Monday, September 5, 2016

DA fights the Mississippi Bar

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith  made it quite clear he is not going to meekly accept a complaint filed against him by the Mississippi Bar. The Bar submitted the complaint to the Mississippi Supreme Court in July after two Hinds County judges complained to the Bar about Mr. Smith's conduct in and out of the courtroom.  Mr. Smith filed a response on August 16.   Earlier post with copy of bar complaint.


Judge Priester's Bar Complaint

The Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Division filed several charges against Christopher Butler.  Judge Melvin Priester, Jr. attempted to hold a preliminary hearing for Butler in March.   Judge Priester filed a bar complaint against Mr. Smith that was based on his alleged conduct in his courtroom that day.  Earlier post on hearing. Copy of transcript included in post.

 Judge Priester stated:


8.  Mr.  Smith  interrupted  the  proceedings  and  accused  the  Attorney General's  Office of misconduct in an unrelated  investigation.

9. Judge Priester ultimately  postponed  the preliminary  hearing in the Butler  matter due to  Smith's  conduct...
 (Smith) appeared before me in my courtroom and proceeded to act irrational, manic. and virtually out of  control. Further, he could not stand still for any period of time and continuously moved back and forth from his seat, to the podium or up and down in his seat, even as other attorneys were addressing the bench. I have attached hereto a copy of the transcript for the sake of time; and while recognizing you cannot get an emotional flavor from this document that nevertheless. it must be taken into consideration.....

Mr. Smith  disagreed with Judge Priester.   The District Attorney said he

did not "disrupt a tribunal" or commit any other act of professional misconduct. As demonstrated by the preliminary hearing transcript, Exhibit "A," Smith did attend the preliminary hearing of Christopher Butler, where he properly brought to County Court Judge Melvin  Priester's attention:

1. that drugs had been planted on Butler;

2. that at the request of the Attorney General, Circuit Judge Green had ex parte suppressed subpoenas which Smith had issued to assistant attorneys general and a circuit judge. The subpoenas were issued to investigate allegations of threats against Butler by law enforcement officers and an employee of the Attorney General; and

3. that under Williams v. State, 184 So.3d 908 (Miss. 2014), the Attorney General has no authority to bring criminal charges without the consent of the district attorney.

Keep in mind this was a preliminary hearing for some consumer fraud charges.   However, the D.A. submitted several affidavits from people who witnessed Butler's arrest for drug charges by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.  The prosecution for those charges are currently being handled by Circuit Judge Jeff Weill.   Mr. Smith provided the affidavit of one Stanley Smith.   Mr. Smith claimed that the drugs were his (p.42):

I am Stanley D. Smith DOB July 5, 1968 of 3916 Hollywood Avenue, Jackson Mississippi 39213. Christopher Butler myself and several other people and were standing out in a yard on Hollywood next to Christopher's house. We observed two narcotics agents pass us in a maroon impala with tinted windows between 4 P.M. and 4:30 on April 3, 2012.

At that time, everyone in the yard began to leave because the narcotics officers were riding down the street. I borrowed Christopher Butlers blue avalanche because I dionot want to walk down the street to my house with my backpack. I had marijuana in a backpack that still had tags on it. I had a pound or better of marijuana that was basically shake and see~ In another plastic bag I had 2-3 ounces of shake and I had three pounds of marijuana in that same bag. I had another package that contained nearly a pound I had some small sacks of marijuana in the side pocket and digital scales and sandwich.bags. I then went in the house, where I told my brother, James Smith, that ifhe had any drugs to get them out of the house to me because narcotics officers were in the area. He had some crack in one sandwich bag tied up in the corner which he placed in the backpack that was in the back of the truck.. I went in the kitchen to check my meat that was thawing, but it was not ready to cook. I then went back outside to see if the narcotics agents were still in the area At that time I walked back down the street. Some other guys decided to start playing cards so I joined in I began to play cards. Christopher Butler came from his house, walked next door and asked me for the keys to his truck. I gave Christopher Butler the keys to his truck and told him that the truck was in my yard. I asked Christopher if was be about to leave and he said "no". I did not mention that my backpack was in the bed of the blue Avalanche. I tried to call Christopher when I realized that he had got in the truck and left. I later learned that Christopher Butler was stopped and the police found the bag in the back of the truck. I am very sorry that this has happened but I must be responsible for my property.
 Mr. Smith's brother testified that some of the drugs found in the bust were his drugs as well (p.43):

I am James Earl Smith DOB September 11, 1962. My brother Stanley walked in the house between 4 P.M and 4:30 on April 3, 2012. He told me that there were police riding down the street and if I had any drugs to get them out of the house. I placed a small amount out crack cocaine in the black book bag in the bed of Christopher Butler's blue Avalanche. I later learned that Christopher Butler drove off in the truck before I could get my drugs out of the bag in the back of the truck. The crack in the black backpack book bag belonged to me.
Mr. Smith also submitted the affidavit of Josh Ledford.  Mr. Ledford provides more details about the MBN raid (p.49).


