Monday, February 6, 2017

D.A. tries to subpoena Jerry Mitchell

Update #2:  The prosecution actually tried to amend the first eight counts of the indictment.  Both sides rested.  Jury excused until tomorrow morning.  You can't make this up.

Update: The surprise rebuttal witness Mr. Kenneth Stokes.  Defense rested this morning.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith tried to subpoena Clarion-Ledger star reporter Jerry Mitchell as a witness in the prosecution of Ben Allen.  However, Circuit Judge Winston Kidd quashed the subpoena and ruled he did not have to testify.  The subpoena and motion to quash are posted below. 

Mr. Mitchell questioned the spending of Downtown Jackson Partners funds by Mr. Allen in a 2014 Clarion-Ledger article.  A former DJP secretary provided Mr. Mitchell with copies of DJP documents.  Mr. Mitchell interviewed her and attorney John Reeves in the story.  The subpoena was issued on January 25, 2017.

Mr. Mitchell filed a motion to quash the subpoena.  His motion stated:

This subpoena should be quashed because it is repugnant to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as it threatens the freedom of the press by forcing Mr. Mitchell to testify about matters he has reported on behalf of The Clarion Ledger and because the State cannot show that the information is not obtainable through any other source. This subpoena should be quashed because the information sought from Mr. Mitchell is not the Best Evidence...

Subpoenas threaten the freedom of the press when they require journalists to testify concerning matters they have written. Journalists should be free to write about controversial matters without the burden of subpoenas requiring them to give testimony not necessary to a case. Without constitutional protection, reporters would be subjected to burdensome and harassing subpoenas and would be harmed in their ability to collect material for controversial stories...

Mr. Mitchell also argued that the subpoena should be quashed since it was not issued by the circuit clerk nor was it filed in the docket.  The subpoena does not appear in the court docket.   The District Attorney also tried to subpoena Clarion-Ledger reporter Anna Wolfe in his trial in State v. Robert Shuler Smith.

Kingfish note: How come the D.A. subpoenaed Jerry Mitchell but not the focus of the story itself- the former DJP secretary?   She is certainly a friendly witness to the prosecution.  One also hopes that the attempts to subpoena reporters is not a new practice at the D.A.'s office.

Of course, Ms. Brune could appear as a surprise rebuttal witness. The same tactic was used by the AG last month when it called a former ADA to testify after the defense rested.  


Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine Jerry Mitchell being useful UNLESS Ben Allen is a secret KKK member. The Clarion Ledger is not known for looking too deeply into Jackson's finances. Not a chance!

Anonymous said...

The justice system in Hinds Co. is broken. With the DA's malicious pursuit
against businesses, JPD, Sheriff's office and judges while at the same time
refusing to prosecute drug lords, pimps and thieves is beyond troublesome.

Mr. Mitchell Exists Only In His Own Mind... said...

Why is the 'Redheaded Stranger' immune from participating in the state's legal process? I know he's mighty prissy and important and all.

Anonymous said...

All that Jerry knows is what was told to him by either Ms Brune or John Reeves, which is hearsay and inadmissible. The DA can call them to testify if he wants to (and he did call Reeves). No one knows just yet why he didn't call Ms Brune, his supposed star witness. I suspect because she finally hired an attorney of her own who warned her against testifying or told her to plead the 5th.

Burke said...

Inept DA finds himself cornered, lashes out in all directions.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that RSS is both trying to woo Anna Wolfe and subpoena her.

Anonymous said...

Normally, Jerry Mitchell does not need a court order to betray his confidences. He's pretty much made a living out of that.

That said, RSS has gone off the deep end during this trial.

Anonymous said...

The DA actually tried to amend the indictment AFTER the trial started and AFTER he rested his case ? Uhhh, Mr DA, there's this little thing called due process. You may want to read up on that some. Good Lord, help this man, he is an idiot.

Kenneth Stokes is the rebuttal witness ? Huh ? It'll be interesting to see what (little, if anything) he knows about this. My guess....the DA wants to have a black witness try to influence the black jurors since the other two black witnesses, Mr Garner and Mr Gibbs, both said they saw no evidence of embezzlement.

Anonymous said...

I had to stop reading Jerry Mitchell. Kinda surprised he still works there after they purged all of the higher paid writers. Seems to me that Jerry believes his purpose in life is to find racism and write about it. I guess that would be OK except that #1 When he can't find real racism, he writes about pretend racism. #2 He never seems to find racism against white folks. #3 Surely he would be capable of writing about other things. That is, when some real racism shows up write about that, but stop wiring about pretend racism and fill the time with stories about other things.

Anonymous said...

Was the reason for the attempt to amend the indictment that Allen returned the money after he was caught?

Anonymous said...

So, did Stokes testify? If both sides have rested, please let us know.

Anonymous said...

6:13 and dozens of others Brune. Aren't your fingers getting tired. Posting crap here all day? Get.A.Life. While you still can

Anonymous said...

6:55. News says Stokes testified. Boy can you see through this. Altering his indictment. Calling Stokes at the last minute. So obvious.

Anonymous said...

The State amending an indictment, even after resting is BS, but this is far from the first time it's been allowed. Our Appellate Courts have bent over backwards to excuse damn near any DA behavior.

Anonymous said...

Did the court recess in order to find a specially trained court reporter for the Stokes testimony?

Anonymous said...

What does Jerry Mitchell know about what's gong on in today's world? He is stuck in the past and so wrapped up try to win Putz'r Award. Nothing he writes about is interesting to me in the least, but it does provide good covering for the birdcage floor!!!!

Anonymous said...

No, 4:24. They had to find a big enough chair for Stokes' #@%.

The Big Yellow Building... said...

3:13; I saw a forklift bring that chair in during break.

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