Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Slipping through the cracks: our criminal justice system at work.

Flowood police arrested Roderick Carter early on February 13, 2015 for armed robbery after he and his girlfriend tried to rob a convenience store on Lakeland Drive.  A Rankin County grand jury indicted him in April for three counts of armed robbery and three counts of a felon in possession of a firearm.  He currently resides in the Rankin County jail as he was denied bond.

However, he was convicted of a felony in Hinds County in 2014 and received a suspended sentence of nine years in prison with one year to serve but was given credit for time served so he was released in 2014. Unfortunately, his probation has not been revoked and it appears under the new law (HB #585) passed last year, MDOC may not be able to revoke his probation.  


JJ reported on February 13, 2015:
The Kingfish went to the Circuit Clerk's office in Hinds County and presto, there was indeed a court file on this guy. Two files actually. He was indicted for armed robbery on November 9, 2012 with two other defendants for robbing a Wendy's on Ellis Avenue with a handgun. The case was remanded to file as part of a plea agreement with the District Attorney (Educated guess: He either cooperated against the other two defendants or there was a lack of evidence.). He was denied bond for the robbery charge. Judge Winston Kidd ordered him released from jail on February 28, 2014 and stated he had been in continuous custody since July 2012 for this charge and a forgery charge.

Mr. Carter was indicted and convicted of uttering a forgery after he wrote a bad check for $468. He was sentenced to ten years in prison with nine years suspended and given credit for time served in jail. He was set free immediately upon conviction. He was serving a sentence of two years of probation when the arrest took place last week.



MDOC filed a motion to revoke his probation and Judge Winston Kidd issued a warrant for his arrest on Feburary 13, 2015.  MDOC was probably aware of his transgressions as the media covered his arrest that morning but the warrant cites only his failure to report to his probation officer and filing a false address.  Judge Kidd ordered him brought before him for a hearing.   MDOC issued a hold on Carter to Rankin County.  However, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said Carter has yet to leave the facility although there is a "hold" placed on him by MDOC.  Thus he has yet to be brought before Judge Kidd for his hearing.  The new law (HB #585), Section 47-7-37 of the Mississippi Code, states that the revocation charges are dropped if the convict is not brought before a judge within thirty days after the arrests warrant is issued:

(2) At any time during the period of probation, the court, or judge in vacation, may issue a warrant for violating any of the conditions of probation or suspension of sentence and cause the probationer to be arrested.....

 (3) Whenever an offender is arrested on a warrant for an alleged violation of probation as herein provided, the department shall hold an informal preliminary hearing within seventy-two (72) hours of the arrest to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the person has violated a condition of probation. A preliminary hearing shall not be required when the offender is not under arrest on a warrant or the offender signed a waiver of a preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing may be conducted electronically. If reasonable cause is found, the offender may be confined no more than twenty-one (21) days from the admission to detention until a revocation hearing is held. If the revocation hearing is not held within twenty-one (21) days, the probationer shall be released from custody and returned to probation status....

 (10) Unless good cause for the delay is established in the record of the proceeding, the probation revocation charge shall be dismissed if the revocation hearing is not held within thirty (30) days of the warrant being issued.

The law also states that once arrested, the convict must have a hearing within 21 days or else he is returned to his probation status.   The law states that he can only be returned to jail for 90 or 120 days for each "technical" violation before a suspended sentence is imposed.*  In other words, no more "file and forget". 

 No hearing was held in Judge Kidd's court for Carter's probation violation despite the issuance of the warrant.  He is in the Rankin County jail.  MDOC only had to retrieve Carter from Rankin County SO, bring him before Judge Kidd, and then return him to Rankin County unless he was kept in MDOC custody.  


The Hinds County District Attorney has also not moved to reinstate the charges that were remanded to file in the other case as well.  

Kingfish note: That was the news, now for the pontificating.  The question must be asked if MDOC flubbed its chance to revoke his probation or impose the suspended sentence.  The law was changed in 2014 by the legislature to state that if a hearing is not held after arrest for the probation violation in 21 days, the convict is returned to probation status.  In other words, no file and forget by probation officers.  This part of the law is one of the changes made last year:

(11)  Unless good cause for the delay is established in the record of the proceeding, the probation revocation charge shall be dismissed if the revocation hearing is not held within thirty (30) days of the warrant being issued.
It appears that if MDOC does not retrieve its prisoner and bring him before the judge within thirty days after obtaining a warrant, it blows its chance to revoke his probation or impose the suspended sentence.

