Friday, July 31, 2015

Madison County defendant calls his prosecutor the "perfect man for the job"

Update September 1, 2015: County prosecuting attorney Alan Phillips recused himself from the two cases.  A Madison County Assistant District Attorney will handle the prosecution.  

The local news media gave quite a bit of attention to two doctors who were arrested for allegedly hosting a party for teenagers and providing them with alcohol last October.  A pair of Madison moms also drew heavy coverage when they were arrested in Florida for allegedly providing booze to minors and hosting a spring break party at a condo.  However, one case that slipped under the radar took place in Flora as businessman Cliff Torrence got in trouble with the law not once but twice for hosting parties at his home and providing alcohol to teen-agers.

Cliff Torrence was arrested on  July 14, 2012 for hosting a party at his Flora home for a bunch of teenagers and allowing them to drink.  A wreck took place on his property and an ambulance was dispatched. Sheriff's deputies accompanied Flora rescue to the scene.   One officer approached the swimming pool behind the house and observed the teens:

running and throwing beer cans as they fled.  Coolers of beer and alcohol was found throughout the outside of the residence.  Flora rescue arrived and treated the female teenager.  Davis ultimately arrested Torrence, and together with Moffett, briefly interviewed the teenagers and called their parents." (KF note: Most of the kids were of the Northeast Jackson variety.)
Madison County Justice Court Judge Bruce McKinley fined Mr. Torrence $1,000 and imposed a prison sentence of 90 days but suspended 60 days.   Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Phillips handled the prosecution  Mr. Torrence appealed to County Court in Madison County.

Mr. Torrence pleaded guilty to violation of the social host law in County Court.  His plea was accepted by the judge and Mr. Phillips on June 18, 2013.  The court fined him $1,000, required him to participate in a courtwatch anlysis program, and sentenced him to 90 days in prison but suspended the 90 days pending completion of two years of unsupervised probation.

Thus, Mr. Torrence managed to escape the thirty-day sentence Judge McKinley wanted to impose and only paid a thousand-dollar fine.  One would think Mr. Torrence learned his lesson, right? Wrong.

Mr. Torrence hosted another party for teens at his home on July 19, 2014.  Madison County Deputies and ABC agents discovered the party, under-aged teens, and booze as the party was in full swing when they arrived.  They arrested Torrence and charged him with seven counts of violating the social host law.  Mr. Phillips filed a motion to show cause on July 23, 2014 and asked the court to revoke his probation and incarcerate him for 90 days.  The motion also disclosed Mr. Torrence had not completed the Courtwatch analysis program.

James Scarff and Chuck McRae represent Mr. Torrence.  Scarff argued the revocation was "premature" as he has pleaded not guilty and he has not been convicted of a violation.  He also claimed no deadline had been given on completing the courtwatch program, so Mr. Torrence had not violated that portion of his sentence as well.

The hearing was supposed to be held on August 18, 2014 but was continued until November 10, 2014.  However, the hearing did not take place as Judge Steve Ratcliffe recused himself from the case on November 7.  He stated that the "court had been contacted by someone other than defense counsel on behalf of the defendant with information about this case."  The Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Retired Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn to hear the case on November 13.

The docket contains no entries after that date.  There are no motions to schedule a hearing, no notices, no nothing.  The case is just there, collecting dust.

Meanwhile, no action has been taken in the 2014 case against Mr. Torrence.  The case sits on the docket as well, awaiting prosecution by Mr. Phillips.  However, Mr. Torrence has some very charitable things to say about his prosecutor on the campaign Facebook page of Mr. Phillips:

 KF Note: Nothing like campaign broh-mance.

Disclosure: Attorney Pamela Hancock is a long-time advertiser on this website and is the opponent of Mr. Phillips in the election for Madison County Prosecuting Attorney.  The prosecuting attorney handles misdemeanors in Justice Court and appeals in County Court. (KF note: I even enlarged the print of this disclosure just for you.). 

Here are the court files.

This is the order, recusal of Judge, and 2014 charges.


Anonymous said...

Just look through his FB page (which seems to be mostly public so he's likely not too swift) - he has the appearance of a classic alcoholic.

