The Hinds County District Attorney and Attorney General traded licks in Hinds County Circuit Court today. District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith asked the court to dismiss all charges against him. Mr. Smith was arrested two weeks ago on six charges of illegally helping criminal defendants. (A.G. press release) The charges are misdemeanors. Mr. Smith is represented by Tupelo attorney JIM Waaaaaaiiiiide. Circuit Judge Jeff Weill barred Mr. Smith from handling cases before him after the arrest took place.
Mr. Smith asked for copies of transcripts and documents filed in sealed proceedings last week. His motion stated:
This Court has entered an Administrative Order of Immediate Temporary Disqualification of the Hinds County District Attorney attached hereto as Exhibit “A.” This Order references sealed proceedings in Cause Nos. 251-16-26, 251-16-355, and 251-16-543..... Smith believes that Cause Nos. 251-16-26, 251-16-355, and 251-16-543 include:
A. Sealed hearing before Judge Weill regarding an investigation of Smith by the Attorney General, which was held on or about April 4, 2016;
B. Sealed hearing before Judge Weill held on June 21, 2016, wherein the Court, on request of the Attorney General, suppressed subpoenas issued by the District Attorney; a
C. Sealed hearing before Special Master Amy Whitten held in January 2016 entitled, “In Re: Grand Jury Proceedings” and concerning quashing of subpoenas issued by Robert Smith...
Smith believes that the sealed transcripts contain evidence which is favorable to him...
Exhibit “A” also relies upon a sealed order of Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green and a sealed report of Special Master Amy Whitten. See Exhibit “A,” p. 4. The Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution require that Smith know “the nature of the charge” against him. Therefore, Smith is also entitled to a copy of the sealed Order of Judge Green and the sealed report of Special Master Amy Whitten.
Mr. Smith also filed a request for discover at the same time as the motion was filed. It is posted below.
However, Mr. Smith is not finished fighting the prosecutors. The D.A. filed a motion to dismiss today. It is posted below as well. His motion states
1. Miss. Const. § 175 requires “indictment by a grand jury” in order to remove any public officer from office for “willful neglect of duty or misdemeanor in office.”
2. Smith has been charged by affidavit, not indictment, for violating Miss. Code Ann. § 97-11-3, which provides that a “district attorney shall,” among other things, not “advise, . . . a person charged with a crime. . . .” The penalty is being “removed form office, and rendered incapable thereafter of filling any office of profit or honor in this state.” Id.
The Attorney General responded today to the motions for discovery and sealed documents last week but did not respond today to the motion to dismiss. Assistant Attorney General Larry Baker argued in his response that the A.G. had no secret documents or transcripts and asked the court to give any such documents to the D.A. for his defense:
At this point in time, the undersigned counsel for the State of Mississippi have no knowledge or information regarding whether any transcripts of sealed proceedings in Hinds County Circuit Court presently exist regarding the three cases mentioned by the Defendant in his Motion....No hearing date has been set for the charges.
To the extent any such transcripts exist, the State of Mississippi has no objection to the release of such transcripts to both the Defendant and the State of Mississippi, provided the Court determines that they relate to this case and are necessary and material to the Defendant’s preparation of his defense in this case....
D.A. fires back at A.G.
Weill disqualifies D.A.