Thursday, February 19, 2015

Supremes slam Judge Green.

The Mississippi Supreme Court slapped down Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green and ruled unanimously that Sheriff Tyrone Lewis has the authority to hire and fire his bailiffs. Judge Green ruled in 2012 that Sheriff Lewis could not demote, discipline, or fire a bailiff without her consent. The Sheriff responded and appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court. 

 Apparently Judge Tomie Green tried to use a West Virginia case to ignore the plain meaning of the law as she argued there was no case law on the subject (#9).  The Court ignored her request to ignore and instead stated the Mississippi Code was quite clear on the matter:

Every sheriff shall have power to appoint one or more deputies to assist him in carrying out the duties of his office, every such appointment to be in writing, to remove them at pleasure, and to fix their compensation, subject to the budget for the sheriff's office approved by the county board of supervisors..
The Court then upheld the Sheriff's argument and decreed:
The Court is bound by the plain language of Section 19-25-19. We hold that, under
Section 19-25-19, the sheriff has the authority to compensate, appoint, and remove bailiffs, as bailiffs are deputies of the sheriff.

 Judge Green then tried to argue that bailiffs are not law enforcement officers. Yup, you read that correctly.  Hmmm...... just a thought, does that mean the Sheriff and Supervisors could divest themselves of bailiffs and tell Judge Green to go hire some rent-a-cops?    The court again ignored Judge Green and said:

the Legislature has defined a law enforcement officer as “any person appointed or employed . . . who is duly sworn and vested with authority to bear arms and make arrests, and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of criminals and the enforcement of the criminal and traffic laws of this state . . . .” Miss. Code Ann. § 45-6-3 (c), (d) (Rev. 2011)....
We hold that bailiffs having law enforcement duties under Sections 19-25-35 and 19-25-69 are subject to the training requirements of Section 19-25-11. We also hold that bailiffs having law enforcement duties and are either law enforcement officers or part-time law enforcement officers and, therefore, are subject to the certification requirements set forth in Section 45-6-11.

The decision was uninimous.

JJ reported on February 17, 2012:
Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green told Sheriff Lewis his authority over his employees ends at the courthouse doors. Judge Green issued an order late this afternoon preventing Sheriff Tyrone Lewis from transferring, demoting, or reducing the salaries of any bailiffs without her consent. The order was also signed in concurrence by Judges Melvin Priester, Bill Gowan, and Patricia Wise. The Sheriff attempted to transfer several bailiffs to other duty and reduce the rank of some who are not certified law enforcement officers.

Sheriff Tyrone Lewis told JJ thirty-one HCSO employees were assigned as bailiffs: two captains, five sergeants, three corporals, and twenty-one deputies. Only one captain and two deputies are certified. The Sheriff said he preferred to have captains and sergeants supervising deputies, not sitting in a courtroom full-time. The Sheriff also said bailiffs who were not certified were going to be reduced to the rank of deputy unless they obtained said certification and receive deputy pay as well. Sheriff Lewis said he has been reorganizing the staff with an emphasis placed on deputies who are certified law enforcement officers.

The order refers to a previous order issued by the circuit court in 1996 establishing the rules and procedures for bailiffs serving Hinds County.The order states Sheriff Lewis entered special orders on February 15, 2012 that "adversely affected" bailiffs attached to the courts of Hinds County. Judge Green claims the orders also demote, transfer, and reduce the pay of said personnel without the "notice and consent of the Circuit Court of Hinds County." Judge Green decreed the orders are in direct violation of the 1996 order.

Judge Green also said the 1996 order states the Sheriff can not discharge bailiffs without the consent of the judge and must set their salaries on an "equitable basis" (See 1996 order posted below). The 1996 order states "Salaries for Court Bailiffs shall be set by the Sheriff on an equitable basis". The Sheriff told this correspondent he considered different levels of pay based upon certification to be equitable. The 1996 order refers to the bailiffs as "officers of the court" and said they "do not function as party of any law enforcement agency." The 1996 order states the bailiff is "a confidential employee of the judge" and the Sheriff "may remove" them for "good cause upon advice and consent of the judge."

