Friday, February 6, 2015

Editorial: More excuses or enabling from the D.A.?

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith responded to an earlier post about the Melvin Potts prosecution in an interview with WLBT.  Melvin Potts was indicted on February 5, 2013 for armed robbery with a gun.  He was arrested for allegedly killing JSU professor Dr. Garrick Shelton in May 2014. His Hinds County case was continued no less than eight times while he goes to trial in Madison County nine months after his arrest.  WLBT reported:

Later this month Melvin Potts will go on trial for the murder of JSU professor Dr. Garrick Shelton. Prosecutors say Potts fatally stabbed Shelton in his Madison county home in May of last year.

At the time, he was out on a $40,000.00 bond, after being indicted on armed robbery, and armed carjacking charges in Hinds County. His case had been stalled in the court system for over a year, due to several roadblocks, according to Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith. Hinds

"The assistant DA lost both parents unfortunately, not at the same time, in close proximity," said Smith. "The second thing that happened was the attorney for Mr. Potts went to another job, and he did not have an attorney so they had to appoint another attorney to the case.

Smith says he would like to see cases move through Hinds County courts faster, but he says his office is usually handling more cases, than anyone in the state.

"This is the largest county in Mississippi so we have to take that into consideration," said the District Attorney. "The fact that our judges do have to set the cases and prioritize the cases."

The fact that Potts was out on bond when he allegedly committed the murder, is upsetting according to Smith, but unavoidable.

It's upsetting anywhere, but if someone is granted bond and they commit a crime that is unpredictable and unforeseen by anyone, it's something that we like to recognize and move faster on." WLBT story.
Oh really? Potts' attorney did not quit his job until after he continued the case EIGHT times.  He took a job at the U.S. Attorney's office in Oxford.  However, the last continuance was granted in October, 2013.  So where was the prosecutor during these EIGHT continuances?  (Its too bad David Kenney didn't ask that question.).  Her parents died but there are other prosecutors in the office.  No one ever filed an objection to these continuances in court.  Not once. 

The fact is this guy was arrested two and a half years ago and indicted two years ago.  A trial date still has not yet been set for Potts and he has enjoyed way too many postponements.  Its time for the D.A. and his prosecutors to quit making excuses and start doing their jobs.    Read this quote from Mr. Smith once again:

It's upsetting anywhere, but if someone is granted bond and they commit a crime that is unpredictable and unforeseen by anyone, it's something that we like to recognize and move faster on."
 A guy robs someone with a gun.  Its unpredictable and unforeseen that if he did it once he might be dangerous enough to do it again?  How many criminals move from house burglary to armed robbery with a deadly weapon to murder?

There is one sentence missing from the D.A.'s interview: "I'm sorry."  Taking responsibility and exercising some leadership. What a concept.  Too bad such concepts are foreign to the Hinds County criminal justice system. 


Anonymous said...

Dr. Shelton's murder is getting even more Jackson metro area media coverage? Say it ain't so, say it ain't so.

Anonymous said...

So Robert Smith just straight up lied. Got it. Who can we get to replace him?

Anonymous said...

The DA's Office, not an individual Asst. DA is responsible for moving forward on the prosecution of any criminal defendant, period. By the same token, the Hinds County Public Defender's Office represents each and every defendant/client to whom that Office, as a whole, is appointed.
I call b.s. on Robert S. Smith. It his his responsibilty to carry out the State of Mississippi's duty to see that the defendant and the victim/State is afforded the right to a day in court or trial.
If Smith and his pathetic staff are not able to step up to the plate and take care of these cases he needs to do us all a favor and go back to his "court appointed'' defendants.

Anonymous said...

Hinds County needs a new DA

Anonymous said...

Smith is in WAY over his head. Totally ineffectual.

Anonymous said...

"We" can't get anybody to replace him. Duh. "They" can.

Anonymous said...

What exactly was "unpredictable and unforeseen" about this? It seems the good district attorney has never heard the saying,"Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior." The next time I screw up something this badly, I think I'll try telling my boss,"It was unpredictable and unforeseen."

Anonymous said...

Take note of how many times the Hinds County DA's Office has had to recuse and ask that the Attorney General prosecute the cases because RSS was the public defender previously, who represented the Defendant. It is always Stan Alexander or one of his assistants who is left holding the stale case before the jury. Amazingly, even with the time and cards stacked against them they often got convictions. Either way, if at all possible, they tried and often won.

Anonymous said...

The only person Smith didn't blame for the inordinate delays was the hairdresser of his administrative assistant.

Anonymous said...

Oh God please is Stanley coming to the rescue again? Why did he leave in the first place? Too many cases- Couldn't handle the load? Now ya'll want him to be DA? Why not ask the trial judge why this case never went to trial. It is their job to move these cases through the system. They must approve every continuance. If you don't know the attorneys at the DA's office, quit calling them useless or pathetic because they are not like that at all. Ya'll bashers are truly uninformed.

