Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hinds County justice: 11 felony convictions is not habitual

The Hinds County criminal justice system smiled on Woodrez Davis.  Davis is a career criminal who was the subject of a heated argument that took place face to face between Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith. Mayor Fisher asked the District Attorney to prosecute Davis as a habitual offender since he has nine felony convictions.  Unfortunately for the Clinton Mayor, such was not to be as Hinds County Circuit Judge Bill Gowan approved a plea deal that dropped the habitual offender classification and only gives Davis a short time in prison. 

A Hinds County grand jury indicted  Davis on two counts of auto theft and classified him as a habitual offender  in January. Davis pleaded guilty last week to two counts of motor theft.  Judge Gowan sentenced him to all of seven years in prison but suspended five years of the sentence.  He also sentenced him as a non-habitual offender despite his previous nine felony convictions. The indictment states he is classified as a habitual offender but the prisoner commitment notice also states that he is sentenced as a non-habitual offender.

However, the indictment only stated that he had two previous felony convictions.  His 2013 indictment for receiving stolen property stated he had nine felony convictions.  It is not known why the January indictment omitted his previous felony convictions.  JJ reported in April 2015:

When does habitual mean habitual in the Hinds County criminal justice  system?  Meet Woodrez T. Davis.  9-time felon. His first felony conviction took place in 1999.  He was granted parole and released from the custody of MDOC on January 2015.  Despite a record of eight felony convictions, Hinds County prosecutors agreed to drop the "habitual offender" designation in a plea bargain with Davis in March 2014.    He is currently a suspect in several burglaries in the Clinton area.  He is currently in jail for four charges of auto burglary in Hinds County.

 A Hinds County grand jury indicted Davis for possessing and receiving stolen property in January 2013.  The indictment listed these felony convictions:

shoplifting (1996)
receiving stolen goods (1999)
felon with a firearm (1999)
vehicle burglary (2001)
vehicle burglary (2001)
vehicle burglary (2001)
receiving stolen goods (2010)
receiving stolen goods (2010)
receiving stolen goods (2010)

However, the District Attorney's office agreed to drop habitual status for Davis.  The prosecutor also agreed not to revoke his probation for his 2010 conviction.    Davis would have been sentenced to the maximum sentence and had to serve day for day of the sentence if he was convicted as a habitual offender.* Earlier post.
This convict will probably only have to serve 25% of his sentence. Thus he will probably be back out on the street to do what he loves to do within six months.   

However,  Davis was charged with nine (yes, nine) counts of auto burglary by Raymond police as well.  There are no indictments for the charges.  Raymond Police Chief Jason Crotwell said none of his officers were called to testify before the grand jury on those charges.  It appears there is no prosecution of Davis for those charges. 

Kingfish note: There is no excuse for this sentencing by Judge Gowan.  Davis is a career criminal and a perfect candidate for habitual offender status.  However, Gowan let him off of the hook again and Hinds County residents will have one more reason to fear crime in six months.    It must also be asked why the indictment did not mention all of his felony convictions as an earlier one did.  Make no mistake, this is a complete failure of the Hinds County criminal justice system and a perfect example of the catch & release program.  MDWFP would be proud.

Then there is the matter of the Raymond charges.  Needless to say, Chief Crotwell sounded very frustrated as he discussed this case.

Who can forget this food fight between the Mayor and District Attorney.  The Mayor point blank asked the District Attorney to prosecute Davis as a habitual offender.  His plea apparently went for naught. Earlier post with video.


Anonymous said...

It is my guess that RSS is "making hay while the sun shines". Terrible for car owners in Hinds County.

Burke said...

Judge Gowan knows damn well that this person will be a recidivist for life. Go ahead and send him up for a long, long time and get it over with.

If RSS manages to show up as a candidate again, I look forward to voting against him again. I had rather he resign, voluntarily or not.

I have the notion that Judge Gowan may not run again, but if he does . . . .

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with our judicial system? Serious question. Why will they not work with law enforcement and government officials?

Anonymous said...

The officials in the judicial system are doing exactly what they know the majority of the voters want them to do. Can't be too hard on that man. He's a victim of the system where the white man is keeping him down, and he's just trying to make it.

Anonymous said...

the post and the comments all assume that the evidence was strong to prove both cases. I don't know either, but the plea deal screams weak evidence to me. but hey, why pass up a good opportunity to second guess and blast the system?

everyone needs to know that law enforcement in Hinds County is weak and inefficient. prosecutors are constantly asked to make bricks without straw.

Anonymous said...

