as any other investment, their rate of return, risk, and the exposure of PERS is what matters but don't expect such ideas to enter the head of Cottonchicken.

By the way Kingfish, why do you call him Cottonchicken? Well, it seems Cottonchicken will not allow my comments on his website anymore. He's been shrieking about the hiring of Nathan Wells for $112,000 as Speaker Phillip Gunn's policy director. The Dems even sent out a press release on the hiring. Well, I'm going to give you guys some good advice. If you are going to play this game, please get everyone on the same page as EVERY DEMOCRAT ON THE COMMITTEE VOTED FOR THE HIRING OF MR. WELLS. Don't believe me? Here is the video.

If you are going to oppose the hire, then make sure your team does not vote for it. Such basic facts of politics unfortunately seem to escape Cole and Cottonchicken, which might explain why the Mississippi Democratic Party is in such sad shape. This isn't even bad liberal spin, its just plain pitiful. I repeatedly tried to point out the fact the Democrats voted for it unanimously every time Cottonchicken raised it but none of my comments, which contained no fowl language, were approved. Mr. Cottonchicken since then refuses to approve my comments. Apparently our learned lawyer who supposedly believes in free speech and informed debate is an intellectual coward. If this is the form Democratic opposition will take, Mississippi Republicans are going to be in charge for a very long time.

Note: Oh yes, Earle Banks made the statement about hiring Mr. Wells. First, he didn't check his own committee. Second, this is the same Mr. Banks that held a press conference raising hell over the Jackson water bonds, saying he was tired of voting for them only to have Haley and Tate rejecting them. Only problem was, Mr. Banks voted against them.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

More dollars for Davis

The Commercial Appeal found more sweetheart deals between Southaven Mayor Greg Davis, developers, and city land deals. Won't spoil the fun for you, so read here. This thing is about to blow up.

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Haley speaks

CNN's John King interviewed Governor Barbour about the pardons a few days ago:



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Latest crime stats

FINALLY. Jackson finally updated the crime stats on its website. Here they are.

Jackson crime reports for week ending January 8, 2012.

Jackson major crimes overview for week ending January 8, 2012.

Pages 5-6 are the pages to read in the overview report. Frankly it is so early in the year the percentages don't mean anything. Here are the other cities:

City of Madison crime reports through January 26, 2012.

Byram crime reports through January 21, 2012

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Notice anything?

Here is a list of the news articles in the Desoto Times. List Notice anything about it?

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NY Times reports more details on the pardons

The New York Times published a new story on the Barbour pardons last night. Some excerpts:

"Many of those pardoned appear to have no special connections. Others with political ties made persuasive cases that they had led chastened lives and earned a second chance. Applications contained letters from pastors, teachers and counselors attesting to genuine redemption.

Yet in a state with the highest poverty rate in the nation, where nearly 70 percent of convicts are black, official redemption appears to have been attained disproportionately by white people and the well connected. ...

In some of the appeals for clemency, personal connections to Mr. Barbour were unabashedly made. “Maggi and I wanted to begin by thanking you and Marsha for a lovely and special lunch at the Mansion last Tuesday,” began a letter to the governor by a family friend of Doug Hindman, one pardon applicant. “It was very interesting to see the historical quilt upstairs.” ....

Many of the applications contain the type of recommendations that a poor person could be hard-pressed to collect: character references from state legislators or local elected officials. .....

Mr. Bonds pointed out in his own letter that he was the nephew of “one of the largest cotton farmers in Mississippi,” Don Waller, who also wrote a letter on his behalf. Mr. Waller is the brother of William L. Waller, a former governor who died in November.

John Champion, the district attorney, said that knowing Mr. Bonds’s family, “I suspected all along that they were going to attempt to get him a pardon.” He added, “I know that he has political connections...." Rest of article

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday KIM Waaaaaaaaaaade!!!

Yup. Today is KIM Waaaaaaaaaaade's birthday. Best wishes.

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Perverted Justice: The perfect name for the 2006 sting operation.

Same song, second verse. No suspects caught in the 2006 Perverted Justice/NBC sting in Byram and prosecuted in Rankin and Madison counties served a day in jail. JJ reported yesteday none of the suspects prosecuted in Hinds County served a day in jail after posting bond. The suspects caught in the sting were prosecuted in their home counties. Perverted Justice volunteers pose as underage children in internet chat rooms. The suspects then travel to a home to meet who they think is a child. Unfortunately for the suspects, they usually find NBC and a few police officers waiting for them.

Herman Langham, III was charged with cyberstalking on January 4, 2010 in a bill of information. He waived indictment and was represented by Tommy Mayfield, former Ed Peters prosecutor. The case was non-adjudicated. If the defendant meets several conditions, the arrest can be expunged as he was never convicted. Judge Samac Richardson sentenced Mr. Langham to five years of supervised probation.

Kevin Bradley Gilmore was indicted by a Rankin County grand jury in 2007 for exploitation of a child. The indictment states he did

"willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly entice, induce, persuade, seduce, solicit advise coerce and/or order, an undercover operative, who Kevin Bradley Gilmore believed to be a 13 year old female child, utilizing the screen name of Katiekat1393, utilizing a computer located in the residence... and a telephone, to meet him for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct, all within the jurisdiction of this Court and inviolation of Section 97-5-33(6) Mississippi Code..."

Mr. Gilmore was represented by a public defender and pleaded guilty. Rankin County Circuit Judge William Chapman III imposed a suspended fifteen year prison sentence, five years of supervised probation, and a $5,000 fine. He is listed on the Mississippi sex offender registry.

Then here is my personal favorite. Geoffery Simmons. He was indicted by a Madison County grand jury in 2007. The indictment states he did

"willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly entice, induce, persuade, seduce, solicit advice coerce and/or order, an undercover operative, who Geoffery Scott Simmons believed to be a 13 year old female child, utilizing the screen name of Jillianna, to meet him at .... for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct, all within the jurisdiction of this court and in violation of Section 97-5-33(6) Mississippi Code.."

Well, what happens next is Cynthia Stewart enters an appearance as attorney for Mr. Simmons. He pleaded not guilty. Judge Samac Richardson set his bond at only $10,000*, the lowest of any of the reported cases. District Attorney David Clark personally filed a motion to nolle prosequi on December 27, 2007, three days before he left office. A motion to nolle prosequi is the prosecution withdrawing the case. The motion states "the Defendant will become a full-time member of the United States Navy and the interest of justice would be served by dismissing the within charge."

There is no record at the District Attorney or Circuit Clerk's office of two other suspects arrested in the sting, Johnny Chain of Florence and Cuong Ngo of Brandon.

