Thursday, March 26, 2015

Who was right: the Judge or the Public Defender?

Here is the first audio clip of the showdown that took place last week in the Hinds County courtroom between Circuit Judge Jeff Weill and the public defender's office. The complete audio recording is posting in several clips and also one complete recording.   The Judge and Public Defender waste no time in starting their fight in this clip.

First clip



Serious question: Why didn't Mr. Spore just present a copy of the order from the lower court?

Here is the second clip. When I get through uploading, I'm going to combine them all into one clip but for your convenience, I'm uploading them up here first as producing one clip will take some time. 



The third clip contains the part where Michelle Purvis enters the fray.



Ms. Purvis is removed from the courtroom in this clip.



Complete clip.



If links do not appear, it might be because the clip is in flash and you might be using an Apple device.   A flash reader app should fix that problem.

Attorney Merrida Coxwell filed a brief on behalf of the National Association of Public Defenders with the Mississippi Supreme Court.



Judge Weill filed this brief with the Mississippi Supreme Court as well.


50 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all, Jackson Jambalaya is a friend of Judge Weill's. Secondly, I don't think anyone is saying Judge Weill was wrong to hold the PDs in contempt on that day. BUT, this has absolutely nothing to do with the real issues here which are whether Judge Weill can bar a lawyer from practicing before him and, if so, whether he can do so without due process and whether Judge Weill gets to decide which PDs are assigned to the cases in his courtroom.

Anonymous said...

As an attorney, I say this has everything to do with the main issues. These lawyers are an embarrassment to the profession if they are too hotheaded to let the appeal run its course instead of being defiant in court. If I were Judge Weill, this would be enough to ban them ALL from my courtroom. At least until they learned how to follow the rules.

Anonymous said...

Arguing with a judge is stupid. You can't win.

Anonymous said...

Weill sounds like a substitute teacher who can't handle his class. Or Barney Fife. Either way, he's lost his courtroom.

Anonymous said...

I'm also impressed that Clayton could handle the arraignment. Why did Weill choose Clayton Lockhart if he is truly concerned about indigent defendants receiving competent representation?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Judge Weill should have had the bailiff remove Spore and Purvis long before he did so. Both are lucky that they were not taken into custody.

Anonymous said...

Judge Weill should have hit that panic button.

Kingfish said...

He allowed more than Emfinger would have.

Anonymous said...

Poor Mr. Carpenter. I wonder what he was thinking about all of this. An for the record, Mr. Carpenter says on at least two occasions that he does not have a lawyer, or "has not picked a lawyer" to represent him.

Anonymous said...

Regardless what you think of Weill, Purvis flat out blew it. She would have been jailed in most Mississippi counties.

Anonymous said...

Judge Weill is calm and measured. He handled this perfectly without locking them up (which is what they wanted in order to really amp up the race-baiting). They are howling lunatics who should not be allowed in court.

Anonymous said...

Are those lawyers off their meds? File a motion or whatever and stop arguing with the judge in open court.

Anonymous said...

What would Tomie have done?

Anonymous said...

Emfinger's courtroom demeanor is less than desirable. I get the fact that court is a solemn place but damn, John acts like he's miserable every second he's on the bench.

Anonymous said...

How did this turn into a John Emfinger discussion? Judge Emfinger is not only a good and decent man, he is also a very capable, hard working jurist. I appear regularly before him and have found him to be one of the best prepared judges around. His style is no nonsense, which apparently does not go over well with some.

Kingfish said...

Because I dared to compliment him.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the merits of this flap, behavior of this sort by any attorney in any court, before any judge, is outrageous and contemptuous. It matters not how you may feel about the particular judge who may be presiding. It is the institution and what it represents that demands a lawyer always conduct his or her self with dignity and respect. There is no excuse or any reason for behavior such as this. Judge Weill showed great restraint. There are many judges in this State who would have put these lawyers under the jail, not just in it. Again, it doesn't matter who ultimately may be "right," or "wrong."

Kingfish said...

I don't think Graves would have put up with it either when he was a trial judge.

Anonymous said...

Graves was MUCH more combative than Weill. He fought with the DA's office (Peters) AND the PD's office (Fortner) for years. The difference between Weill and Graves is Graves actually realized he was being an ass and changed. Weill won't.

Anonymous said...

Why are these DP's picking a fight and yelling at the judge in open court. Must be a political thing. Trying to bully and intimidate a judge. I agree race baiting... she wanted him to arrest her. Also, she needs a diction class. Sounds like Beyoncé with marbles in her mouth. Da and the are the same word. Where did she go to undergrad?

Anonymous said...