Anonymous said...

A classic alcoholic whose case has been swept under the rug.

Anonymous said...

It makes you wonder if he contributed to Phillips campaign? Is Phillips required to disclose contributions? Are they itemized?

Anonymous said...

The last thing Torrence wants is for this man NOT be reelected. A new prosecutor can and probably would make is life miserable.

Anonymous said...

What does 'the kids were of the Northeast Jackson variety' mean? I assume they were thugs recently out of jail like Javaris Chambers? Were they Section 8 recipients? Please elaborate...

Anonymous said...

@3:52 I assume they were JA and Prep kids. That's just what I've always thought of when I hear "NE Jackson kids".

Anonymous said...

Steve Ratcluff has some explaining to do

Anonymous said...


The times, they are a changin

Anonymous said...

Is Pam afraid to put her name on this because its too dirty or because of the poor writing/grammar?

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for Pam in spite of this piece, certainly not because of it. I think she is a good, decent person. Doubt she would have asked for this to be written.

Anonymous said...

"Correction needs to be made to your article" Chuck McRae has not represented Mr. Torrence since June of 2013 and does not currently represent Mr. Torrence, James Scarff may, but he has not been employed at the McRae Law Firm since July of 2013.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kingfisher. How about posting all comments instead of just pro Pam Hancock ones?

Anonymous said...

@5:45, why are you bringing Pam's name into this, best I can read this is about Allen Phillips doing his job prosecuting or not doing his job! Is he not going to back up the Sheriff's Department that has done there job? Or was one of his 5 children at the function. Never the less, if this is true and as the evidence that is shown here appears to be, this case has been put on the shelf for a favor and then the defendant promotes him on Facebook, it looks suspicious.

Anonymous said...

Not the only time trash was swept under the rug.

Anonymous said...

What about all his false claims about candidate endorsements? He claimed Mary Hawkins and Randy Tucker both endorsed him. Neither were true.
I have tried to ask him some questions on his page but my comments always get deleted.
His accountability to his clients and other attorneys is less than average. He has cancelled more trials and court appearances at the last minute. He's also not very accessible to clients. Not to mention his outbursts in court are equivalent to a toddler's rant.
What he is going to do if he doesn't win? Quit?
This is the hardest he's had to work his entire life. Does he really think if he does happen to win that he can go back to flying under the radar and demanding wi-if out in the sticks so he can work from home?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bernie can endorse him next. Or senator Horne.

Anonymous said...

His accountability to his clients and other attorneys is less than average. He has cancelled more trials and court appearances at the last minute

Where is all this coming from? Five minutes ago all the attorneys loved him, that idiot drunk wanted him to stay, all the attorneys were sending him contributions-
Today it's just the opposite. I have practiced in that court dozens of times with Allen Phillips- He is approachable and will actually listen to what we have to say. Did Pam Hancock go out and get some experience prosecuting somewhere cuz I have been all over Mississippi and I never have seen her do anything in the criminal world.

Rebekah said...

Perhaps you should read up on your candidates backgrounds. Pamela was Assistant Prosecutor for 6 years and has been practicing law for over 18.

Anonymous said...

C'mon. No one takes alcohol enforcement seriously except the officers involved. What possible harm could be caused by a 15-year-old with six beers in him? Most people don't even consider it an addictive drug.

Anonymous said...

All 6 beers will do to a 15 yr old is make them temporarily sick. The reality is they have no true understanding of the future any further than being able to drive, fitting in with their friends and they truly think they're invincible. That is what is so dangerous about teen drinking. As a responsible adult (and it sounds as though you have a few war stories under your belt), you of all people know it's a way different world than it was in the 60's thru 80's. There's a whole more out there that can get young kids killed or terminally ill, alcohol is just a precurser.

Micah Gober said...