Let's help Woodrez turn his life around by getting him a job at Whole Foods, or, better yet, an unpaid internship at the Jackson Free Press.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:41 - you must have left your reading comprehension skills at home today. Please note: This guy had 9 felony CONVICTIONS. That's CONVICTIONS, not accusations or even indictments...but CONVICTIONS. How much stronger evidence do you need???

Anonymous said...

Put this boy in jail for 70 years.

Anonymous said...

It's fascinating that GoldFish can criticize Judge Gowan for this sentencing without even knowing the facts of the case. Were there viable defenses? Was the case against the defendant strong? Were there other factors in the criminal discovery that made this sentence appropriate? Maybe it was a screwed up plea deal but without knowing all the facts how can the "reporter" or anyone else be sure?

Well, I guess the facts shouldn't get in the way of a good story.

Messck said...

Everyone needs to keep in mind that George Soros funded RSS's last re-election campaign.

Anonymous said...

2:06 my reading skills are fine. are yours? nine prior convictions aren't part of the evidence in these two new cases. forensics, witnesses, and physical evidence is required. the prior convictions can be admissible under limited circumstances that a smart defense attorney eliminates. IF the First District jury convicts after a trial, THEN the nine convictions become relevant for the Judge in deciding on a punishment. That decision is taken away from the Judge if the State proves nine priors because the law then REQUIRES that the defendant get the maximum statutory time OR, if a violent habitual offender, LIFE without parole or other early release.

now review this post to make sure you read correctly before you make another idiotic post...

Anonymous said...

We also don't know @2:24, without knowing all the facts, whether it is true or not that you abuse animals and members of your family.

Anonymous said...

The judge is smart enough to know that his constituents will not vote for him if he locks up their innocent babies.

Anonymous said...

To listen to the naysayers and KF's detractors, the Hinds County criminal justice system is a well-oiled law and order machine.

Enjoy the bag y'all are holding. It gets heavier every year as Hinds County and Jackson drain population elsewhere.

exjxnres said...

He must have used the Hillary defense. He didn't mean to do it, all nine times, it was an accidental event.

I sure hope next time, he doesn't break into the Mayah's Cah....

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I move far away

Jimmy Carter said...

I've got my carpenters tool kit on. Who would like to help me build this fine gentleman a Habitat home in Madison or Rankin County?

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, it's time you started to post photos of these judges so we can pick them out at church or social events, just like you post mugshots.

Anonymous said...

Great idea @5:23. Sometimes I think the judges are criminal in their behavior by turning these thugs loose on society time and time again. I don't like my tax dollars giving these low life criminals a bed and three squares any more than the next guy, but some people just don't belong on the streets. Lock 'em up, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Bill Gowan is a white male, mid 70s, grey hair that is either a wig or greatly in need of a cut. He stands stooped and around 6 ft. at appx. 195lbs. South Jackson type. Buddies with Mac, Peters, Bluntson and that ole crew. He therefore supports RSS and company. You get the picture. He has made his living on the backs of the taxpayers and all that comes with a little power, i.e. medium sized fish in a small pond.

Anonymous said...

It is not the job of the judiciary to "work with law enforcement". Quite to the contrary.

Anonymous said...


Judge Gowans picture is on line you dolt.

Best be careful how closely you choose to target our judiciary....lest you wind up in cuffs for stalking and harassment.

Feel free to campaign....but this physical threatening is out of bounds.

Anonymous said...

Soft judges make hardened criminals.

Anonymous said...

This judgeship is the first job Gowan has had where he has to show up and stick around for a few hours.

Anonymous said...

@2:24, strong enough evidence or not. If you're able to "possibly" get felony charges brought against you 11 times, there is no way your ass is in any way innocent. That's like saying you were in 11 wrecks but your driving history is impeccable and it was always the other persons fault. Where there's smoke, there's fire and 11 convictions means you're a piece of trash. I could care less about any other details.

Anonymous said...

9:18, no one is saying this guy is innocent. we can agree that he is a thug whose only activity is being a criminal.

but you seem pretty dense to lack the understanding that each crime charges have elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the criminal history is NOT one of those elements. criminal history is almost never heard by a jury. the state has to go forward with the proof; if that proof is weak, the prosecutor has to decide if a conviction and some jail time is better that risking an acquittal, a common result in the First Judicial District of Hinds County. the defendant has to assess the risk of going to trial and maybe getting convicted and getting maxed out because of the criminal history, or getting sent away as an habitual offender. your childish assumption that because of a long criminal history, a conviction is almost automatic, is laughable to anyone that has actually toiled in the Hinds criminal justice system, prosecutor or defense counsel. I understand the frustration and agree the system sucks in Hinds County. but attempting to lay the blame on just judges, or just prosecutors, or just police won't change anything. in my opinion, nothing is going to change and Jackson is the south's Detroit.