Yes, race baiting. That's what Greg Spores was doing too. Can white people "race bait" other white people? (rolls eyes)

Anonymous said...

12:07pm
It is all a political agenda. No matter what race or other persuasion...
"rolls eyes and snaps fingers too?"

Anonymous said...

Purvis acted like she was jaywalking across a street and daring someone to hit her......Jacksonians know what I mean.

Spore was bad enough, but Purvis went WAY beyond the pale! Because she's black, she did everything but ask Weill to jail her, knowing full well that, in today's PC society, blacks can do no wrong and are only jailed because they're black.....

Anonymous said...

I’ve been practicing law in Mississippi for 15 years, and this is absolutely unbelievable. I have to say, if I had been the judge, I would have dealt with both Spore and Purvis (Harris?) much more harshly, fines to the maximum amount and arresting them if necessary - even though as others have pointed out that's likely exactly what they wanted to happen to make themselves appear in the right. Purvis (Harris) apparently doesn’t understand that she isn’t the boss of the courtroom but the judge is and has to be in order for our courts to run smoothly and efficiently. Judge Weill was so much more patient than I would ever have been or than those idiots from the PD office had a right for him to be. Thanks, KF for posting the audio. I think it highlights, more even than a transcript, what was going on and that the PD office’s intent was to disrupt the court and cause a scene.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Purvis is running for DA again?

Anonymous said...

Everyone does realize that the PD's office was present and willing to do Mr. Carter's arraignment right? Their office had already been appointed to the case. All Weill had to do was allow them Spores to stand in for his client and this wouldn't have happened. Yet he chose to call in a private attorney (at additional taxpayer's expense I might add) to do the arraignment and take over his case.

I think mistakes were made by BOTH sides in this matter. The PD's office should have simply, and calmly, noted their objections for the record and sat down.

Anonymous said...

First of all, what a joke. No wonder it takes for ever to get anything through the Hinds County courts.

I'm not in the legal profession, but I can only imagine how this would go over in the corporate world. It would be like a subordinate in one department whining and interrupting another department's superior while in a cross department meeting with outside guests. I'd say a harsh reprimand or firing would be in order and a huge embarrassment for the company.

JH said...

@ 1:19 PM

Mr. Carter (or Carpenter) did not seem to be too concerned as he said several times that he had not selected an attorney. The PD's rights and Mr. Carter's rights are not one in the same.

Regardless of who is right or wrong in all this, the PD is a professional. She knows better. You get the objection on the record and move on. You don't create a spectacle (and waste $200 of taxpayer money by finding yourself in contempt-assuming the PD picked up the tab).

Anonymous said...

1:19 - While I agree with you that this behavior was out of line, your comparison to the corporate world isn't a fair one. We are talking about criminal defendants and people who are (intended to be) appointed to protect their constitutional rights.

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. Judge Weill was more than accommodating and fair. Most of the other Hinds Co. Cirecuit Judges would not have been so calm.

Anonymous said...

I am an attorney and I believe Judge Weill was right. The public defenders were out of line. I am not aware of any rule that requires the judge to continue the appointment from lower court. They should have made their point and moved along. I have met Judge Weill once in passing but I can't say I know him nor have i ever practiced in his court. Hey may be the biggest jerk around but the PDs definitely handled this situation very, very poorly.

Anonymous said...

" (which is what they wanted in order to really amp up the race-baiting)."

What? Oh jeez - I didn't realize the PD was black. Now it's a whole other dimension of victimhood added on.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to explain to Spore and Purvis what 'stand down' means. Seems to me Weill went out of his way to tell them to shut the f up. He's the judge, it's his courtroom.

Anonymous said...

Larita would have never put up with that. Oh no. Not at all.

Lumbergh said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did the judge say multiple times that the PD had refused to appear in his court, he hadn't been notified of a change, and, in their absence, made arrangements for an attorney to represent the guy?

I'm no lawyer, but I don't understand why the PD feels like they have a leg to stand on.

If it wasn't for lawyers, there would be no need for lawyers**

Anonymous said...

Bennie Thompson backed the wrong horse. He stuck his big nose in this matter by going to the Justice Department. OH, how I wish Mississippi could get him out of Congress.He's a big joke.The only bigger fool around is Kenneth Stokes. Two peas in the same Mississipi pod.

Anonymous said...

Why would any attorney risk so much in front of a sitting judge? This sounds like something that happened because other problems have been brewing in that courtroom for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Talking over a judge like that will generally result in more than a $100 fine. They were lucky. Try that crap in federal court.

someoneinnorthms said...

