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.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.
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.
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.