Friday, August 14, 2015

Professional courtesy?

A prominent local attorney has managed to escape punishment for a DUI, as her case has sat on the docket of  Hinds County Court Judge Melvin Priester, Sr., since April 2014. 

La'Verne Edney was arrested for a first-offense DUI on December 16, 2013 in Clinton.  She is an attorney at Baker Donelson and serves on various boards in the Jackson area. Ms. Edney was convicted of the offense on March 12, 2014.  The police report (p.9 in documents posted below) states police responded to a call by a concerned motorist who followed Ms. Edney as she careened all over the road. It also states she drove on a shredded tire for nearly two miles, drove on and off the curb on the frontage road, and finally stopped when she pulled into the driveway of her Clinton home.  The police administered a field sobriety test and took her into custody.  She refused to blow into an Intoxylizer.

The report states that "during the booking process Edney was fairly uncooperative, refusing to be photographed, and sign paperwork."   She pleaded nolo contendre and was convicted in Clinton municipal Court.  The court fined her $800 and suspended a jail sentence of 48 hours. 

She filed a notice of Appeal on April 11, 2014 in the County Court of Hinds County.  She filed an appeal later in the  month.  Nothing has appeared on the docket for the case since April, 2014.  The case was assigned to Judge Melvin Priester, Sr.  Hinds County Attorney Sherri Flowers has not returned phone calls seeking comment on the case.   The sentence has not been imposed pending appeal. There is nothing else to report.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...


#LawyersAreMORESpecialThanYou

Anonymous said...

What does a nolo contendre plea get you? I know it means that you don't contest the charges, but I thought that was like a "no fault" to basically keep it off your record. Why appeal after a nolo contendre conviction?

Anonymous said...

Other than embarrassing this lady, what is remotely newsworthy about this "gotcha"? Why is this posted? To be sure, I don't know her, but genuinely want to understand why this is even reported?

Kingfish said...

These are all players in a certain power structure, the judge included.

Anonymous said...

nolo means "no contest". it is not an admission of guilt. its commonly utilized in lower courts where it is almost impossible to get a fair hearing.

have no clue why Priester or his administrator haven't set the case for trial.

maybe stan ought to run against Flowers next time and clean the mess up...

Anonymous said...

Other than hassling Kingfish anonymously, what is remotely the purpose behind your continued whinning? Why even comment? Why do you even bother to read anything here?

Anonymous said...

La'Verne Edney worked at Brunini a few years ago. KF she goes my La'Verne and doesn't use Andrea professionally. Good work KF.

Anonymous said...

I don't see this as a "gottcha" article. I see this as a public concern. People who are impaired should not drive, PERIOD. Whatever it takes to get them off the road should be done. Rarely is one stopped the very first time they drive drunk. When one gets a DUI, it is usually after numerous other times they were not caught. You, me, our children, all other drivers, pedestrians, and occasionally people asleep in their homes are vulnerable to assault by these impaired drivers hurling along in a very heavy missle. Death and permanent disability are the result of their inability to handle a vehicle while drunk. You know it and I know it and we all want to blame someone else and turn our heads from this danger. We all pay for the drunks' behavior with our insurance and our lives.

Kingfish said...

The story here is not the DUI itself. JJ gets interested in DUI's when possible abuse of power is involved or it is relevant to something else. In this case, a case is just sitting on the docket with no action for over a year and a half.

Anonymous said...

Different profession, different clique, and different rac3 - this case would have appeared before Judge Priester. That's why this is 'newswothy'.Careening off the road, swerving, driving on the curbs and on a shredded tire - not just your regular DUI. Uncooperative; refusing to blow - I expect I would be serving my time and paying my fine by now.

Nolo in justice or municipal court is not unusual. But I bet my case wouldn't 'get lost' in Judge Priester's court like this one did. Equal justice for all is expected, but this is, after all, Hinds County.

Anonymous said...

Case is likely sitting idle b/c LV and Sherri are BFF. Not going to cast stones at LV b/c it's not my place. Tough situation.

But it's all in who you know.

Anonymous said...

I have several DUI cases which have been pending in Hinds County court for years. These folks aren't lawyers, doctors, or anyone of that ilk. Why aren't they listed here?? Must not fit KF's agenda which is either:

1. Lawyers are protecting each other (KF's jealous he can't be a lawyer) OR

2. This is a "black thang".

Kingfish said...

Then give us the names of the cases so I can post them up here.

Anonymous said...

PUT UP 10:41 AM. Don't yap about it, do it.

Anonymous said...