Only one person out of twelve suspects arrested in the sting operation were convicted of exploitation of a child and served time in jail- and he was in Greene County. One was dismissed. One was plea-bargained down to cyberstalking and later pardoned. Two were reduced to cyberstalking but were non-adjudicated and thus never convicted of anything (One was expunged.). Two were convicted of exploitation of a child but received suspended sentences. Two have no record of a prosecution. One had the file returned to the Sheriff for more information (probably something wrong with the arrest itself).*

*Trying to find out what happened to Laurence Morris of Brookhaven. Bonds: Pillow was $25,000 (Hinds), Gilmore was $50,000 (Judge Chapman), Hindman was $50,000 (Hinds)

Earlier posts:
Judge Green expunges Pillow arrest, no other Hinds County pervs go to jail in 2006 sting
The REST of the story on the Hindman case
Check out this pardon




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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Travelstead indicted.

Update: WLBT reported this story last night.

A Hinds County Grand Jury indicted Cameron Travelstead in December 2011. Mr. Travelstead was arrested in February 2010 for possession of child pornography. The defendant was 20 years old at the time of his arrest. He was arrested again this morning in execution of the indictment.

Mr. Travelstead was active in the youth ministry at First Baptist Church and taught the fourth grade class in the AWANA program. Earlier post about Travelstead arrest and connection to FBC. JJ can also report although Mr. Travelstead was arrested in February 2010, the file was not given to the District Attorney until July 2011. The grand jury indicted him on December 8, 2011 (Keep in mind the grand jury only meets every two months.). JJ will post the indictment when it is available. The arrest and indictment has been confirmed with the Hinds County Sheriff's office.

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MDOT freezes all new funding for Southaven

The Commercial Appeal reports MDOT froze all funding for new projects in Southaven until the State Auditor completes his investigation:

"The Mississippi Department of Transportation has frozen funding for all new MDOT projects in Southaven because of the ongoing auditor's investigation into Mayor Greg Davis' spending.

"We are trying to be good stewards of taxpayer money, so until the city gets a clean bill of health from the state auditor's office, the funding will be delayed," said Randy Battey, assistant chief engineer of operations for MDOT." Rest of article

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Judge Green expunges Pillow arrest. No Hinds County pervs go to jail in 2006 NBC sting

Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green expunged an arrest of cyberstalking from the record of David Pillow on January 17, 2012. Mr. Pillow was arrested in 2006 for exploitation of a child in a sting operation conducted by NBC Dateline and the Hinds County Sheriff's office. Hinds County deputies arrested twelve men in the sting. Chat logs JJ also learned none of the four individuals arrested in the sting operation in Hinds County were sentenced to jail.

JJ obtained a copy of the original affidavit that served as the basis for the arrest warrant even though the record has been expunged. The affidavit alleges Mr. Pillow "did knowingly willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, entice and solicit sex from an undercover operative, msbeckyblue, posing as a 12 year female, for the purpose of meeting and engaging in sexually explicit conduct." Investigator Latasha Holmes signed the affidavit on July 12, 2006. The bench warrant issued that day charged Mr. Pillow with "exploitation of a child".

The charge was reduced to cyberstalking on November 27, 2006. The court ordered Mr. Pillow to pay $10,000 in fines and imposed supervised probation for two years as part of nonadjudication. Mr. Pillow's lawyer was Cynthia Stewart. The order to expunge states the case was "nonadjudicated". Nonadjudication is a process where the defendant is conviction is witheld by the judge. If he meets certain conditions, the arrest is removed from his record. Section 99-15-26 of the Mississippi Code

Doug Hindman was also arrested in the same sting operation. Cynthia Stewart represented him as well and managed to get his charge reduced from exploitation of a child to cyberstalking. The court issued the same sentence to Mr. Hindman: $10,000 in fines and suspended a two-year prison term. He was pardoned by Governor Barbour. It should be pointed out that at one time Ms. Stewart and Faye Peterson were prosecutors under then-District Attorney Ed Peters. Earlier post about Hindman pardon. Includes court file and chat logs.

Johnny Oliver Smith was arrested in the sting but his file was sent back to the Sheriff's office for more information. No further action was taken.

Roberto Oropeza-Rosas was arrested and charged with exploitation of a child. He was convicted and received a suspended sentence of ten years. Since he was an illegal alien, he was turned over to the Department of Homeland Security and deported back to Mexico.

Thus, not one single arrest of Hinds County residents made in the Perverted Justice/HCSO sting resulted in anyone serving any time in jail after conviction. None of them appear on a sex offender registry. Then-District Attorney Faye Peterson attempted to explain away the reduction of charges in the Hindman and Pillow cases in an interview with the Jackson Free Press:

"Asked why her office reduced the charge against Hindman, District Attorney Faye Peterson indicated that the law itself was insufficient to convict Hindman of the original charge. "The statute had a defect in it," Peterson said. The flaw was that statute Hindman was charged under required that the "victim" had to be an actual child, not an adult posing as a child.

"We were in uncharted territory," Peterson said.

The Legislature has since amended the statute to correct the flaw, Peterson said, but Hindman was arrested under the previous, flawed law
." Article

Just one problem with this statement. Its not true. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed in 2011 a conviction from the same sting operation, Shaffer v. State of Mississippi. Justin Shaffer was arrested on July 8, 2006 for the same crime thing as Hindman: chatting with someone he thought was a 13-year old who was actually someone working for Perverted Justice. He, like Hindman, went to meet "Chloe" at a home in Byram and was arrested by Hinds County Deputies. He was charged with Exploitation of a Child, the same statute used to charge Doug Hindman, and was convicted in Greene County (HCSO turned the cases over to the perv's home county). The law, the one Faye Peterson said was flawed, stated:

"No person shall, by any means including computer, knowingly entice, induce,
persuade, seduce, solicit, advise, coerce, or order a child to meet with the
defendant or any other person for purpose of engaging in sexually explicit
conduct.
"

Mr. Shaffer appealed, arguing the "victim" was not actually under the age of eighteen. The Court of Appeals agreed, reversed the conviction, imposed a conviction of attempted exploitation, and remanded to the trial court for re-sentencing. Court of Appeals opinion. The Mississippi Supreme Court disagreed with the decision and affirmed the trial court on October 27, 2011. Opinion.

Mr. Shaeffer argued to the Mississippi Supreme Court he could not be guilty of child-exploitation because no child had been involved in the sting." The Court disagreed and said "solicitation is sufficient to violate the statute" and that "the act of solicitation does not require that the thing solicited even exists."

Justice Kitchens dissented, but then gave the prosecution an additional way to convict Mr. Shaeffer: the general attempt statute. Section 97-1-7 of the Mississippi Code states:

"Every person who shall design and endeavor to commit an offense, and shall do any overt act toward the commission thereof, but shall fail therein, or shall be prevented from committing the same, on conviction thereof, shall, where no provision is made by law for the punishment of such offense, be punished as follows: If the offense attempted to be committed be capital, such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding ten years; if the offense attempted be punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, or by fine and imprisonment in the county jail, then the attempt to commit such offense shall be punished for a period or for an amount not greater than is prescribed for the actual commission of the offense so attempted."