It should be pointed out the orders do not cite any law from the Mississippi Code or Constitution nor is any case law mentioned. Section 19-25-19 of the Mississippi Code covers the hiring of deputies by the Sheriff:

 "Every sheriff shall have power to appoint one or more deputies to assist him in carrying out the duties of his office, every such appointment to be in writing, to remove them at pleasure, and to fix their compensation, subject to the budget for the sheriff's office approved by the county board of supervisors..."

Kingfish note: This all began when Mac backed down to Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn in a similar dispute.  Judge Hilburn issued a similar order.  Mac wimped out and refused to stand up for his office and opened the door for Judge Green to claim Hilburn's order as precedent nearly twenty years later.   Anyone want to guess who Mac's lawyer was?

Earlier posts: 
Judge Green defies Sheriff Lewis 
Green backs down.... a little 
Sheriff fires back at Judge Green 
Judge Green wants Sheriff's appeal dismissed.  
Judge Green orders county to give raises to her bailiffs.  


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately not even close to the worst thing she's ever done.

thusbloggedanderson said...

Favorite line: "We think it is a better practice for the circuit court – when stating the dress or confidences of bailiffs – to issue court rules over court orders, but we cannot say the 1996 Order is entirely against statutory law."

I suspect the next battle in the campaign will arise from this part of the statute:

"The circuit court, after a notice and a hearing, shall have power to remove such deputies and also bailiffs, upon a showing that the public interest will be served thereby."

Notices & hearings coming to an area circuit courtroom?

Anonymous said...

The opinion was well written-apart from the many typos-and well reasoned. Any eighth grader with a civics textbook could have predicted the outcome Green's temper tantrum driven power trip.

Anonymous said...

She'll have to respond with a poem.

Anonymous said...

Tommie Green considers herself a "Primadona" Elected official and what she says is LAW not to be gone against.

Well, guess what, Tommie! ! !

Its blatantly you dont dont the job you were elected to do in Hinds County.

Hip Hip said...

It's good to see the High Sheriff win this pissing contest while acknowledging that's all it was.

Anonymous said...

I think the valentines day billboard tipped the scales.

Anonymous said...

2:36, that comment was just a train wreck. Besides, Judge Green does exactly what her voters want her to do.

The Supremes generally keep her in check, although I don't agree that this particular opinion "slammed" her.

Anonymous said...

@ February 19, 2015 at 3:44 PM

"exactly what her voters want her to do"?

Such as routinely sentencing violent offenders and sexual offenders to time served?

Anonymous said...

Kenny stokes for judge!

Anonymous said...

McMillin's attorney was: Bill Gowan, now Judge Gowan, who actually made the lower court ruling after Green drafted him to hear it. Sure that was merely a coincidence.

Judges aren't elected to reflect the will of the voters; quite the contrary, its to ignore public sentiment and follow the law. Of course, the fallacy is that we do elect judges in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

When Green comes to mind I can't help but think of the laugh In skit of "Here comes the Judge".

Anonymous said...

Laugh In? Not even close.

Weezy in Movin On Up...

Anonymous said...

Despite the continued shortcomings of Plaintiff's supplemental submission, the Court commends Plaintiff for his vastly improved choice of crayon--Brick Red is much easier on the eyes than Goldenrod, and stands out much better amidst [**9] the mustard splotched about Plaintiff's briefing. But at the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig. (With apologies to former Judge Kent)

Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp., 147 F. Supp. 2d 668, 671 (S.D. Tex. 2001)

Consider This said...

Her subordinate still got off with a Rankin DUI. The jurdge be rulin' the roost.

Anonymous said...

Electing judges is the most counterintuitive thing we do in Mississippi, which is saying a lot.

Anonymous said...

I'd forgotten about her friend girls DUI across the Pearl Bridge.

Anonymous said...

duh! everyone knows that Jerdge Green is as dumb as a sack of hammers.

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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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