The Judge should recuse himself from this case. This woman may need help to free herself from an addiction that could take her life or the lives of others on the road. I believe the MS Bar has a program to screen for impairment, depression, addiction, etc... By not addressing this DUI the judge may be putting this woman at risk. We have a had too many lawyer suicides lately. Intervention and perhaps appropriate legal punishment can be life saving for this lawyer.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how someone can claim this is not newsworthy. Mrs. Edney was at one point considered to be on the short list of people to be nominated by the President of the United States for a district judge position in north Mississippi, and if a democrat wins the presidency in 2016 it is likely she would be considered again. The video of that arrest and booking would be interesting if it shows what Kingfish has reported.

Anonymous said...

Great reporting. No one is above the law. Even a black attorney

Anonymous said...

Agree 11:14am
The news covered when Precuous died but doesn't cover his silly cases and the horrible aftermath he left behind. How is this not newsworthy? La'Verne was the head of the MS volunteer lawyers program awhile back. It is newsworthy and the tape of the DUI should be released. They plastered that St Andrews couple all over the news and their booking shots. They weren't driving and no one got a DUI that night. My point... Both should get the same amount of press. Lawyers get preferential treatment over doctors? Color issue? Who knows. But they are all newsworthy. Good reporting KF

Anonymous said...

Why is she driving a vehicle with a Carolina tag???

Anonymous said...

Any attorney who practices in Hinds County knows that it is not uncommon for appeals to linger for this long, regardless of who the party is.

Anonymous said...

12:01 - that is my own experience on the civil side. Appeals to county/circuit court from justice/county court gather dust.

Anonymous said...

Awe send her to an OH to recover. Oh wait she is a prominent lawyer and doesn't have to follow the rules.

Matt Eichelberger said...

I hate to ruin the party for y'all (not really) by being all "criminal defense lawyer" about this, but the probable cause problem is likely why the City of Clinton isn't pursuing the appeal. They've got a smart lawyer, and he won't waste his time on s case he won't win.

(Telephone tips are not sufficient probable cause absent other indicia of reliability. It's my understanding the cops didn't see her drive, meaning they had no basis to enter her property and subject her to a search.)

Anonymous said...

Cop stopped her while driving on a completely deflated tire. Sounds good enough to this criminal defense lawyer.

Burke said...

La'Verne is over-all a wonderful person, but it looks like she has a drinking problem. I hope she can deal with it better than this.

Many of you at one time have read "Mississippi: The Closed Society," by Jim Silver, about the white power structure in the state up until the 60s. It bears re-reading. Now we have a sort of black power structure. Is this "bottom rail on top," or have we made progress? I believe that we have made progress. But then I behold Bennie Thompson, who I am certain is proud to be compared to Jim Eastland. Oh well, the aggrieved we shall always have with us.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:51

The cop didn't stop her.

Anonymous said...

Complaint by the member of the public called in essentially states that a subject is driving on and off the road in a dangerous fashion. The responding officer allegedly observes a subject operating as the sole occupant of what allegedly is the suspect vehicle. The responding officer's examination of the suspect vehicle allegedly finds damage (flat tire), possibly consistent with the reports from the reporting witness. Suspect allegedly can't really explain much of which needs to be explained. Suspect also allegedly appears to be consuming/under the influence. Later police investigation allegedly finds and documents additional evidence which may support what the reporting witness and the officer observed.

The lack of probable cause is?

Anonymous said...

This case originated in the City of Clinton. The Prosecutor for the City of Clinton will still be prosecuting the case on appeal in Hinds County Court. As such, Sherri Flowers will not have any involvement in the prosecution of the case. Your phone call should be to the City of Clinton Prosecutor, not Sherri Flowers.

Anonymous said...

4:00 - the report says the cop made contact with the vehicle as it was pulling onto another road. I read that as he stopped her as opposed to he hit her.

Matt Eichelberger said...

@4:04 and 2:51:

"The reasonable suspicion here at issue requires that a tip be reliable in its assertion of illegality, not just in its tendency to identify a determinate person." That's our MS Supreme Court in Cook v. State (159 So.3d 534 (Miss. 2015)) quoting the USSC's opinion in Florida v. J.L. (529 US 266, 272 (2000)).

The cop did not see her driving erratically. He saw her pulling into her driveway. At that point, he had no probable cause to conduct a Terry stop. It does not matter that the caller correctly identified a driver. The cop saw nothing illegal before he approached her.

I've won a DUI trial against the City of Clinton on this exact issue before Judge Priester. The actions of the Clinton Police officer were without constitutional basis pursuant to Cook and its predecessors.

@4:00 - The redacted part is a street address, not just a street.

Anonymous said...

The doctor couple from St Andrews are on the front page but La'Verne is having Matt explain away her DUI on some BS. Who is her attorney? Let them explain it to the judge (an impartial one) so she is treated like the rest of the public. No special treatment for an impaired attorney who probably needs rehab. The judge is not doing her a favor when the next time she hurts herself of some innocent on the road. Hey Matt? Do you want this prominent attorney drunk driving on your street someday soon? Where is the video?

Anonymous said...

Guess that's because you're so skilled and not because of the law.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-9490_3fb4.pdf

Anonymous said...

