Thursday, February 15, 2018

D.A. appeals suspect's release to Supremes in Fortification Street murder case

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith asked the Mississippi Supreme Court yesterday to order Hinds County Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green to hold a hearing on the release of Nicholas Coats.  Nicholas Coats was arrested and charged with the murder of Chelsie Kirschten on Fortification Street in October.  County Court Judge William Skinner denied bond for Coats but ordered him to be released if he was not indicted within 90 days.  Coats was released from the Raymond Detention Center on January 10.

 The D.A. submitted a petition for a writ of mandamus yesterday.  The petition states that Coats was released without any notice to the D.A. or Judge Skinner in violation of the rules of criminal procedure. Rule 8.5(c) is cited and requires the Senior Circuit Judge to review the "conditions of release for every felony defendant who is eligible for bail and has been in jail for more than 90 days."    The petition also states that a prosecutor is supposed to be present when the review occurs so any necessary objections can be made.

  Coats and Lidarius Dixon were charged with murder in the death of Chelsie Kirschten. The 23 year-old waitress was killed on  August 17 when she was stopped at the intersection of Fortification Street and North State Street. Jushun "Red" Paige was charged with accessory after the fact - murder.  None of the defendants have been indicted.  Paige and Dixon are being held without bond although Paige asked to be released as well.  Coats was released from prison one month prior to the murder after serving a short sentence for carjacking. 

The petition accuses Judge Green of violating her own order.  Indeed, Judge Green's 2013 order for bond review of unindicted  detainees states:

 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that when an accused  is arrested on a felony charge, and  is  held without bond or fails and is ,unable to make bail his/her case  shall be presented for indictment before a Hinds County grand jury  within ninety (90) days of his date of incarceration. Should the prosecutor fail to present said accused's case to the grand jury for indictment  within the ninety (90) day time frame, then the Prosecutor shall appear at a bond review hearing before the senior circuit judge to show good cause why the accused should remain incarcerated., without indictment having been issued.  Any indigent accused shall be represented by the Public Defender of Hinds County. (P.20 in file posted below)
The D.A. states that Judge Green has refused to rule on his motions to revoke bond for Nicholas Coats.  She told Mr. McNamara in a February 7 email after he requested a hearing:

The court cannot address this matter as filed or under Rule 8.Sc.   You may consider recalling the grand jury ASAP and presenting the case for indictment. Once the  case is indicted, a circuit judge will be assigned.  You  can then request that the circuit judge review or reconsider Coats release. (P.18)

The grand jury is not scheduled to meet again until April 10.*

*Think about that one.  The grand jury in Hinds County only meets every three months or so.   The schedule is set by the Senior Circuit Judge.

Kingfish note: This site is no fan of the D.A. but nice job on fighting for this case and taking it to the Supreme Court.  

Earlier posts
Victim's mom slams Hinds County criminal justice system 
3rd man arrested in Fortification Street murder seeks bond.  
D.A. tries to put accused Fortification Street killer back in jail.  
No indictment, no jail. Accused Fortification Street killer goes free.  
Accused Fortification Street killers denied bond.  
Arrest made in Fortification Street murder. JPD seeking suspect.  
Passenger in Fortification Street victim's car was busted for coke in July.  
Fortification Street murder reward increased to $5,000.  
No comment.  
Young woman murdered on Fortification Street.  


Anonymous said...

Don't look now, but he's actually "litigating"

Anonymous said...

The grand jury meets every 90 days. A criminal is released after spending 90 days behind bars.
Sounds like they are cutting it pretty close there.

Anonymous said...

What we need is more 'solutions journalism' and more spin terms like solutions journalism and more 'journalists' who truly believe they are experts.

Anonymous said...

or, and i'm just spitballing here, call the grand jury.

Anonymous said...

The cons of recalling the grand jury would take away their ability to grandstand. The pros of recalling the grand jury is they could indict all of the codefendants and other outstanding cases to actually move cases along.

Anonymous said...

Or, as they have done, take it to the Supreme Court (judicial protocol) because a senior court judge is REFUSING to do her job. The question should be at this point is why won't she?

Anonymous said...

I say make her follow the law! She has a long history of doing whatever she wants to do. The DA's Office shouldn't have to call a GJ in order to appease her. I'm sure this happens more oft, than not. What are you gonna do? Call a Grand Jury everytime she allows someone to be released without giving the prosecutor an opportunity to be heard? Nah...hold to her accountable under the law. Hold her accountable by her OWN order!

Anonymous said...

with respect to the portion of the article that says "greene refuses to rule on the DAs motion to revoke bond", i find that to be very believable. greene is inaccessible . no one in her office even answers the telephone. you get a recorded message saying to leave a message, and we will decide whether or not your call is worthy of being returned. dont take my word for it. call her office and listen to it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

KF, you are incorrect regarding how often the grand jury meets. While the next grand jury is scheduled to meet in April, after that the grand jury meets in May, June, July, September, October and December. So other than the break between January and April, the grand jury meets almost monthly in the First District of Hinds County.

Kingfish said...

Thanks. Was trying to find out yesterday. Rankin and Madison meet monthly. Couldn't get an answer in Hinds County.

Anonymous said...

Judge Green does whatever she wants with little judicial oversight because she is so blatantly pro-defense. This is because in criminal proceedings, the State can only appeal on a narrow list of things and of course, can not appeal trials that result in acquittals. Thus, she can run rough shod over the state with impunity. For instance, she often tells prosecutors which witnesses they can and cannot call.

People often talk about the number of reversal Judge Weill has had compared to other judges in Hinds county. What is not considered is the great difference in the number of convictions in his court compared to Green. Green rarely has cases reviewed by the Supreme Court because, on the rare occasion a criminal trial occurs in her court, the result is usually acquittal.

Anonymous said...

Look at Rule 8.5(c), the Rule cited by the DA. It requires the person having custody of the defendant to notify the DA and Circuit Court judge of persons in custody for 90 days with no action, not for the Circuit Court judge to notify the DA, which is what the DA is arguing. How much do you want to bet the person having custody of the defendant sent the information to both the DA and Judge Green, and the DA just completely dropped the ball. And now, instead of quickly calling a grand jury to do his job, he's wanting to scream and cry and point to non-existent language in a rule and blame it on Judge Green.

Anonymous said...

Please post the rule in its entirety. It most definitely requires a review by the circuit court judge for EVERY defendant, before being released.
Green never did that.
Or did she??? If she did, that would mean she is responsible for Coat's release.

Anonymous said...

Check supreme website. They just entered an Order saying Judge Green acted within the rules and it was Robert Smith who failed to do his job.

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