 Judge Green's Bar Complaint

The Attorney General attempted to quash several grand jury subpoenas issued by the D.A in January. (p.3)  Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green appointed Amy Whitten as a special master to hear the A.G.'s petition.  The D.A. allegedly tried to contact Ms. Whitten ex parte...

 The Bar said the rules bar lawyers from communicating with judge's ex parte during a proceeding, attempting to disrupt a tribunal, and attacking the integrity of a judge.  (p.4).  Judge Green stated in a letter to the Bar on February 17:

 l am appalled at your malicious and unprofessional statements made during a February 12, 2016 news conference. Your conduct was intentional, retaliatory and improperly coercive at a time when l had under advisement an issue dealing with the impropriety of subpoenas you issued. Consequently, your accusations caused my family and I to endure unflattering, destructive and dangerous repercussions from the public. Your statements were intentional, and you knew or should have known they would evoke unwarranted outrage by Hinds County citizens. (Dear Judge Green: At least he didn't do it in Iambic Pentameter.)

 Judge Green also reported to the bar in a handwritten letter attached to the letter quoted above:


I am attaching other documents that proceeded our DA's news conference on 2/12/16.  I had under consideration grand jury subpoena that were challenged by the Atty Gen & his staff, the MDOC Marshall Fisher and staff (formerly of MBN).  I appointed Amy Whitten as special master.  The DA attempt to contact and harass her. I issued a clarification order prohibiting ex parte contact by him or any other party.  He never ceased.  ...
On 2/9/16, the DA slipped a handwritten note under my office door "trying to get me to meet with his mother."  I know of his mother but have no personal relationship with Alice Smith.  I emailed him to let him know the note and request was odd and improper.

The next day his mom left a voicemail at my office. She said it was left in response to me but I never talked to her.  She was a bit irate and demanded respect and said she knew "what to do".  I can email you the voicemail for review. 
 Mr. Smith declares that Judge Green's actions are illegal and without precedent:

Smith agrees that Judge Green, through ex parte communication with representatives of the  Mississippi Attorney General's office, suppressed subpoenas, including subpoenas served upon assistant attorneys general Shaun Yurtkuran and Patrick Beasley. Without prior notice to the district attorney, Judge Green then appointed Amy Whitten as Special Master. District Attorney Smith knows of no statutory authority for appointment of a Special Master, at taxpayer expense, in a criminal case. Such an appointment is an unlawful expenditure of taxpayer money. being appointed.

Smith admits that he did have a press conference because the public has a legitimate interest in knowing about unlawful conduct, even by a judge. Smith had ample factual basis for believing Judge Green was issuing unlawful orders in criminal cases. See, for example, documents contained in Exhibit "F." These are documents evidencing Judge Green's releasing criminal defendants under the supervision of a private company. There is no statutory authority to use taxpayer funds to pay a private company for supervising pretrial detainees, and some of the orders so releasing criminal defendants were without appropriate notice to the district attorney.

Smith's note to Judge Green was not related to any pending case. It was written because Smith's mother had requested to meet with Judge Green, since she wanted Smith and Judge Green to "get along."

 The District Attorney further argued that the Mississippi Bar can not regulate his right to free speech:

His speech was not designed to influence any adjudicatory body. There was no "legitimate interest" in "regulating the speech."1 '·[I]t is a prized American privilege to speak one's mind, although not always with perfect good taste, ... And an enforced silence, however limited, solely in the name of preserving the dignify of the bench, would probably engender resentment, suspicion,and contempt . . . .
Kingfish note: Some commenters have asked why the Magnolia Bar is not handling this case.  There is a really simple answer.  The Mississippi Bar is empowered by the Mississippi Code and the Mississippi Supreme Court to regulate and discipline the legal profession.  The Magnolia Bar is just an advocacy group for minority lawyers.  The legislature and Mississippi Supreme Court would have to act before it could assume the regulatory powers of the Mississippi Bar.  Keep in mind all minority lawyers belong to the Mississippi Bar as well.



22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does the average reader of this website really think that the Magnolia Bar is separate but equal to the Mississippi Bar?! Stuck in the 50's much?

Anonymous said...

Surely you jest - people wondering why the Magnolia Bar isn't handling this case? Just because it affects a black DA? I know we have become a very racially divided state, but people actually believe we have a separate judicial system for black officials?

Anonymous said...

Gotta hand it to the slime ball and his slime ball attorney......keep throwing that spaghetti hoping some of it will stick.

Anonymous said...

