Monday, February 18, 2013

Hood withdraws indictment in Quitman County

A circuit judge dismissed an indictment against the Quitman County Circuit Clerk and Deputy Circuit Clerk after Attorney General Jim Hood asked the court to do so in a motion filed last Friday. Attorney General Jim Hood asked a Quitman County court to dismiss an indictment against the Quitman County Circuit Clerk and Deputy Circuit Clerk. A Quitman County grand jury indicted Circuit Clerk Brenda Wiggs and Deputy Circuit Clerk Bobbie Buggs for one count each of violating the laws concerning absentee ballots (Section 23-15-751 of the Mississippi Code).

The indictment charged Ms. Buggs signed more than fifty absentee ballots as a witness while she was a candidate for Justice Court Judge. State law bars candidates from acting as a witness when absentee ballots are signed by the voter. Ms. Wiggs was charged with allowing her Deputy Clerk to violate the law. A conviction is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $1,000. The Circuit Clerk can be removed from office upon conviction. Ms. Wiggs is the mother of WLBT meteorologist Barbie Bassett.

The Attorney General said in his motion the statute (23-15-631(1)(a)) mandates the circuit clerk, i.e. the registrar, must serve "as an attesting witness". General Hood said even though the law decrees the cicruic clerk shall be a witness, Section 15-15-631 bars a candidate from serving as an attesting witness on an absentee ballot. He said this created a conflict where circuit clerks or their deputies were on the ballot. General Hood stated "in elections training by the Office of Attorney General, this office has advised circuit clerks that the conflict within the statute should be construed to mean that they must do their duty to serve as a witness, even if they are a candidate on the ballot, for absentee voters in their office, but they shall not serve as a witness for ballots delivered outside the clerk's office via mail." The absentee ballots in question in the indictment were signed in the clerk's office.

What is interesting is how General Hood threw his prosecutors under the bus in a letter sent out to all circuit clerks:

"Our prosecutors presented all of the evidence they gathered relating to the various alleged irregularities and the grand jury chose to indict both. However, after our senior attorneys reviewed the facts and the law, we concluded that there were no facts to show that the actions of the clerk and the deputy clerk resulted in a violation of the misdemeanor statute upon which they were indicted.

We are in the process of having the indictments dismissed

The indictment was dismissed. 

Earlier post containing copy of indictments.


Anonymous said...

somebody gonna be fired at the AG office. bet on it. very embarrassing and Jim's not very forgiving.

Anonymous said...

"General Hood stated 'in elections training by the Office of Attorney General, this office has advised circuit clerks that the conflict within the statute should be construed...

Pardon my question, but
1) there is a conflict in the law
2) its obvious you know about it because you include it in the training.

Why has this conflict not been corrected? Legislature meets every single year. This makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

So if this was a misdemeanor offense, why send it to the grand jury in circuit court and then chastise them for indicting? I feel sorry for the embarrassment this caused because some eager prosecutor didn't read the law before pulling out all of the stops. AG and his boys have egg on their face.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a huge waste of calling a Grand Jury at the tax payers' expense. They obviously voted to indict the 2 individuals involved.

Reminds me of indicting and then dropping the charges of Robbie Bell. Yet another classic example of the Good Old Boy system at full throttle.

VERY suspicious NO other media outlet covered this story. Certainly has not been the case with other Circuit Clerk indictments over the past few years.

Anonymous said...

Im in agreement with the other person, its strange that The AG would go though the motions of indicting these two and back off. Its an indication that the good ole boys still run this state. We have not come too far to see justice for all here in Mississippi. Its is also a shame that this state finally did the right thing to ratify the 13th Amendment, that of ending slavery. After 149 years we have finally ended legalized slavery in MS. Now we need the full right to the voter.

Anonymous said...

What other circuit clerk indictments have there been? And what were they for?

Once again, bet the tv stations didn't run with this because they knew something wasn't right. Even D.Smith over at channel 3 is an attorney so he probably saw the discrep in the law.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone, in their right mind, believe for a minute that an indictment of this import would leave the AG's office without being reviewed by senior staff? Believe me, no lowly prosecutor would indict, or attempt to indict, a public figure, certainly not Barbie Bassitt's mother, without the affirmation of his superiors.

Anonymous said...

"Its is also a shame that this state finally did the right thing to ratify the 13th Amendment, that of ending slavery. After 149 years we have finally ended legalized slavery in MS."

Why is it a shame that MS ratified the 13th Amendment? Or do you have a reading comprehension/ writing problem.

They passed that ratification back in 1995 but it never got sent to the right Federal official until last month. Slavery has been illegal in MS since the 1860s, or didn't you know that?

Anonymous said...