Anonymous said...

They've pleaded cases out just like this for time served where the defendant was a habitual and it had zero to do with the evidence. It's a pattern. RSS needs to resign if he gives a a damn about this hellhole of a city.

Anonymous said...

Judges like this need to find a new job more in their line of thought. Maybe something in the Library. They have no place in law enforcement. We need new judges that know and understand the law. Judges that want to protect the crime victims instead of the criminals.

Anonymous said...

No, 10:07 I am not ignorant. I know how it works, but if you've been accused that many time, you need to have your ass locked up for good. I know the legal system doesn't allow for common sense judgment, but in my opinion it should. If you get accused and charged of sexual harassment 11 times, you should be locked up for such.

Anonymous said...

1007, all true but the question to me is dropping the habitual in accepting this plea. His history does count there; that's the definition of habitual. RSS made sure it wasn't a part of the plea so that he could stick his finger in Fishers eye. Gowan shouldn't have accepted that part. If these charges, with his history isn't habitual we don't need that in the code.

Kingfish said...

Keep in mind that most of his convictions were kept out of the indictment this time but were mentioned in other indictment.

Anonymous said... response to question "What is wrong with our judicial system? Serious question. Why will they not work with law enforcement and government officials?" the answer is they can't. Out tripartite system comprises an Executive Branch, a Legislative Branch, and a Judicial Branch. Each has a distinct function and the function of a Judge is not to sit as a prosecutor nor is to police our streets, nor is it to rewrite the statutes. A Judge must remain fair and impartial in his deliberations and stay within the scope of his branch of government. Judge William Gowan is a well-reasoned and learned Judge who exercises great care is seeing that his Court operates within the very fundamental mandates the Constitution, giving both the State and the Defendant an opportunity to present their case to the Court. When the State's case cannot and does not support the allegations in an indictment, the Judge cannot speculate as to facts that are not before him, nor can he punish a Defendant for things that have not have happened. The fact that a person comes before the Court as an habitual has little if anything to do with the underlying facts and charges of the indictment that is the subject of the plea. The alternative is take every case to trial including this one, get NOT GUILTY and release the Defendant at a huge cost to the taxpayers. Compromise is the only way to efficiently manage the Hinds County dockets given the sheer size of the caseloads. That being said, Judge Gowan does an exemplary job on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Gowan is a hack and everyone knows it. Any honest judge that cares about the public would have sent this habitual criminal away for a long time. He didn't. That is all there is to it and making excuses will not help.

Don't Judge Me Bro'.. said...

This boy needs a chance at rehab. Chris Epps put all kinds of programs in place to help the weekend-offender like this boy. Get off his back! Who knows....he might one day be a project manager in the City of Jackson. With a GED he could serve on the Airport Board. He could run papers across town for Ben Allen. Y'all too quick to judge and slow to recognize latent talent. That's all I got to say.

Anonymous said...

@4:32...your intelligent comment lets us know 1 of 2 are either stupid (in which case there is no cure) or you are ignorant ... In which case you need to go to college, graduate with a GPA that will get you into law school, then go to law school and graduate... then take the bar exam and actually pass the bar... Then you can comment on what real lawyers do.... Otherwise you need to just go home and be quiet

Anonymous said...

10:21, go home and shut up is what most of the people left in Jackson already do. They do not have any other choice. Law enforcement in Jackson is a joke, a bad joke. Expecting them to do their job is called racist.

You do not have to go to law school to know someone is a crook. Their actions will tell this to anyone with common sense.

Let me guess, you are part of the system. You just hope everyone will go home and shut up so they will not notice the piss poor job you are doing.

someoneinnorthms said...

10:21, you are spot-on! I suppose 4:32 can hit a curveball too. And score 10 under par at the Masters. And kick a 75 yard field goal to win the Super Bowl.

Some people idea.what they are.talking about. The frustration is appropriate, but 4:32's solution just doesn't take account hoe the law actually works. But, vitriol and angst sometimes triumph over lack of k owledge

Anonymous said...

More of a reason to be armed while in Hinds County. Catch this piece of trash stealing from you? Put a couple rounds in him and make it so that we don't have to worry about the thieves and thugs anymore. If more people in Hinds County started killing these criminals then there would be less criminals.

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