Mr. Shaffer is currently serving 25 years in prison. Justin Shaffer's chat logs

JJ is examining the files from those arrested from other counties and will publish the information in a later post. Many of these adjudications were covered by the media several years ago. All of them are now wrapped up and given the recent attention given to the Hindman pardon, its probably not a bad idea to report what happened with all of the other cases. Unfortunately for Hinds County residents, child molesters caught by NBC and law enforcement entered the Faye Peterson catch and release program.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

FOOD FIGHT!!!

NMC criticizes the JFP's coverage of the pardon hearing Monday. Her Laddness shows up in the comments and the fun begins. Link to NMC post. I won't make any comments about the article as here is my coverage. It says all that needs to be said from my side of the aisle. They have their way of covering these events, I have mine. Y'all are perfectly capable of doing your own thinking.

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This can't be good.

Big day for the Clarion-Ledger coming up on February 2.

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Hinds judges recuse themselves, Top court appoints Judge Zebert to hears JJ's motion to intervene

The Mississippi Supreme Court appointed retired Chancellor Thomas Zebert on December 16, 2011 to hear the motion to intervene filed by this website against Motorola and Hinds County. Attorney Curt Crowley filed a motion for recusal on December 8, 2011 in Hinds County Chancery Court on behalf of this website in Motorola v. Hinds County. Jackson Jambalaya filed a motion to intervene on May 24, 2011 seeking a copy of the settlement agreement between Hinds County and Motorola. JJ filed the motion for recusal after numerous efforts to obtain a hearing date from the court were unsuccessful. Judge Zebert adjudicated a similar matter between Hinds County and Motorola two years ago. Post on Hinds/Motorola public records lawsuit

The order states

"This matter is before the Court upon request by the Chancellors... for the appointment of a Special Judge to preside over the preceedings... this request being necessitated by the recusal of the Judges for said Court by virtue of an Order of Recusal executed on December 12, 2011.

Having fully considered this matter, the Court finds that the request is proper pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. Section 9-1-105.

It is therefore ordered and adjudged that Honorable Thomas I. Zebert, Senior Status Judge, be, and he is, hereby specially appointed as Special Judge to preside and conduct proceedings in the above referenced case.."

Earlier post on motion and background of case

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Did another Davis break the law?

JJ reported last week the details of a questionable land deal in Southaven between the city and the Mayor's cousins. Former Senator Doug Davis and Chancery Clerk W.E. Davis are members of an LLC that is selling a ten-acre tract of land to the city for $1.9 million. The land was assessed at only $315,300 in 2006 and a deed of trust was issued on the property by the LLC in 2005 for $200,000. Earlier post

JJ pointed out Saturday the former Senator never disclosed on his statement of economic interest his membership in the LLC as required by law. Failure to disclose such ownership is punishable by a $10,000 fine per violation. The Senator did not disclose his ownership in his 2009 filing. JJ reviewed the statements for W.E. Davis and discovered Mr. Davis did not disclose his ownership in EADS LLC in 2009 as required by law although his filings in 2010 and 2011 do show his membership. The Secretary of State's website states Mr. Davis has been a member of the LLC since 2006.



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Monday, January 23, 2012

Judge Green to Jim Hood: Ten more days (Complete video of hearing)

Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green extended the temporary restraining order* granted to Attorney General Jim Hood another ten days and required ten inmates now free to call in every day. Judge Green issued the tro on January 11 blocking the state from releasing any convicted felons pardoned by Governor Barbour. The Attorney General asked Judge Green to invalidate most of the pardons granted by former Governor Barbour. Judge Green set the next hearing on February 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM.

The courtroom was a who's who of the top defense lawyer in Mississippi. Ed Blackmon, Bill Kirksey, John Collette, Cynthia Stewart, Jane Tucker, Tom Fortner, and more were all there. Lobbyists crowded the audience, unable to resist the political drama Haley's pardons created as a horde of deputies kept order. Ironically the safest place in Jackson at 3:00 PM today was Judge Green's courtroom.

The hearing began with Tom Fortner telling the court he represented Nathan Kern, Anthony McCray, David Gatlin, and Charles Hooker. All were pardoned by Governor Barbour and the subject of Jim Hood's motion. Judge Green surprised the courtroom by telling Mr. Fortner he had not notified the court he was representing them. Mr. Fortner informed the court he had filed notice with the circuit clerk on January 20 and emailed a copy to Judge Green's adiminstrator. Didn't matter. Judge Green rebuked him "Counsel, that is not the way you serve the court is by email not to a court administrator. She's not here. So may I have a copy of what you allegedly filed?" Apparently filing notices and motions with the circuit clerk is not considered a proper court filing in Judge Green's courtroom. One prominent defense lawyer said after the hearing the new rule is to serve Judge Green no matter where she is, even if out eating dinner.

Mr. Fortner had filed a motion asking the court to transfer the case back to Judge Weill, claiming Judge Green had removed the case after it was randomly assigned to junior circuit judge. Mr. Fortner also alleged the Attorney General had a conflict of interest, claiming AG lawyers helped prepare the notices and processed the pardon applications and later suing their own client- the Governor.

The lawyer for the Attorney General addressed the court (5:00 clip 1). Although four pardonees appeared in court, Joseph Ozment did not appear and the AG said he had not been found. The AG sought to amend the motion to block the pardons by adding five more convicts: Kirby Glenn Tate, Aaron Brown, Joshua Howard, Azikiwe Kambule, and Katharine Robinson. These individuals were John Does in the original motion. Judge Green allowed the amendment. Sylvia Owen (rep. Tate), Cynthia Stewart, and Ed Blackmon objected to no avail. Ed Blackmon told the court he had a hearing for habeas corpus on Thursday in Yazoo City. Ms. Owen said the same thing about her client but in Sunflower County. Both challenged the jurisdiction of the court but again did so in vain.

Judge Green again took it upon herself to lecture the attorneys present(24:50 of clip 1): "All of you know how to practice law. And I would expect this court to listen to what you have to say and talk through the motions, and those motions have to be proffered before the court. Now I am good, but I am not so good (FIGJAM)that you can come the day of the hearing and start throwing motions in baskets, the day before the hearing through emails. This hearing was conducted on the 9th, we are now on the 23rd, with everyone having an opporotunity that if everyone wanted the court to consider their motions, they would have properly done so. I have allowed the amendments to the original complaint..."

Judge Green later said the case was a "simple issue" (7:45 of clip 3). The issue is whether the constitution has been complied with. It is my understanding that the only persons who will be addressed are persons who are fully and completely pardons. The hearing today was for those persons who were ordered to appear.... The only question before this court is whether the conditions for felony conviction and publication has been met. It doesn't change with which circuit judge hears the case... It will not become a case about this judge..."