What does Barbie Bassett have to do with this?

Kingfish said...

The word I got was a certain state Senator who has the same name as a former Supreme Court Justice stirred this one up.

Anonymous said...

The plaintiff in the civil action is the wife of Senator Jackson who was running, I believe, for a county office, maybe tax collector, in Quitman County. Word is she had evidence, in her opinion, of much shall we say, questionable activity from the Circuit Clerk's handling of the election. The clerck's deputy has already had her hand slapped in litigation.

Oh well, tomorrow there will be a bigger story except in Jackson where this is a non-story.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I see a MAJOR libel story on the horizon with this one.

Anonymous said...

Wait. Is this the same state senator who pulled a gun on someone who was campaigning against his wife and has a pending gun charge?

And in this article, Senator Jackson blames the chancery clerk, not the circuit clerk, for his wife's loss. But I thought she was running for tax collector?

This is ALL making sense now. So when you don't win the office you want, you blame everyone else for the loss. This is who was orchestrating the AG's investigation?

That county is more than 80% African American. Other American Americans were voted into office but his wife wasn't? Could it be that the citizen voters of that county just didn't want her as their candidate? Just sayin....

Sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

Although this hasn't made the Jackson news, (WE LOVE OUR WEATHER GIRL), the Memphis news is all over our non-story. What a strange world that we inhabit.

Once again, good job Mr. Fish.

Kingfish said...

Yeah, stating what is in a court file is grounds for defamation. Try again, stupid.

Anonymous said...

Yep, saw the story the Mem station had. They made sure to get the dropped indictment on several times. Heard they had to retract their first story a few weeks ago. Bet that retraction wasn't fun.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Kingfish made it to Barbie's personal blog on 2/22/13.

"Here recently, a couple of people whom I dearly love have been accused of doing something they didn't do. Their names were printed in news papers, posted on pseudo-news blogs and even mentioned briefly on television news reports."

I guess you are now a pseudo-news blog.

Anonymous said...

What has Barbie, the always "with child" weather girl, got to do with this? I thought that she was a non issue.

Anonymous said...

OK, so Barbie admits that Wiggs be her mama.
So... what does the weather gal have to do with all of this? I suppose that was just a pseudo indictment.

I guess that Mr. Fish isn't gonna be sued by a public figure after all.

Wonder if Wiggs will be elected next time? Politics, you gotta love 'em. I will bet that it takes a whole lot of $$$ this time around Barbie.

Anonymous said...

Love me some conspiracy theories. That, after all, makes more sense then let's say...ASKING questions and finding out the truth instead of coming up with rumors or maybe even thinking she's actually talking about this blog or had anything to do with this. You REALLY think she has THAT kind of power to get an indictment dropped?! Come on people.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Barbie Bassett is so easy to hate. She's got the perfect family, career, marriage, and according to her blog she's moving. But now she's being accused of paying off Jim Hood & controlling the media. She's just be promoted to Wonder Woman because she seems to have the perfect life.

And yes, knowing all of the control some of the commentators have given, her mother will win any & every election she runs for because Barbie is perfectly controlling it all. Next thing you know, she'll be paying off the Almighty to change the weather.

Then again, that must be why her life seems so perfect. It's all in who you know.

Anonymous said...

It is not Barbie who has the power. An indictment of a public official who has been in office for many years was certainly not a mistake. Also if there was a contradiction in the law, the people who put on the training for the circuit clerks were aware of it, then the legislature would also have been aware of the "mistake"; don't you think?
Either the clerks association, the attorney general, the people who put on the training...someone would have presented a bill to correct the "mistake", but nobody did. Why? The law was written and passed for a reason. That would be why the clerk was indicted. She knew better. There is too much oppertunity for corruption, ergo the law that the clerk violated.
As much as I respect and like my friend Barbie, and understand her loyalty and love for Ms. Brenda, this has nothing to do with her.
This has nothing to do with anything other than people who wanted to potect Ms. Brenda and other clerks like her or those who called in the big boys to protect them. This is the result of politics on a much higher scale.

Anonymous said...

Since you're friends with Barbie (and her mother apparently?), ask her what's up? Seems like an honest person who will give you an honest answer & make no bones about it instead of pontificating here. Just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Right on bro.

Anonymous said...

That is one of my points, I truly believe Barbie doesn't know "what's up". As for the other,iustbr I am not certain, just depending on the people who should be in a position to know "what's up". If the info is wrong I guess that I am only "pontificating" here. just kike everyoone else.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's a mute point now. All over now that AG Hood dropped it. But according to the newspaper in Quitman County, the attorneys are swarming now for some sort of defamation lawsuit & it will involve people not even mentioned thus far. Interesting.

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