MDOC Commissioner Marshall Fisher has made quite a fuss this year over removing MDOC prisoners from county work centers.  Such prisoners are usually classified as non-violent and often have trusty status.  It would be nice if the Commissioner showed the same concern towards his violent criminals who are walking our streets and robbing our stores at gunpoint when they are arrested.  Does fighting with the Sheriffs qualify as "good cause"? 


*(5) (a) The probation and parole officer after making an arrest shall present to the detaining authorities a similar statement of the circumstances of violation. The probation and parole officer shall at once notify the court of the arrest and detention of the probationer and shall submit a report in writing showing in what manner the probationer has violated the conditions of probation. Within twenty-one (21) days of arrest and detention by warrant as herein provided, the court shall cause the probationer to be brought before it and may continue or revoke all or any part of the probation or the suspension of sentence. If the court revokes probation for a technical violation, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center not to exceed ninety (90) days for the first technical violation and not to exceed one hundred twenty (120) days for the second technical violation. For the third technical violation, the court may impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center for up to one hundred eighty (180) days or the court may impose the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. For the fourth and any subsequent technical violation, the court may impose up to the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. The period of imprisonment in a technical violation center imposed under this section shall not be reduced in any manner.

  * (b) If the offender is not detained as a result of the warrant, the court shall cause the probationer to be brought before it within a reasonable time and may continue or revoke all or any part of the probation or the suspension of sentence, and may cause the sentence imposed to be executed or may impose any part of the sentence which might have been imposed at the time of conviction. If the court revokes probation for a technical violation, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center not to exceed ninety (90) days for the first technical violation and not to exceed one hundred twenty (120) days for the second technical violation. For the third technical violation, the court may impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center for up to one hundred eighty (180) days or the court may impose the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. For the fourth and any subsequent technical violation, the court may impose up to the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. The period of imprisonment in a technical violation center imposed under this section shall not be reduced in any manner.

   (c) If the court does not hold a hearing or does not take action on the violation within the twenty-one-day period, the offender shall be released from detention and shall return to probation status. The court may subsequently hold a hearing and may revoke probation or may continue probation and modify the terms and conditions of probation. If the court revokes probation for a technical violation, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center operated by the department or a restitution center not to exceed ninety (90) days for the first technical violation and not to exceed one hundred twenty (120) days for the second technical violation. For the third technical violation, the court may impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center for up to one hundred and eighty (180) days or the court may impose the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. For the fourth and any subsequent technical violation, the court may impose up to the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. The period of imprisonment in a technical violation center imposed under this section shall not be reduced in any manner.

   (d) For an offender charged with a technical violation who has not been detained awaiting the revocation hearing, the court may hold a hearing within a reasonable time. The court may revoke probation or may continue probation and modify the terms and conditions of probation. If the court revokes probation for a technical violation the court shall impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center operated by the department or a restitution center not to exceed ninety (90) days for the first technical violation and not to exceed one hundred twenty (120) days for the second technical violation. For the third technical violation, the court may impose a period of imprisonment to be served in either a technical violation center or a restitution center for up to one hundred eighty (180) days or the court may impose the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. For the fourth and any subsequent technical violation, the court may impose up to the remainder of the suspended portion of the sentence. The period of imprisonment in a technical violation center imposed under this section shall not be reduced in any manner.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Criminals have nothing to fear in Mississippi, unless you're a white guy stupid enough to commit a hate crime. It's not unique to the Metro area. The Delta has mastered catch and release. If you commit a murder, again as long as it's not a hate crime, the governor will probably pardon you. Hell, you might even get a new car.

Anonymous said...

A hate crime in Hinds County, the Delta & Jackson is any crime committed by a white person on a black. This is why Jackson is becoming so depopulated by whites. The housing market has collapsed in Hinds county. Massive favoritism toward blacks in Hinds county and the Delta.

Anonymous said...

I wish KF was DA. He is really good. Excellent reporting again KF.

Anonymous said...

MDOC has no authority to revoke a suspended sentence which is what should have happened to this guy. The judge must do that. As for the probation revocation, I don't think this is a technical violation. I'm going to look at the laws when I have more time and report back.

Anonymous said...

All Jacksonian want is the right to have free food, free medical care, cheap housing and utility bills. Take that away and you'll have a thriving city, low crime and eventually good schools. It has nothing to do with race, just economics. If you want those benefits, move some place that has them. Residents would be just as poor as they were before and the city would be renewed.

Anonymous said...

Can someone interpret 3:26's economic theory in terms we can all understand?

Anonymous said...