The Mississippi Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction and enforcement of attorney discipline. The Mississippi Bar serves as the prosecutor. Technicality for sure, but that's the only role of the Mississippi Bar in attorney discipline, receive complaints, review complaints, present them to the Bar Commissioners who acts as a "grand jury" to determine when a formal complaint should be filed, investigate the facts, and then send a prosecutor to the tribunal and ultimately the Supreme Court. Formal Bar Complaints are not open records, so its interesting that this one is available to the public...

OJ Is Guilty As Sin... said...

Desperate people do desperate shit. Shuler be a desperate person.

Anonymous said...

I hope RSS goes after Judge Green and her "cozy" relationship with Dennis Grant. Green has now influenced Judge Kidd and Judge Priester into using Grant for Pretrial defendants monitoring. Stay tuned for the federal investigation on that mess.

Anonymous said...

This situation is a total waste of of tax payer dollars and an embarrassment to the Mississippi Bar and the State of Mississippi. Robert Smith is a complete fool.

Anonymous said...

Amen!!!
TNS OR NOT...

Notta Barrister said...

What is 'pretrial defendants monitoring'?

Anonymous said...

"Pretrial defendants monitoring"... If a defendant bonds out of jail while awaiting a trial on the merits of the case they must register with Dennis Grant and be on his private companies "house arrest" ankle bracelet. This monitoring cost $150 a month. No other monitoring companies are permitted, the defendant is court ordered to use Dennis Grant. In short, if you are charged with a crime, guilty or not, and you bond out of jail you have to pay this guy $150 a month and be on house arrest. There has not been a public bid for this business.

Notta Barrister said...

The sole-source arrangement aside,what gives 'the government' the right to place you under 'house arrest', as it were, if you have not been convicted?

Anonymous said...

WOW! Great point 7:42 AM. It's like all these other surprising questions in life. Example. Are you covered by your home/auto insurance if something occurs? Is your Doctor treating you for the condition you have? Is the pilot drunk in the cockpit? Is there really a GOD? Is the water safe to drink in Jackson? Don't you just love heading down roads you have never traveled before?

Anonymous said...

The government doesn't have a right to place one on house arrest.
It is a condition of bond oftentimes. You could just choose to stay in jail.

Anonymous said...

It ain't the norm for a DA to have so much interest in an INMATE/CONVICT and then to put himself in this crazy mess over it.
Come on RSS have a big dose of reality. It's A loose, loose situation! Have a talk with your mother and check yourself into a treatment facility. Then ask the court for forgiveness and re-group. The citizens of Hinds County will Re-Elect you.

Anonymous said...

So if I understand correctly, RSS contends Butler was framed based on (1) the camera footage in Butler's home showing the cops finding weed hidden in the autumn/ottoman - but NOT planting it there; (2) testimony from "Josh" saying essentially nothing, and (3) affidavits from two brothers (dealers, apparently) saying they accidentally left some other MJ in the back of Butler's truck, and they're really sorry for the mixup.

The camera footage argument is just laughable. According the Josh, the cops acted as if they had no idea the cameras existed - so where is the footage of them actually planting the weed if that's what they did??? Smith acts like it's just impossible to think a cop searching a home might look under the damned couch cushions. And who cares if a cop inadvertently calls an ottoman a "couch" in his written report? That's a damned sight better than calling it an "autumn."

The affidavits of the two brothers raise a couple of other questions - (1) What does the weed they left in the back of Butler's truck have to do with the weed found in his home? And if the brothers admit putting it there, doesn't this prove the cops didn't plant it? (2) Why aren't they being charged with anything by the D.A.?? They're apparently confessing to possession with intent to distribute. (And BTW, the description of the guy rushing around hiding drugs and then checking the meat he plans to cook for dinner to see if it's thawed, and then rushing back to play cards, sounds like a scene from Goodfellas).

Or am I missing something, Kingfish? There's no way, based on what Smith has produced so far, anyone can seriously believe the cops planted anything on Butler. If anything, the tapes exonerate the cops. I'm trying to give RSS the benefit of the doubt and at least look at his evidence, but this just sounds like half-baked conspiracy crap no judge or jury would take seriously.

Anonymous said...

Definitely TNS.

Anonymous said...

8:45 - Is that Denver weed or Colombian?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else read Chris Butler's letters in the attachments? Man, I feel sorry for that kid, caught in the middle between RSS and AG.

Is this true, KingFish? 500,000 bond on this $500 pretense charge? Murderers have lower bonds than that.

No one is covering the kid's angle.

Anonymous said...

Butler is not a kid. Butler is a criminal, a thug and a socioeconomic drain on society.
To refer to Butler as a kid is an insult to baby goats of all nations.

Anonymous said...

Hey 3:56, is that you Jerry?

Anonymous said...

Problem is with the bar complaint, is Adam Kilgore is handling the matter. a complete idiot

Anonymous said...

If the only monitoring company being used is Dennis Grant, then it looks improper even if it's not. And surely Hinds County is not paying for any pre-trial monitoring.

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