Mr. Fortner raised the issue of whether a conflict of interest existed (18:20 in clip 3). Mr. Fortner pointed out in his brief the AG advised MDOC and participated in the publication of the notices, arguing the AG "assumed responsibility to publish them in the first place." He compared it to a law firm representing both sides of a dispute. The AG called it a "thinly veiled attempt" to divert the court's attention. The AG said each lawyer assigned to an agency represented that agency, not the AG. Judge Green rejected Fortner's argument and said the responsibility for publishing the notice rested with the "applicant" and that the Attorney General is "authorized to raise ANY issues of constitutionality". She further told Mr. Fortner his motion was "without merit".

Here are the tweets from the hearing as it took place.. Note: Governor Barbour's lawyer filed an amicus curiae brief.

*Rule 65(b) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil procedure state: "A temporary restraining order may be granted, without notice to the adverse party or his attorney if (1) it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit or by the verified complaint that immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage will result to the applicant before the adverse party or his attorney can be heard in opposition, and (2) the applicant's attorney certifies to the court in writing the efforts, if any, which have been made to give the notice and reasons supporting his claim that notice should not be required. Every temporary restraining order granted without notice shall be endorsed with the date and hour of issuance; shall be filed forthwith in the clerk's office and entered of record; shall define the injury and state why it is irreparable and why the order was granted without notice; and shall expire by its terms within such time after entry, not to exceed ten days, as the court fixes (except in domestic relations cases, when the ten-day limitation shall not apply), unless within the time so fixed the order for good cause shown is extended for a like period"

Judge Green issued the original order without notice to several parties as allowed by the rule and they only had ten days to file anything. The AG complaining it didn't have time to read these when it was the one who asked for the emergency TRO was rich.

Watch the first five minutes of the first one. Tells you all you need to know about how the hearing went.



Part 2. Judge Green schedules hearing on Feb. 3. Watch exchange between Judge Green and Fortner.


Part 3.


Part 4.


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Save this mutt.

UPDATE: THANKS. She found a home and its one of the readers of this site. So thank you. Those of you that responded, I forwarded all of your emails to the foster mom, who is a vet student at MSU. Y'all came through, good job.

OK folks, save this boxer. 8 month old, female, purebred Boxer needs a new home! She is neglected, so lacks manners, still a baby. Email me at kingfish1935@gmail.com if interested. She will be spayed before adoption.

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Did Jim Hood think before he started suing?

Attorney Tom Fortner filed two motions to dismiss Jim Hood's challenge to Haley's pardons. It seems Jim Hood's lawyers advised Haley on how to proceed with the pardons and thus might have a conflict of interest.

NMC had a good post on this matter yesterday and managed to obtain copies of the two motions. Good reading. Funny how Judge Tomie Green yanked the case from Jeff Weill, who received the case via random assignment. NMC's post. There is also a good discussion in the comments.

My two cents: Fortner raises good points. This is what happens when the AG handles the legal matters for all other state agencies. Hood can't tell them how to do it, process part of the paperwork, then challenge in court when he was part of the process. If Green upholds Hood's challenge, don't be surprised if Hood loses on the appeal.

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Latest meeting of Madison BOS.

Here is the video of the latest meeting of the Madison County BOS. Interesting they suddenly have a $1.4 million deficit. Well, when you are blowing over $20,000 a month on a lawyer, millions on engineering fees, nearly a hundred thousand dollars of year on a lobbyist, it should not come as a surprise that they are running out of money. Article





Rezoning discussion on Livingston Township


Rezoning discussion continued


same


Discussion of Grenada Railway Line



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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sure hate it when this happens

From Reunion last week:




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WLBT: Harvey announces his opposition to Byram-Clinton corridor

WLBT followed up a report on JJ last week about Mayor Harvey Johnson's opposition to the Byram-Clinton corridor project. The county has already purchased land, rights of way, started construction, and spent $6 million of $33 million obtained in federal grants. Project has been on the board since 1993 so Harvey has had 2 1/2 terms to let everyone know he is against the project, which he has not done.

Now Harvey starts screaming he is against the project and wants to reroute it through Jackson. Of course, Harvey leaves out the fact Hinds County would have to repay the money to the federal government and then reapply for grant money for the new route. Ah, that must be it, the county is actually doing something and not planning it to death or making excuses so voila, Harvey is suddenly against it. Here is the video of Cheryl's story:




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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sweetheart deals in Southaven? (UPDATED)













Updated with GIS map and tax assessment information.

The Southaven Board of Aldermen voted 4-2 on December 6, 2011 to purchase a ten-acre tract of land from EADS LLC for $1.9 million to construct a Senior Citizen Center. Just one little problem with the transaction- the Mayor's two cousins, Desoto County Chancery Clerk E.A. "Sluggo" Davis and his son, former State Senator Doug Davis, are the sellers. The minutes state:

"Next, Mayor Davis reported on the real estate contract to purchase the 10 acres for the Senior Adult Building and Park Expansion, north of Fire Station 4 on Getwell. The price is $1.95 million dollars. The appraisal came in at $2.6 million dollars. He stated that he recommends that the City go ahead and enter into an agreement to purchase this land. Alderman Guy made the motion to sign the contract to purchase the 10 acres of land. Motion was seconded by Alderman Huling. Mayor Davis opened the floor for discussion. Mayor Davis reported that the contract calls to close the deal sometime mid next year (2012)." Minutes

The minutes are silent on the identity of the seller but the Commercial Appeal reported:

"Aldermen voted 4-2 Tuesday evening to approve a contract to buy 10 acres for $1.9 million from EADS LLC, a Hernando-based limited-liability company of which DeSoto County Chancery Court Clerk W. E. "Sluggo" Davis is an officer/director, according to public records.

Davis is a cousin of Southaven Mayor Greg Davis, but the mayor said by e-mail that he didn't know if his cousin was involved in the company's operation, adding that he felt it wasn't a conflict of interest since the mayor did not vote on the matter." Article

It should be pointed out the Mayor did not recuse himself from the discussion of the purchase but instead recommended the purchase. Longtime readers of this blog know what happened next: The Kingfish checked the land records. Needless to say, the transactions surrounding this particular tract of land contain some troubling details.

W.E. Davis and Alvin Gilless purchased the land on April 26, 2005 from Billy Todd Homes. The warranty deed does not mention the true purchase price but the partners issued a deed of trust to Billy Todd Homes for $200,000 on the same day. The loan was paid off and satisfied two years later. Davis, Gillis, and the other partners transferred the land to EADS, LLC on January 12, 2006. The settlement statement for the transaction will reveal the true purchase price EADS LLC paid for the property. The Desoto Tax Assessor's website states the appraised value of the property is $315,300.

