Hinds County District Attorney Arrested, Accused of Illegally Consulting Criminal Defendants
Jackson, Miss.- Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was arrested today following a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI into allegations that Smith illegally advised or defended individuals charged with crimes, Attorney General Jim Hood announced today.
Smith, 45, of Jackson, was arrested at his office by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. Smith was charged with six counts of violating Mississippi Code Section 97-11-3, a misdemeanor. That law states that the attorney general or district attorney shall not “consult, advise, counsel or defend” a person charged with a crime or misdemeanor.
The joint investigation between the Attorney General’s Office and FBI revealed that Smith violated Mississippi law related to his involvement with two different criminal defendants while serving as district attorney.
Smith was booked into the Hinds County Jail. If convicted, Smith could be removed as district attorney and prohibited from holding any other elected office or government position. Additionally, he faces a $500 fine.
“It is particularly sad to have to prosecute and seek removal from office a fellow prosecutor,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “We greatly appreciate the hard work of the FBI on this case and we hope to resolve this as soon as possible.”
“Those who are sworn to uphold the law are not above the law,” said Donald Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “Though today’s charges are only allegations, public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It impacts everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts. The FBI appreciates the close cooperation on this matter with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.”
As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.