Oh the self entitlement attitudes from parent in MADISON COUNTY who let their teens do what ever they want is getting old. To the parents who let their teens drink you are nothing but trash and your kid should be taken away from you by MSDHS. I'm sure this is some last minute mud slinging to try to get someone numbers up. Madison County leadership is a joke at best.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if you're from Madison, Rankin or Hinds (JP, JA, St. A, MRA, MC, etc). Be a responsible parent and don't do drugs or drink with your teens much less supply them or their friends with it. If you do, you should have to answer to the law, not be allowed to buy your way out of it or have it swept under the rug. These are impressionable years for teens and they do not need to see "parents or legal guardians" participating in drinking games or taking any illegal substance much less have it supplied to them more than once regardless of the size of their property, home, etc. - they should not be able to claim ignorance when it is on their property. I do not believe that anyone should be above the law.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish will certainly NOT allow a post that criticizes Rebekkkah.

Anonymous said...

I have lost a child to driving after drinking and smoking. Please don't make light of this practice or consider it just part of the right of passage. We all know they probably will drink in college, but starting earlier is wrong. Encouragement from parents is not needed. When a teen begins drinking, they stop growing emotionally. That is one reason why we have so many child-like adults running around.

Marlana Walters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

KF is scum.

SYOB said...

Where is the 'start your own blog' harpie?

Anonymous said...

Why aren't folks making a bigger deal out of this? A middle age man was hosting a party of minors and either supplying them with alcohol or condoning underage drinking in his home. Was he providing safe transportation for these kids? How many gatherings with underage drinking has this man hosted in the past? Were there designated drivers? Why is he partying with kids, anyway?

Anonymous said...

My parents let us drink beer at the pool in the back yard as a teenager in lieu of going out to shitholes like WC Dons, Linden's, and other such reputable establishments. The deal was of course if you drink beer, you spend the night. I am pretty sure that most of us in our 30's-50's have similar experiences.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that most of us in our 30's-50's most certainly did not have similar experiences. I'm pretty sure most of us heard of something similar had happened, but did not experience it directly.

Regardless, you are a complete fool deserve far more that $1000 fine and 90 days in jail for actively participating in allowing my child to drink against my parental wishes.

Anonymous said...

If I found out some older man was allowing my kids to drink at his house there would be several butts kicked. First, I would kick their butts for drinking. Secondly, I would kick his ass for allowing it and for being creepy. It's awful strange that this man would continue having parties with kids after being arrested once for it.

Kingfish said...

Phillips never had the sense to remove that message from his campaign Facebook page.

Truth is, I'd had this file since October. When the doctors were arrested, people started contacting me and wanting to know why the media wasn't saying anything about Mr. Torrence when he had been arrested twice for the same thing while they were crucified and had their faces plastered all over the news. I eventually got the file, but fell behind and never got around to posting it. It happens.

However I have never ever ever never seen a defendant getting out there and endorsing his prosecutor. The prosecutor didn't even have the sense to remove it but thanked him for it. Idiots. THAT was why I posted it. I thought that was newsworthy as I'd never seen something like that happen before. Have you? A defendant endorsing his prosecutor and gushing over him when he is not getting jail time. SMH.

Anonymous said...

Guess everyone involved in this knows Torrence uprooted his family shortly after these posts and moved to CA. That's apparently a no-extradition state. So if things don't go his way in Nov.... he may be their problem from now on. Kept his house here though so he may be back.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the new prosecutor was a bit more strong-handed and not so gentle.

Cliff Torrence is charged with eight counts of social host law.

The Social Host Law went into effect on July 1, 2011. This law makes it illegal for any adult to knowingly allow a minor to obtain, possess, or consume alcohol on their private property.

Torrence received 90 days in jail on each count, 45 days were suspended and 45 days will be served consecutively.

Torrence will ultimately serve 360 days in jail. Also, a $1,000 fine and a court cost on each count.

He’s also charged with contributing to a minor. He received one year, six months were suspended, and six months will be served consecutively. Also, another $1,000 fine and court costs.

Torrence owes about $11,000 in fines and court costs.

Anonymous said...

The fines are nothing to him - he has a staffed estate in Flora and a new place in CA. The year+ in jail may sting but for someone who regularly partied with his kids friends, it's light IMO. If anyone has seen the rap video made at his Flora house that included his daughter/dils , you get the gist of the man.

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