Anonymous said...

Its well known in the legal community that RSS is an absentee landlord. He rarely appears at the courthouse except when the TV cameras show up. Its time for a new DA.

Anonymous said...

Never ceases to amaze that people actually comment here in support of the Hinds County Justice system status quo.

Anonymous said...

It appears clear that about the only job RSS is competent to handle is head basketball coach at Mississippi State. Clearly you need no real competency or experience for that job.

Juan said...

Translation of WLBT interview:
"I have one job and can't do it."

Anonymous said...

You should know Juan. But you sir are correct and I agree. It is the Da's job to prosecute the cases; translation... push the individual criminal defendants and the alleged crimes through the system and get them to trial and hopefully win legally and rightously. The point is to try and present the best case possible with the evidence and knowledge provided. Hopefully, if the case gets to a jury, it willbe able to understand the law, use common sense and reach a just verdict.

The whining public defender above obviously does not want Alexander to be the DA. The remarks here and on other subjects indicate the lack of desire to have to really work to earn that nice tax- payer funded paycheck. If one is really a defender of "rights'' does it matter if you have to work for that goal?

Raised Eyebrows said...

No, Hinds is NOT the state's largest county, Mr. Smith. But, even if you meant 'the most populous' it's your damned job to staff the office.

Anonymous said...

Hinds is the state's largest cesspool.

Anonymous said...

Smith makes around $120,000 per year, has the largest staff of all the D.A.'s in the state, his Asst. D.A.'s earn more than the other State ADA's, he has several investigators who earn more than the AG investigators and they have a full time staff which includes victim assistants, offices and cars, per diem and sick and personal leave.

This would well be fine if they earned their keep. That is a job that deserves good pay. The problem is they do not work for that kind of income. Ask around, go visit the courtrooms and the staff; they work for us. Ask for a few minutes of that earned time, if you can get them on the phone or find them at work.

The DA could make a small fortune for the tax payers just by civil forfietures alone. That option is given Smith by the MCA and the sheriff but Atty. Smith or his staff are too lazy to act in it.

Anonymous said...

The filing deadline for candidates for DA is the end of the month. The incumbent needs an opponent in the party primary and , as a backup, an opponent in the general election, who would run as an independent.The incumbent needs to be replaced! I am receptive to the candidacy of Stanley Alexander, who is a former Hinds ADA and presently serves as the head of the public integrity section of the MSAGO . In my estimation this is the most important election in Hinds County this year.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Alexander could be any better. We need someone with both a brain and a work ethic.

Anonymous said...

In my estimation this is the most important election in Hinds County this year.

Agree though sending Lt. Robert Graham of the Jackson Police Department -- who now masquerades around the country as a "retired Lieutenant" -- packing is a mighty important objective also.

Lt. Graham: I'm a little but unusual type of police officer. The reason why I'm kind of unusual is every time the chief would put me on the street, I would mess up bad enough for them to put me back in dispatch.

NEVER HAPPENED GRAHAM. Flat out fabrication. Robert Graham is the Brian Williams of dispatch crowd.

Anonymous said...

Robert Smith hasn't even qualified yet. Maybe he isn't running? Thats probably too much to wish for though.

Anonymous said...

In response to February 7, 2015 at 9:4AM

Mr. Alexander has a reputation for appearing in scheduled court proceedings in a timely manner. On the occasions that I have observed him as a representative on behalf of the State of Mississippi, he has always been prepared for the task at hand and presented his case in an intelligent and concise manner.

Court files statewide reflect that he seldom requests that a case be continued on Motion of the State, if ever. Additionally, most judges before whom he has appeared, if asked and presented with the court file, would agree that he often opposes Defendant Motions for Continuances that do not appear to be for good cause.

I do not know if Stanley Alexander is considered a contender for the job of District Attorney for Hinds County, but I do know that he as well as several others whose names have been mentioned would be viable alternatives to Mr. Smith.

Although Mr. Smith appears to be a nice man, he has been given almost eight years to represent the State of Mississippi and the victims of the Hinds County Circuit Court Districts. It is time for a change and unlike you I know nothing about his, or anyones "brain", but it appears that HIS "work ethic" has spoken for itself.

Anonymous said...

If, as your post indicates, you spend your life shadowing Stanley Alexander, I would think you'd have picked up on some clues as to his intellect or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

Maybe in the ten years since Alexander obtained a conviction against Sean King based solely on hearsay (the conviction was overturned), he's learned some criminal law? But, then again, he's been at the AG's office so that's doubtful.

Anonymous said...

Any attorney can't win or loose a trial, have the verdict affirmed or reversed, obtain a guilty plea, participate in any court matter or merely spectate, if that attorney is not at the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

It's "lose", not "loose", brainiac.

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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.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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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.

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