These documents and the Secretary of State's office do not list Doug Davis as a member of EADS LLC. However, a deed showing a transfer of another tract of land from EADS, LLC to W.E. Davis on February 7, 2008 lists five members of the LLC and their signatures: Alvin Gilless, A. Edward Gilless, Angela G. Campbell, W.E. Davis, and Douglas E. Davis (the former Senator). The deed states each one is a "member". The former Senator did not mention any ownership or connection to EADS LLC in his statement of economic interest he is required to file with the Ethics Commission each year he was in office. Failure to list such ownership, if it indeed exists, is punishable by a $10,000 fine.

Editorial Comment: That was the news, now for the opinion. The media, the State Auditor, and even the FBI are apparently no deterrence to this out of control Mayor. It is simply mind-boggling Mayor Davis would even think of completing this transaction after the disgrace he brought to the City of Southaven and himself. At a minimum, the Mayor should have recused himself from any discussion of purchasing land from his cousins. Unfortunately for Southaven residents, Mr. Davis's moral compass disappeared in Canada as he repeatedly proves himself unfit for office.

Then there is the transaction itself. Odds are EADS LLC purchased the land for $200,000. However, in the middle of a real estate bust, the Davis family expects us to believe the land somehow appreciated up to 1,000% in five years. Yes, there is an appraisal for $2.6 million but appraisals are not exactly hard to manipulate- if one is so inclined. It is also a little unusual for the assessed value to be 16% of the sales price or 12% of the appraised value.

What is more troubling is not one single member of the Board of Alderman thought there was anything wrong with purchasing land from the Mayor's cousins nor did they ask to see the settlement statement when EADS LLC or the original partners purchased the land. Apparently it is too much to ask for the city attorney to perform an actual title search.

The Auditor and FBI should expand their investigation from sex toys and gay sex shops to sweetheart land deals with family members as the corruption of Mayor Greg Davis is unfortunately not an isolated gene in the Davis family. As a chancery clerk and former senator, the other Davis's are certainly familiar with terms such as "conflict of interest" and appearance of impropriety". One can only imagine how many other landmines the Davis family has set for Southaven.





Davis listed as member of LLC:


Sale of land to Davis & Gilless from Billy Todd Homes in 2005


Deed of trust for $200,000


Transfer of 10 acre tract from partners to EADS LLC


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The list is out!!!

Speaker Phillip Gunn announced his committee assignments today. Fairly diverse group and there were a few surprises. Here it is. Enjoy.


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Energy & natural gas

CNBC's Jim Cramer, yes, Jim Cramer, has an interesting discussion on the United States becoming an energy exporter and the rest of our energy policy:




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Thursday, January 19, 2012

We need a laugh

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The REST of the story on the Hindman prosecution.

The record will read Governor Haley Barbour pardoned Douglas Hindman for cyberstalking. However, there is more to the record than just this pardon or the conviction. Mr. Hindman was busted in a sting operation back in 2006 for trying to meet a 13-year old girl for the purpose of having sex. JJ reviewed the file and found some more interesting details about the case. The file is posted below. Earlier post, chat logs, WLBT 2007 story

Mr. Hindman was indicted on February 8, 2007 for the charge of "exploitation of a child". The indictment states that during the week of July 7, 2006, he

"wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously by any means including computer knowingly entice, induce, persuade, seduce, solicit, coerce, or order an undercover operative posing as a child to meet with the said Douglas Hunter Hindman or any other person, for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of Section 97-5-33, Mississippi Code of 1972".

Assistant District Attorney Allyson Nelson signed the indictment. Mr. Hindman paid a $50,000 bond and was represented by Joe Holloman. Judge Swan Yerger adjudicated the case. The charge was reduced to cyberstalking in a plea bargain. The plea bargain Mr. Hindman signed imposed a $5,000 fine, a suspended jail sentence of two years, and a probation term of five years.

What are the difference between the two charges since they are both felonies? The law states anyone found guilty of exploitation of a child is a felon "and upon conviction shall pay a fine of not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) and shall be imprisoned for not less than two (2) years nor more than twenty (20) years. Then there is the matter of the convict having to register as a sex offender. Cyberstalking carries a much weaker penalty: fine less than $5,000 and/or prison sentence less than two years.

There is one little fact I have not published yet: the prosecutor who agreed to this plea bargain. Rebecca Mansell. Yup. The same one that has been reversed five times by the Mississippi Supreme Court for um, "prosecutorial misconduct" as one commenter called it on this website.* The same prosecutor that carried Tim Johnson's lunch bucket in Madison County and prosecuted the whistleblower of the bogus charity (Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi) with which he was connected. Frankly, I said it she was the prosecutor before I even looked at this file and sure enough, I was right. The probation period was terminated when it was only 50% completed.

Then-District Attorney Faye Peterson defended the plea bargain and her prosecutors in a 2007 interview with the Jackson Free Press:

"One of the men caught in the sting, 32-year-old Douglas Hindman of Jackson, attempted to flee the house when he spotted a deputy outside. Deputies arrested him a few blocks away. Originally charged with felony child exploitation, Hindman eventually pled guilty to cyber stalking, a felony that is not a sexual crime, and is currently on five years' probation. As part of the plea agreement, Hindman's two-year sentence was suspended, he had to pay a $5,000 fine, and another $5,000 to a crime-victims unit. With no sex-crime record, Hindman, son of a prominent Jackson family, does not have to register as a sex offender.

Asked why her office reduced the charge against Hindman, District Attorney Faye Peterson indicated that the law itself was insufficient to convict Hindman of the original charge. "The statute had a defect in it," Peterson said. The flaw was that statute Hindman was charged under required that the "victim" had to be an actual child, not an adult posing as a child.

"We were in uncharted territory," Peterson said.

The Legislature has since amended the statute to correct the flaw, Peterson said, but Hindman was arrested under the previous, flawed law
." Article

Just one problem. The former District Attorney was um, slightly in error. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed in 2011 a conviction from the same sting operation, Shaffer v. State of Mississippi. Justin Shaffer was arrested on July 8, 2006 for the same crime thing as Hindman: chatting with someone he thought was a 13-year old who was actually someone working for Perverted Justice. He, like Hindman, went to meet "Chloe" at a home in Byram and was arrested by Hinds County Deputies. He was charged with Exploitation of a Child, the same statute used to charge Doug Hindman, and was convicted in Greene County (HCSO turned the cases over to the perv's home county). The law, the one Faye Peterson said was flawed, stated:

"No person shall, by any means including computer, knowingly entice, induce,
persuade, seduce, solicit, advise, coerce, or order a child to meet with the
defendant or any other person for purpose of engaging in sexually explicit
conduct.
"

Mr. Shaffer appealed, arguing the "victim" was not actually under the age of eighteen. The Court of Appeals agreed, reversed the conviction, imposed a conviction of attempted exploitation, and remanded to the trial court for resentencing. Court of Appeals opinion.
The Mississippi Supreme Court disagreed with the decision and affirmed the trial court on October 27, 2011. Opinion.