I appreciate those who say that the public defenders should have "stood down" because the judge told them to. I appreciate that they should have made their objections on the record and then moved on. Ordinarily, that would be the correct way to handle a situation where a judge screws up. But, the stakes are MUCH higher here. And, to use a legal phrase, the issue is capable of evading review.

In effect, the judge is telling the public defenders that he doesn't want them representing clients zealously and well. Because they won't "stand down" when they are representing the clients, he'll just find a way to keep them from undertaking representation anyway. As much as public defenders are publicly denegrated, they are generally the best advocates in their respective courtrooms. Just because the judge gave a defendant A lawyer, doesn't mean he gave them a good one.

This judge has invited a debate that has been coming for a long time. It is time for a true statewide public defender system. The inherent conflicts of practicing law in front of the judge who hires (and can apparently fire) you is ludicrous. It obviously impairs most advocates across the state, but Hinds county is an interesting outlier because of the way it is set up. Regardless, it's time to stop the croonyism and free public defenders to make the necessary arguments on behalf of their clients.

Anonymous said...

Purvis [Harris?] and Spore should have left there in cuffs.

Weill is a miserable excuse for a judge, but he played the PDs like a fiddle. They. Are. Wrong.

Sincerely,

over 3 decades as an attorney

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, where are the exhibits Judge Cartman talks about in his response to the Supreme Court?

Anonymous said...

Hey 3 decades, isn't there some case law out there that says a judge can't prohibit an attorney from making a record? Agree Harris was probably out of line (just listened to the first part of her, all I could stand) but not completely convinced on Spore. I agree that we can not talk over the judge, but what is your wisdom when the judge does it to us and literally prevents an attorney from making a record?

And what the hell is stand down?!?! Kinda like "you can't handle the truth!"?

Anonymous said...

@4:43 in the interest of candor, I don't really share your sentiments about Weill as a Judge, but I wholeheartedly agree on "cuff'em and haul'em away". The Bar really needs to look into the outlandish misconduct of Purvis (and Spore).

Sincerely,

almost two and a half decades as an attorney

Anonymous said...

@4:42
ADAs can also be removed by the Senior Circuit court judge.


I would hate to see the move to a statewide public defender system. The public defenders in my neck the woods are true professionals and make the tough arguments that need to be made but never have I heard of one acting like these lawyers. I fully support public defenders but it is sad to see them acting in this manner. Zealous representation is one thing... Bringing disgrace upon our profession is another. They have accomplished the later

Anonymous said...

Hold your course Jerge Jeff! The public defenders office is overrun with thugs and retards probably because they are crappy "lawyers" and can't get work anywhere else other than from the public trough like sows.

Just To Clarify said...

For those of you who (judging by your posts) seem challenged; 'Stand Down' means have a seat and shut up.

Anonymous said...

PD's have the right and the obligation to defend their clients. The court system is bogged down with all these "pansy" lawyers who don't stand up. Way to go..

Anonymous said...

@8:23 - you are correct that the PD has a right to defend THEIR clients (as long as they do so competently and ethically). The issue that has been muddied by the PD's statements is that these are not yet THEIR clients until the circuit court assigns the PD's office - that usually occurs after the court has asked questions of the defendant to see if they are truly "indigent". Prior to that determination, they are represented by an attorney appointed by the circuit judge at an "arraignment". Listen to the audio KF provided of the proceedings where the PD was held in contempt and you'll see that's the procedure that was in process. There are court reporter transcripts in some document filed in this case where a PD told Weill last fall that his boss, PD Purvis, said the PD's office would no longer represent defendants at arraignments - consequently, the defendants wouldn't be represented at arraignment unless they had already hired private counsel or Weill appointed counsel to represent them at the arraignment. If the PDs office refuses to represent defendants at arraignment AS WAS DONE IN OPEN COURT last fall (again, see one of Weill's filings in the case), the defendant would be unrepresented unless Weill assigned private counsel because the PD's office said "we won't do it". Apparently the PD's office is now trying to say "we never said that", but court transcripts don't lie.

So, I agree the PD's office has a right to represent THEIR clients, the problem is these aren't their clients until the court says they are.

Anonymous said...

Public Defenders have no "rights" to defend their clients. They certainly have an obligation, just as they have an obligation to the profession. Just as a judge has an obligation maintain his courtroom.

A PD office that puts more effort into a show than they do in protocol and defense, has forgotten or outright ignored their obligations.

This incident is indicative of the state of our legal system and those defending the behavior of the PD office is indicative of our current culture: no respect, either personally or for anyone or anything else

Kingfish said...

A little bit different than the Ferguson line the JFP was spewing.

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