Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ivon pleads guilty. Was his moonlighting legal?

Highlights
-Former Hinds County Assistant District Ivon Johnson pleads guilty
-Johnson represented a criminal defendant  for nearly 2 years while ADA
-State law forbids prosecutors from representing criminal defendants.
-The Attorney General said there are no exceptions for ADA's.


Former Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Ivon Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy today.  The notice provided by the court states:


plea supplement accepted by the court. Sentencing set for 10/13/2016 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4A (Jackson) before District Judge Tom S. Lee. Defendant allowed to remain on present bond. (*Defendant may also retain passport for limited purpose of trip to Jamaica). (*Defendant appeared pro se'..)

 Federal prosecutors filed a bill of information last week that charged Johnson accepted bribes in exchange for reducing bonds for criminal defendants.  JJ broke the story last week when it reported the bill of information stated: 


The primary object of the conspiracy was to obtain money in exchange for favorable treatment in court proceedings in Hinds County, Mississippi..
1. IVON JOHNSON accepted money from a co-conspirator, totaling at least $15,000 throughout the conspiracy, on behalf of criminal defendants, including S.B., an individual charged with a felony offense in Hinds County, Mississippi.
2. On or about October 20, 2014, IVON JOHNSON, as an agent of the Hinds County District's Attorney Office, moved to reduce the bond amount of S.B. from approximately $15,000 to approximately $3,500 in exchange for approximately $500. Earlier post.

However, court records state Johnson engaged in some moonlighting while he was employed as an Assistant District Attorney.   Johnson began his employment as a Hinds County Assistant District Attorney on June 1, 2013.  The Justice Department indicted Marietta Harris on three counts of identity theft and related crimes in January 2013.  Mr. Johnson filed his entry of appearance with the U.S. District Court on March 7, 2013.   So far, so good. However, the docket report states on July 11, 2013:

Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Henry T. Wingate. APPEARANCES: Patrick Lemon, AUSA; Ivon Johnson, defense counsel; Chris Whitver, USPO. Change of Plea Hearing as to Marietta Harris held on 7/11/2013. The court continued the plea hearing to allow defendant and defense counsel to thoroughly discuss the charges in the indictment. The change of plea hearing will be rescheduled next week if defendant wishes to proceed otherwise a trial date will be set by the court. (Court Reporter Cherie Bond, 601-608-4186) (TRS) (Entered: 07/11/2013)

Johnson filed a motion to continue for Harris on December 5, 2013:


Judge Wingate issued another order of continuance to Harris on October 1, 2014.  The order states Johnson is still Harris's attorney:


The indictment was dismissed in 2015.  Johnson's name is not mentioned again in the docket after October 1, 2014.  However, that was one case involving Marietta Harris. The Justice Department again indicted her for the use of identity theft to defraud the government.   Johnson represented her.  The case began on June 25, 2013.  See the criminal docket for yourself:


It's so much easier to just post a screenshot than rewrite all of that information into a coherent paragraph.  An entry filed on August 26, 2013 states:


Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball:Arraignment and Initial Appearance as to Marietta Harris (1) Count 1,2-9,10-17 held on 8/22/2013 in Jackson, MS. Appearances: Patrick Lemon, AUSA; Ivon Johnson, retained attorney; Lynda Tillis, USPO. Reading of Indictment waived. Plea of not guilty to all counts entered. The government did not object to bond and the Court placed Defendant on bond. Defendant will be released after processing by U.S. Marshal Service. (Tape #8-22-2013-FKB; 17:17-17:35) (JEJ) (Entered: 08/26/2013)
Johnson's representation of Harris continued.  An August 22, 2013 trial order states:



Another entry was posted to the docket on September 20, 2013: 

Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Henry T. Wingate. APPEARANCES: Patrick Lemon, AUSA; Ivon Johnson, retained counsel; Chris Whitver, USPO. Change of Plea Hearing as to Marietta Harris held on 9/20/2013. The court did not accept the defendant's plea of guilty. (Court Reporter Cherie Bond, 601-608-4186) (TRS) (Entered: 09/20/2013)

Keep paying attention to these dates.   Johnson filed a motion to continue on September 20, 2013:


Harris pleaded guilty on March 5, 2014.  Guess who her lawyer was?

Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Henry T. Wingate. APPEARANCES: Patrick Lemon, AUSA; Ivon Johnson, retained counsel; Brooke Sullivan, USPO. Change of Plea Hearing as to Marietta Harris held on 3/5/2014. The defendant pled GUILTY to Count 1 of the indictment. The Plea Agreement and Plea Supplement were made a part of the record. The Plea Supplement will be filed UNDER SEAL. The defendant's factual basis statement was also made a part of the record. ( Sentencing set for 5/15/2014 10:30 AM in Courtroom 6A (Jackson) Wingate before District Judge Henry T. Wingate ). The defendant remained free on current bond under the same conditions and restrictions as set forth. Court Reporter/Transcriber Cherie Bond, Telephone Number : 601-608-4186. (TRS) (Entered: 03/05/2014)

You can't make this up:


The sentencing was postponed on May 23, 2014.  Johnson was still representing Harris:

It is starting to pile up, isn't it?  Johnson continued to represent Harris in November 2014.  A November 21, 2014 docket entry in the case states:

Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Henry T. Wingate. APPEARENCES: Patrick Lemon, AUSA; Ivon Johnson, retained counsel; defendant not present; Athena Staires, USPO. Sentencing held on 11/20/2014 for Marietta Harris. The court was advised the defendant was not present due to the hospitalization of her child. Sentencing was continued. The court requested the following report be submitted: 1) child's current condition, 2) when did the child's condtion worsen, 3) what type of treatment is the child receiving and over what period of time, and 4) what other relatives can care for the child if the defendant must be away. Further, the defendant was ordered to meet with the USPO at an appropriate time, and counsel should submit written objections to USPO and government's counsel. Court Reporter/Transcriber Gina Morris, Telephone Number : 601-608-4187. (TRS) (Entered: 11/21/2014)

Fast forward to another notice entered on April 8, 2015:

 Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Henry T. Wingate. APPEARANCES: Patrick Lemon, AUSA; Ivon Jonson, retained counsel; Athena Staires, USPO. Sentencing held on 4/8/2015 for Marietta Harris (1). ...... (Entered: 04/08/2015)

Johnson's representation of Harris apparently ended on April 30, 2015.  Attorney John Holaday notified the court that day that he was representing Harris.

Employment records obtained through a public records request state that Johnson's employment began on June 1, 2013 and ended on July 5, 2016.  The records state:

*His effective hire date was June 1, 2013. 
* The District Attorney increased his salary to $87,823 in May 2014.
* The District Attorney issued a $3,000 annual supplement to Johnson in October 2014.
* Johnson was terminated by the District Attorney on July 5, 2016.

The date is important because the Mississippi Code and Attorney General have something to say about Assistant District Attorneys acting as criminal defense attorneys in other jurisdictions. Section 25-31-36 of the Mississippi Code states:

(1) Except as otherwise provided herein, no district attorney shall engage in the private practice of law. However, district attorneys may continue to practice for a period of time, not to exceed six (6) months from the date of taking office, in any of the courts so far as to enable them to bring to a conclusion civil cases actually pending in which such district attorneys were employed when they were appointed or elected.
The Attorney General stated in a March 4, 1987 opinion for ironically Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters asked if the six-month grace period applied to criminal cases as well as civil cases since the law did not mention criminal cases.  The request apparently applied to Bobby Delaughter (Again, you can't make this up.).  The opinion states:

*2. In response to your second question, it is the opinion of this office that a legal assistant to the district attorney may not continue   in the practice of criminal law in any geographical or jurisdictional area. The only exception allowed a district attorney is in the conclusion of a civil matter and we are of the opinion no broader  privilege could be delegated to his legal assistant..... (Rest of opinion.  It is Opinion #121539 if the link does not work and readers want to search the AG opinions database.)

It appears Johnson's representation of Harris while he was employed as a Hinds County Assistant District Attorney may violate the law.

Stay tuned. 





19 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's sorta moot at this point...

Kingfish said...

Nothing stopping Sherri Flowers from prosecuting.

And justice for all. said...

Moot? That's like Hillary saying "what does it matter at this point" about Benghazi (sp?)! Knowing the background, the full story, is VERY important in the local case of criminal justice system abuse.

Anonymous said...

It's sorta moot at this point...

You're right. Jackson is already swirling the bowl. Let's allow the cesspool to completely flush out.

Anonymous said...

I would be disbarred and a convicted felon or at least non-adjudicated.

Anonymous said...

Yes, by all means hang a misd on him that carries zero jail time after he pled to a federal felony. He's singing. And representing himself. So, what should probably net no days in jail, might net the full 5 years, despite telling all.

Anonymous said...

Do they not teach ethics in law school anymore? Also, how in the world did this guy or RSS pass the ethics bar?

Anonymous said...

Do they not teach ethics in law school anymore? Also, how in the world did this guy or RSS pass the ethics bar?

Anonymous said...

I hope he smokes a lot of ganja while in Jamaica. He's coming back to no career...

Anonymous said...

@3:37

The ethics bar (MPRE) is pretty easy and Mississippi only requires a score of 75 to pass. That's the lowest allowable passing score in the US. There are about 5-10 other states that only require a 75, but most require 80 or 85.

Anonymous said...

He must be singing big time if the Judge allowed him to keep his passport so that he could go to Jamaica on his honeymoon! That is really bad news for RSS !!

Bob Marley said...

Passport not valid other than for trip to Jamaica, Mon? Naturally, the extradition process will be deemed not worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 5:31. Can't wait for that phony old black family good guy to go to prison. Jim Waide has no scruples. RSS is one POS.

Franklin said...

We need to get these prosecutors off the streets

Derrell Ray said...

That gave me a headache reading it shitttt

Anonymous said...

The AG has statutory authority to prosecute this as a public integrity crime.

Riddle Me This... said...

The AG is familiar with public integrity?

Anonymous said...

To all you young aspiring Attorneys, never put your career in the hands of a criminal. Any amount of money you take illegally, will cost you and your loved ones a life of pain. If you're not a believer, imagine you're in prison and about to take a shower. "Don't drop that soap". That shit is real!!!

Anonymous said...

Y'all back off and hush. 9:59 is testifying.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

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!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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