Mr. Shaeffer argued to the Mississippi Supreme Court he could not be guilty of child-exploitation because no child had been involved in the sting." The Court disagreed and said "solicitation is sufficient to violate the statute" and that "the act of solicitation does not require that the thing solicited even exists."

Justice Kitchens dissented, but then gave the prosecution an additional way to convict Mr. Shaeffer: the general attempt statute. Section 97-1-7 of the Mississippi Code states:

"Every person who shall design and endeavor to commit an offense, and shall do any overt act toward the commission thereof, but shall fail therein, or shall be prevented from committing the same, on conviction thereof, shall, where no provision is made by law for the punishment of such offense, be punished as follows: If the offense attempted to be committed be capital, such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding ten years; if the offense attempted be punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, or by fine and imprisonment in the county jail, then the attempt to commit such offense shall be punished for a period or for an amount not greater than is prescribed for the actual commission of the offense so attempted."

Editorial comment: Faye Peterson and Rebecca Mansell could have prosecuted Mr. Hindman under the general attempt statute if the exploitation of a child statue was flawed and would have prevented a prosecution of Mr. Hindman. The fact remains, the law, as determined last year by the Mississippi Supreme Court would have still allowed for the prosecution of Mr. Hindman for trying to exploit a child. Pretty sad that Greene County knew the law better than Hinds County at the time. Perhaps Ms. Peterson and her lackey can explain to their cheerleaders at the JFP why they let someone like Mr. Hindman off of the hook instead of prosecuting him to the furthest extent of the law. This case is simply disgusting from start to finish.








*Davis v. State, 970 So.2d 164, 171-72 (Miss.App. 2006)
Bailey v. State, 952 So.2d 225, 234-35 (Miss.App. 2006)
King v. State, 994 So.2d 890 (Miss.App. 2008)
McGee v. State, 953 So.2d 241 (Miss.App. 2005) aff’d 953 So.2d 211 (Miss. 2007)
Thomas v. State, 19 So.3d 130 (Miss. App. 2009)

Note: A message has been left with MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps about this file as the probation period was terminated after 50% was completed.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Remembering Stuart Irby

Local filmmaker Amile Wilson penned this memorial of Stuart Irby.

The city of Jackson lost a great friend in Stuart Irby. For the last few years Stuart has struggled living in the foggy haze of brain damage. There is a certain torment that comes from living in this fog and an even deeper one knowing that you're living in it. Stuart is finally at rest.

Whatever has happened in the past few months or years, Stuart was a major asset to Jackson who has supported and preserved not only hundreds (possibly thousands) of jobs for Mississippians but whose generosity knew few bounds. The Symphony, theatre, art, Belhaven University, his church and most recognizable non-profits throughout the community benefited greatly from his charity. Hundreds of thousands of dollars supported the arts, education, medical research, and community development - all at the hands of Stuart.

No matter what your career, your hobby, or your social status, odds are that if you are a Jackson resident, you, someone you care about, or some cause near and dear to your heart was aided (sometimes entirely funded) by Stuart. His loss is truly a loss to the community and we all owe him a debt.

Stuart was a personal friend and his family has been an integral part of my life since grade school. The personal support of Stuart and his brother Charles has unquestionably helped me get to where I am today. Stuart's generosity will always be remembered.

Now the best thing we can do is remember the legacy of charity and culture that he left behind, pray for children who have suffered much already and now face the loss of their father, and pray for our community which has lost one of it's greatest benefactors and supporters.

Amile Wilson

There are no new details about this tragedy. Visitation is tomorrow from 4-8 at Wright & Ferguson. The funeral will be a private ceremony. Any similar memorials will be posted if anyone wishes to submit them. I have updated the page for all Irby posts. KF

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Harvey trying to kill Byram-Clinton corridor project. Meanwhile Peggy nails it.

Watch the video posted below. Supervisor Peggy Hobson-Calhoun makes a good speech about how Mayor Johnson is trying to harm economic development in Hinds County and mentions the crime problems and yes, "black flight" in Jackson.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson is trying to stop the Byram-Clinton corridor project. The project is a creation of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors and has been in the works for nearly twenty years. The project will create a corridor much like Highland Colony Parkway from I-55 to I-20. The road will pass through Byram, Clinton, and Bolton. Hinds County has received $33 million in grants for the project and spent approximately $6 million from the grants.

Supervisors Kenneth Stokes and Peggy Hobson-Calhoun mentioned a recent meeting with Mayor Johnson at the regular session of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors yesterday. Kenneth Stokes acted as Harvey's mouthpiece and opposed the project. Supervisor Hobson-Calhoun defended the project in a ten minute speech yesterday and said Mayor Johnson said he would get a petition signed by 1,500 voters to force a bond vote if any bonds were issued to fund the project. She also said he had a "long list of objections" to the project. Sources informed this correspondent Mayor Johnson wants the project rerouted through Jackson and that the Mayor sees the projects as a competitor of the Highway 80 revitalization project.





Here is the unedited video. Phil has a few things to say about Mayor Johnson at 9:30. Stokes at 13:00 starts talking about Mayor Harvey trying to kill project and make compromises with Jackson.


Editorial comment: This is Harvey Johnson at his absolute worst. This project has been in the works for nearly twenty years. Harvey knew about this project yet waited until grants were awarded and constructed started to announce his opposition. The Mayor economic paranoia sees Hinds County the same as he sees Madison and Rankin: competitors that are not competitors but the enemy. The project is a good chance to develop a good part of Hinds County but the Mayor apparently only thinks Jackson should enjoy any economic development. Perhaps the county should remind the Mayor who houses his criminals and provides a few other services he likes to enjoy at the county's expense. The Mayor is extremely short-sighted and would rather destroy Hinds County than see it succeed if it meant Hinds went down the tubes with Jackson. Keep in mind if Hinds reroutes the project to go through Jackson, it probably loses all funding and has to reapply.

Did not see this story covered in ANY of the local media- mainstream or alternative. Of course, that would have meant portraying Harvey in a negative light.




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Farewell to Stuart Irby.

By now you've all heard the news. Stuart M. Irby, Sr. hanged himself Tuesday night. Frankly I don't know what to say or where to start. There are some people really hurting right now. Siblings lost their brother. A little boy lost his father and another son and daughter lost their father as well. Stuart fought his demons for years and suffered brain damage in that horrific accident. One hoped last week's events would be the last chapter written for some time but unfortunately, such was not to be. Pray for his family and friends as they deal with this loss. I don't have much else to say as I'm pretty floored by the news tonight.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stuart Irby Found Dead

Initial reports state suicide by hanging. Details to follow.