For all of you non practicing criminal attorney commenters: the case originated in Clinton Municipal Court. Ms. Edney appealed the case to County Court. It is the responsibility of the Clinton Prosecutor, Kevin Rundlett, to either set a docket call for all the cases on appeal from Clinton Municipal Court or set the appeal for trial. In April, 2014 until December, 2014 Judge Melvin Priester was the judge for the Civil Docket. Therefore, this case has only been assigned to Judge Priester since January, 2015. Judge Priester nor his administratior will set appeals for trial. If/when the prosecutors or staff from municipalities contact the administrator she will give them available dates. It is left up to them (prosecutors) what they do with the dates. Why not contact Mr. Rundlett and ask him why the case haven't been set. Better yet contact the court before you start spreading rumors that aren't true or at least get the facts straight. Sherri Flowers has nothing to do with this.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Once again, Kingfish has given false information about Judge Priester. That appeal was filed April 11, 2014. In addition to the fact that there may be problems associated with unpaid appeal or court cost, Judge Prieater didn't start presiding over the criminal docket until January 5, 2015. Moreover, in County Court, a judge does not prepare his own docket. Finally, be reminded that this is a misdemeanor; fine and court cost at worst.

Anonymous said...

FYI: Once again, Kingfish has given false information about Judge Priester. That appeal was filed April 11, 2014. In addition to the fact that there may be problems associated with unpaid appeal or court cost, Judge Prieater didn't start presiding over the criminal docket until January 5, 2015. Moreover, in County Court, a judge does not prepare his own docket. Finally, be reminded that this is a misdemeanor; fine and court cost at worst.

The System Stinks said...

I paid that fat ass DUI Attorney, Vic Carmody, over 10,000 dollars a few years ago, plus court costs and fines and the total was 13,665. There was no probably cause for the stop on the Natchez Trace, the ranger lied through his damned teeth, I quickly told the punk-ranger I had a loaded weapon and wound up getting shit canned by the federal magistrate. It all depends on who you are and who you know. Carmody prepared zero defense and never even saw my face until the day before trial,long after he had cashed my check.

The ranger lied through his teeth, had no reason to pull me over, lied about beer cans in the vehicle and lied about my wearing contacts. He also lied saying I refused to pull over for a mile....when in reality, there were orange cones for a mile and I COULD NOT pull over but had my signal light on and drove ten mph. He claimed he saw me put a 'shiny object in the garbage receptacle at a turnout on The Trace. He lied.

The prosecuting attorney (federal) said we could review the tape two days before trial but then, magically, no tape was available. It disappeared. So, there was suddenly nothing that I could use to corroborate my testimony. I blew .08 when just two months earlier, .09 was the legal limit. I had drunk one beer out of a twelve pack purchased fifteen minutes earlier. The ranger testified that 11 cans were in the box.

The whole F***ing system sucks. And it depends on who you are.

Kingfish said...

I was waiting for 7:32 to show up.

1. Of course the case wasn't assigned to Judge Priester until January this year. Judge Patton was the senior county court judge and handled the criminal docket. Judge Skinner kept the Youth Court and Judge Priester took over the criminal docket when the new terms began this year. I said the case was assigned to Judge Priester, not that he took it over in April of last year. The point is, it has still sat on the docket for a long time with no action at all.

2. What you said about the Clinton prosecutor is usually the case. I did call the county prosecutor. She could have explained that to me but chose not to return my call. When I was in Clinton getting the records, they of course said it was the county prosecutor's job to handle the case. What you said is what the circuit clerk's office told me as well.

3. No one has said this was not a misdemeanor. Its common knowledge a first offense DUI is a misdemeanor.

4. Notice how many attorneys are on this site defending the fact it takes a case like this 2 years, three years, or even longer for such a case to get adjudicated. They have no problem with such a system and don't like any criticism of it whatsoever. They of course, have a vested interest in such slowness.

Anonymous said...

7:41 - .08 has been the legal limit under federal and state law for many years. When first passed by the John Bell admin. back in '70, MS was .10 till the feds strongarmed all the states.

Was the ladies house searched as a result of the arrest?

Anonymous said...

"I quickly told the punk-ranger I had a loaded weapon and wound up getting shit canned by the federal magistrate."

A drunk making a veiled threat of lethal violence to a federal ranger should expect such a result. Dumbass.

Anonymous said...

11:17 - check your time frames here. Yes, .08 has been the legal limit for many years in MS, but it didn't start in the John Bell administration (1968-1971). Memory tells me it was in the early '80s in MS, but will not state so without looking it up. But I will bet that it was well after the 'one-arm bandit' left the Gov's mansion.

Anonymous said...

I got my DUI in April 2012. Plead no contest in April 2013. Still on the docket. No complaints or special treatment here! The one time I won't complain about the Hinds County court system.

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