Note: The transcript of the May recording between Ivon Johnson and the D.A. is posted below. There is a whole bunch of shucking the corn but nothing really substantive in it although the D.A. gripes a bit about Judge Weill.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith subpoenaed Circuit Judge Jeff Weill's staff attorney to appear at a hearing scheduled to take place this morning in State v. Robert Shuler Smith. However, Kate Steiner filed a motion to quash the subpoena yesterday. Special Circuit Judge Larry Roberts will preside over the hearing today.
Mr. Smith issued the subpoena on October 21. Ms. Steiner retained well-respected attorney Frank Trapp. Ms. Steiner said that the subpoena was a violation of the law since the "thought processes and records" of judges are "protected from disclosure". The U.S. Supreme Court extended the protection to a judge's employees such as a a law clerk or staff attorney.
Ms. Steiner claims the subpoena was only issued after she responded to an email:
Further, the Defendant's subpoena of Ms. Steiner came only after Ms. Steiner responded to an October 19, 2016 email from defense counsel, which stated an intent to subpoena Judge Weill for the same hearing. Ms. Steiner responded and informed counsel and Judge Roberts that: 1) Judge Weill will be out of state on the date of the hearing and is unavailable; and 2) The described purpose for issuing the subpoena is patently improper... Discourteously, counsel issued a subpoena for Judge Weill in disregard of his planned out of state trip. Counsel then added Ms. Steiner to the extensive list of subpoenaed witnesses, seemingly in retaliation for her response to his email.
Mr. Smith's attorney, Jim Waide, sent this email to Ms. Steiner on October 19:
In properly representing DA Smith, I am sorry but I must subpoena you to the hearing set for October 25, 2016.
Your testimony will relate to whether there is any legitimate interest in denying Robert access to the hearing transcript in Cause No. 16-120., and the role of the Attorney General in obtaining your Order which disqualified Smith from attending Grand Jury sessions.The staff attorney responded:
Please be advised that Judge Weill will be out of state on October 25, 2016, and is therefore unavailable for any hearing on that date. Further, the purported basis for your subpoena as stated in your email below is improper. Thus, if you do proceed with any subpoena as described, a Motion to Quash will be filed with the Court .Kingfish note: The D.A. is trying to haul a sitting Judge before a trial court? Um....serious question. If he has an issue with the Judge's ruling in 16-120, isn't there such a thing as an appeals court?
One must ask if this subpoena is simply harassment. Keep in mind that one of the original six misdemeanor charges against the D.A. accused him of using a grand jury to pressure Judge Weill. It is almost unheard of for a prosecutor to attempt to haul a judge into a trial court as a witness, much less one of his employees. Judge Roberts will probably strike this motion down.
The motion to quash, the subpoena, and the emails are posted below.