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Remembering the war

Since our state, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to honor Robert E. Lee yesterday, here is a video of the reunion of Union and Confederate soldiers 50 years after the end of The War.




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It's now official

From MDOC's website:

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Phase II is almost here.

Forgot to add to my last Hinds County post that Hinds is almost ready to go live with Phase II E911 service. Hinds County has completed all mapping and provided the necessary information to ATT (the vendor). Phase II allows 911 service to use GPS to locate your cellphone if you call 911 on your cellphone and can't give directions. Half of Mississippi counties already provide the service. It should be operational in Hinds County any week now.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Tomorrow night it starts: SPAMALOT!!!




This post is a paid advertisement.

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Latest from House Management Committee (Video)

The House Management Committee met again last week to begin reviewing and revising policies of the House of Representatives. The committee approved the hiring of Nathan Wells as Policy Director for the Speaker, Andrew Ketchings as Clerk, and Ed Perry as an extra clerk on a temporary basis. Earlier post with video No important decisions after the hiring decisions but several important updates were provided.

JJ is covering this committee during the session to provide you with an in-depth look at what is truly a first in Mississippi history: the transition of the House from Democrat to Republican control. Most of this is inside baseball for the politicos and the lobbyists. Enjoy.

Clip 2: The committee reviews the travel policy. The House suspended all travel by members and employees in May 2010 due to budget shortfalls. The committee will likely return to the old policy. Several members said it was a good policy but had been ignored by previous leadership. The old policy was trips had to be approved by the Speaker or Pro-Tem and each member was limited to $1,200 in expenses per year. The committee did not vote on it at this meeting but the comments make it clear to see that is where it is going.



Part 3. I skipped over the office space discussion. That was over an hour long. Discussion of sexual harassment policies. Yup, The committee appointed a three-person subcommittee to review and update the House's sexual harassment policies. Needless to say, the subcommittee is probably going to recommend sexual harassment training for all members and employees (keep the jokes to yourself, please) as well as updating the policy. Speaker Pro-Tem Snowden said it was "overdue".


4:00. Discussion begins on employees. Funny part is when Representative Bennett mentions how they met employees who didn't even know who their supervisors were. He said he would then ask them "well, who do you call when you are sick? They would say 'I don't know'". Very interesting.



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New section on PERS

Here is the link to the PERS section. I collected all post on PERS and put them on one page so you could avoid the search engine demons. Enjoy.

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And the Democrats try to tie it to pardons.

The Democrats just issued the following press release calling the bill to limit attorney's fees a retaliatory measure against Attorney General Jim Hood:

"Jackson, MS- In response to Attorney General Jim Hood’s efforts to stop former Gov. Haley Barbour’s release of over 200 Mississippi felons, including murderers, rapists and child sex offenders, a Republican senator has introduced a barrage of retaliatory legislation.

On Friday, two days after Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green temporarily blocked the pardons of 21 current and former inmates at the request of Hood, Senator Joey Fillingane (R-Sumrall) introduced Senate Bills 2084 and 2102, bills aimed at limiting the powers of the Attorney General to hire outside legal counsel to prosecute complex claims on behalf of the State.

“This retaliatory stunt couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Rep. Bob Evans (D-Monticello). “At this moment, General Hood is working to recover tens of millions owed to the state’s retirement system, now is not the time to tie his hands.”

Democrats say S. B. 2084 and 2102 are aimed at keeping the Attorney General’s Office from recovering taxpayer money for egregious acts against the State. During his most recent term of office, Hood recovered over $500 million on behalf of Mississippi taxpayers in civil litigation that didn’t cost taxpayers a dime.

At issue is the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office’s ability to contract with outside counsel to represent the state for costly recovery actions. The practice has been the target of United States Chamber of Commerce funded entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council for almost a decade. Fillingane, like a number of his Republican colleagues, is a member of ALEC.

“We were able to kill these efforts in the House during the last term,” Evans said. “But the Republicans are determined to make sure Jim Hood is blocked from making their big business cronies pay when they do bad things to the State of Mississippi.”

Ironically, Fillingane, as former Chair of the Senate Judiciary A Committee, killed at least three bills that would have provided “sunshine” on the Mississippi pardon system now under scrutiny by news outlets nation-wide.

Evans said, "This is simple retaliation against the only statewide official who has taken action to protect Mississippians from Republican recklessness.” Evans added, “Senator Fillingane failed Mississippi victims and families when he killed these bills before. We can’t afford to let him compound the problem by grounding our chief law enforcement officer.”

PRESS NOTES:

S.B. 2739 in 2009; S.B. 2130 and 2170 in 2010; S.B. 2118 in 2011 were killed in the Fillingane Committee.

As a private attorney, Fillingane urged the Miss. Supreme Court to allow a felon convicted of robbery and drug sale to be allowed visitation of his child, over the unwed mother’s objection in Christian v. Wheat, 876 So.2d 341 (Miss. 2004). The Court rejected his plea.

For more information on ALEC:
http://www.thenation.com/article/161978/alec-exposed
www.alecexposed.org
www.alec.org


Editorial comment: Um, 5% of $30 million is...... $1.5 million, exclusive of costs. Please, send some of that retaliation my way. And the attorneys are limited to FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS in fees EXCLUSIVE of costs. Dammit, I want some retaliation.

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Bill to limit outside attorney's fees filed.

Republican Senator Joey Fillingange didn't waste any time filing a bill to change the way Jim Hood does business. SB#2102 will place limits on the fees attorneys can receive in contingency fee contracts with the state. Current law does not place any limits on attorney's fees in such suits. Section 1(c)provides the proposed guidelines:

1. 25% of any portion of a recovery not exceeding $10 Million PLUS
2. 20% of any portion of a recovery between $10 million & $15 million PLUS
3. 15% of any portion of a recovery between $15 million & $20 million PLUS
4. 10% of any recovery between $20 million and $25 million PLUS
5. 5% of any recover over $25 million.

The bill also limits the fees to $50 million excluding actual and reasonable costs and regardless of the number of attorneys involved in the litigation.
The bill mandates a government attorney "with supervisory capacity shall be personally involved in overseeing the litigation" and will have veto power over any decisions made by "outside counsel". Copies of the contracts between the private attorneys and the A.G. shall be posted on the his website within five days after the contract is executed. Payments of contingency fees would be posted on the website within 15 days after payment as well.

The bill has been referred to Senate Judiciary "Committee".

Editorial comment: This bill is high on the list of Republican objectives and its no surprise this bill was filed on the first day. This bill will probably move like a freight train through the Legislature to the Governor's desk.



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Sunday, January 15, 2012

No comment.

This video was taken right before the first meeting of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors this year.