4:45- If you can't pay for your pregnancies, children, clothing, food, and housing yourself, don't expect me to chip in. I'm tired of supporting you. I'm tired of seeing EBT used to buy steaks and food for large family picnics where everyone buys steaks and ribs with their be benefits, then send their kids to get a free lunch and breakfast at the schools. Mama's hair and nails are lookin good, everybody has brand new shoes, outfits, CD's and video games to share. Don't tell me I'm wrong, cause I check them out at the register. This only happens when the checks come out, though. Everything is paid in cash with $100 bills. That is the reason Jackson is the laughing stock of the south.


Anonymous said...

5:14 - you're an apparent stalker with too much time on your hands. How in the world do you know this about all Jacksonians?

Anonymous said...

5:14- There you go, making a criminal acusation when you know very well that persons working in retail see these things everyday. I just happened to speak up. Your attitude bares the message that if you don't like what you hear, make it into something illegal or racist. Your type is part of the problem that is driving everyone out of Jackson, which allows the suburbs to thrive. All I did was call out a problem in the system and many who are taking advantage of it.

Charlette Oswalt said...

Kingfish I think there are several assumptions here that need to be clarified…
2) At any time during the period of probation, the court, or judge in vacation, may issue a warrant for violating any of the conditions of probation or suspension of sentence and cause the probationer to be arrested.....
This occurred Judge Kidd issued the warrant
(3) Whenever an offender is arrested on a warrant for an alleged violation of probation as herein provided, the department shall hold an informal preliminary hearing within seventy-two (72) hours of the arrest to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the person has violated a condition of probation. A preliminary hearing shall not be required when the offender is not under arrest on a warrant or the offender signed a waiver of a preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing may be conducted electronically. If reasonable cause is found, the offender may be confined no more than twenty-one (21) days from the admission to detention until a revocation hearing is held. If the revocation hearing is not held within twenty-one (21) days, the probationer shall be released from custody and returned to probation status....
This is an informal administrative hearing how do you know that the agency did not conduct it?
No hearing was held in Judge Kidd's court for Carter's probation violation despite the issuance of the warrant. He is in the Rankin County jail. MDOC only had to retrieve Carter from Rankin County SO, bring him before Judge Kidd, and then return him to Rankin County unless he was kept in MDOC custody.
When placed on the docket by the court having jurisdiction, transporting him to his hearing becomes the HCSO responsibility to retrieve him from one county and transport him to his court hearing. Most courts do not revoke probationers while charges are pending in another county, they wait until the disposition on the new charges are complete.
Technically this individual by your own reporting was denied bond by Rankin County authorities. So, for lack of better words Rankin County has “first dibs” on him. Once they are ready to release him on bond, conclusion of charges, or any other means MDOC, Hinds County and Judge Kidd should be notified that Rankin County is done with him. That would serve as good cause for the delay; he has new pending charges pending in another jurisdiction that has denied him bond.
Although the procedures of the revocation of probation may be flawed, surely you do not suggest that Commissioner Fisher is advocating that violent offenders be released back on the streets of the state? When removing state inmates from the custody of the counties;Fisher has not said the counties can’t have the inmates to do the jobs, he has simply stated that the MDOC will no longer pay the counties the daily fee to house them. The counties talk about how much the inmate labor saves them so why would they expect the citizens of Mississippi to foot the bill for housing the inmates that contribute so much to their individual counties? As for Commissioner Fisher’s decision to remove the state inmates from Hinds County prior to the August 1, 2015 target date, how could he leave them after the agency has been cited by DOJ for violating the civil rights of the inmates being housed there? After publication of the report, if something had happened to one of those state inmates the state of Mississippi as well as Commissioner Fisher would have been liable.

Kingfish said...

Fisher needs to do his job. That means when a convicted felon goes on an armed robbery spree and the judge issues a warrant for his arrest, then his probation officers need to go get him out of the jail and bring him before the judge.

Rankin might have "first dibs" but no sentence is certain. On the other hand, you can pop the guy with more time now. Nice whitewash.

Carter was not arrested on the warrant. He was arrested for armed robbery in Flowood. The law says thirty days. They probably have to apply for a new warrant in order to revoke probation or impose the suspended sentence.

Anonymous said...

Disagree KF. It is not Fisher's (MDOC) job to transport him from Rankin to Kidd. And if the new law creates a time problem because Rankin is keeping the crook in jail, there is nothing except a few pieces of paper involved in the issuing on a new revocation. Don't know why you have such a hard on for Fisher on this case - it looks to me like the system might actually be working. Crook is in jail. If he gets out of (Rankin) jail, everybody else is standing by ready to put him back in. What's the problem?

Anonymous said...

Always wondered why Kingfish writes a blog rather than practices law...got it he doesn't understand it. Who actually thinks the Commissioner of MDOC or a probation officer can tell a circuit judge when to hold. Revocation hearing?

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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!!!

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