The Supervisor is Kenneth Stokes. It was his first meeting as a Supervisor. The gentleman speaking to him is Jamie Travis, Airwave's attorney. Mr. Travis didn't waste any time rushing up to Mr. Stokes and introducing himself before the meeting. Found it amusing was all.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Looks like paywalls are coming to the Clarion-Ledger

Jim Romenesko published on his blog an email providing details on Gannett's plans to move its content behind a paywall:

"A reader who forwarded this Gannett document emails: “Below are some details about Gannett’s paywall. Our publisher told us we’ll be rolling one out in the coming months.”

From: xxxx
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012
To: xxxxx
Subject: Consumer FAQ

Attached is the Consumer FAQ. This should be used to address questions you receive from the marketplace regarding the new subscription model. Please let me know if there are questions that come up that are not addressed in this document.

Thanks for your patience.

Mike

New Subscription Model
FAQ for Consumers

Beginning February 1, we will implement a new subscription model. Subscribers will have access to all of our content. That means you will be able to access our content where and how you want it — through all platforms, including web, mobile, smart phone, tablet and delivery of the print on the days you select.

If you choose not to subscribe, digital access will be limited to a small number of articles a month.

Why are you making this change?
Today, readers access our unique, high quality local content in a number of ways. This full access subscription model creates a structure to allow readers to choose how to read our news and information.

In conjunction with this effort, we are also investing in the unique local content we deliver across all platforms including tablet, mobile, and new technologies as they come to market.

What are the benefits of this new full access model?
Subscribers can access content anywhere and anytime using digital platforms. The content accessed through the Web, mobile, and tablet will be frequently updated and will provide coverage of breaking news and events through articles and photos as well as provide content that cannot be included in print, such as databases, streaming video, blogs and chats. The subscription pricing is aligned with content value. Unlike in the past, subscriptions remain active during vacation periods. You will be able to continue accessing the content while traveling, including viewing a digital replica of the print edition. If the subscription also includes home delivery of the newspaper, you will be credited a portion of the subscription which relates to the delivery expense for the print edition..." Rest of email and post

Gannett has NOT announced any such plans for the Clarion-Ledger BUT it doesn't take a genius to see where this is going. I can't say I have a problem with this as I thought it was a big mistake for the newspaper to give away its content for free online while it tried to make money off the increasingly obsolete model of print copy.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Homeward bound

Updated: Its now official on MDOC's website

Karen Irby is now home. Let the feeding frenzy begin.

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House hires Policy Director & cuts Pro-Tem's pay. (Video)

The House Management Committee voted unanimously yesterday to hire a House Clerk, Policy Director for the Speaker, and on a temporary basis a former clerk to assist in the transition.

The committee voted to pay Andrew Ketchings an annual salary of $112,500. Speaker Pro-Tem said the salary would be approximately $30,000 less than the salary of his predecessor, Don Richardson. Speaker Philip Gunn said the compensation was based upon his salary at the Department of Banking and Finance. The committee set the Speaker Pro-Tem's salary at $15,000 per year. The previous Pro-Tem, Representative J.P. Compretta was paid $90,000 per year.

The committee also voted to hire former clerk Ed Perry to assist Mr. Ketchings in the transition at a rate of $2,300 per week for a period up to two months. Speaker Gunn said the sixty day period was a maximum and Mr. Perry's duty could be less than the sixty days. The maximum compensation would be nearly $20,000. The Speaker pointed out the savings from the new comp plan for the clerk was for four years. If the projections are accurate, the House would save $110,000 over four years even with Mr. Perry's employment. The

The committee then voted unanimously to hire Nathan Wells as policy director at an annual salary of $110,000. Representative Bennett said it would "take the partisanship out of the clerk's job". Speaker Gunn said the previous clerk had a dual capacity as he would "assign bills" and then "advise the Speaker" and thus was seen as being "tied in to the Speaker." Speaker Gunn said Mr. Ketchings needed to be a clerk for "everybody...He needs to run the clerk's office and that is part of the justification for reducing the clerk's salary." Mr. Wells duties will include advising the Speaker, formulating policy, and acting as a liaison to Representatives. It was also pointed out by several committee members the Lieutenant Governor and Governor both have policy directors. No Democrats spoke against the employment of Mr. Wells. It was also pointed out the House was paying a consultant in past terms to perform these duties at a rate of $60 per hour.

Relevant points in clip: 7:39: Discussion of clerk's salary. 9:00: Discussion of hiring of Mr. Perry. 17:00: Discussion of hiring of policy director. Its a pretty good discussion and will give you a better idea than what has been reported by the media of why Mr. Wells was hired.



Editorial comment: Over at Democrat mouthpiece Cottonmouth blog, Mr. Cottonmouth curiously omits the fact the Democrats voted for this hire and the House was paying a consultant $60 per hour. he also says Speaker Gunn hired Mr. Wells although it was the Republicans AND Democrats who hired him.The House was also paying the Pro-Tem $90,000 a year for the last term as well. Don't see Cottonmouth saying anything about that. Anyone surprised? Such is par for the course over there.

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CNBC Food Fight!!!

Santelli: Give me a $2 calculator and I'll take on your 1,000 economists. Here is the video.



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Democrats call for shortened session

The newly-formed Democratic Trust sent out the following press release yesterday:

Jackson, MS- Brandon Jones, chairman of the newly formed Mississippi Democratic Trust, is recommending a cost saving proposal for the Mississippi Legislature.

In conferences with legislators, Jones has urged support for shortening the legislative session. Jones said, “During this budget crisis, it is important that lawmakers be more accountable than ever. Shortening the legislative session by ninety days would create an estimated $825,000 in cost savings that Mississippi needs for other critical programs.” Jones continued, “We are calling on the leadership in both chambers to make an immediate declaration to shorten the session and save taxpayer dollars.”

On November 8, 2007, then Lt. Governor Phil Bryant called on colleagues to shorten the 125 day session by 35 days to save an estimated $825,000. On January 10, 2008, Governor Haley Barbour and Senate President Pro Tempore Billy Hewes joined in the call for a shortened session. The resolution that eventually passed the Senate instead shortened the session to 104 days. The savings were estimated to be $500,000, according to Senator Hewes.

In an April 27, 2011 press release, Lt. Gov. Bryant reiterated his pledge as follows:

“In preparation for the next 120-day legislative session, the legislature did receive 9% more to cover the costs of the longer session. Just as I did four years ago, I would recommend to the new Legislature shortening the session to 90 days, thereby saving additional money to the taxpayer."

###

The Mississippi Democratic Trust seeks to help elect Democratic candidates who will provide sensible and responsible leadership for Mississippi. The Trust supports effective policies to address legitimate economic, education, healthcare, and public safety issues in our State.

Brandon Jones, Chairman
Mississippi Democratic Trust
"

Editorial comment
: Hmmm.... I don't recall Mr. Jones calling for shortened sessions when he was drawing a paycheck as a member of the legislature.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.