Monday, September 14, 2020

Catch & Release, Squawk! Catch & Release

Former D.A. represents alleged drug dealer he prosecuted

Arrested but not prosecuted is a story that is unfortunately all too familiar in Hinds County.  JJ reported in 2015 Clinton police busted a prescription forgery ring:

In early August of 2015, the Clinton Police Department (CPD) Narcotics Unit, in conjunction with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) and the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy (MBP), began investigating multiple fraudulently manufactured prescriptions being filled in the Tri-County areas.

Between early August and October, the CPD, MBN, and other law enforcement agencies had recovered forty-three (43) fraudulent prescriptions out of the Hinds, Madison, Rankin, and Warren County areas. The CPD effectively arrested eight (8) suspects and was eventually able to source the suspects responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of the fraudulent prescriptions.

On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, the CPD executed a document search warrant at 1000 East Northside Drive (the North Town Apartments) apartment 154 in Jackson, the residence of Prince and Elizabeth Johnson. Inside, agents of the MBN seized computers, printers, hard drives, and prescription grade paper that was believed to have been used to manufacture the fraudulent prescriptions. Drugs were also seized.
Over thirty (30) suspects have been implemented in the case due to their information being used on the fraudulent prescriptions to obtain the controlled substances.

In addition to the prescription fraud investigation, a runaway juvenile was found at the apartment building during the search warrant. The 17 year old female had been reported missing since September of 2014 and human trafficking was suspected. The minor’s case was adopted by the FBI.

Drugs obtained:
Roxicodone (Oxycodone) and Promethazine with Codeine Syrup was the organization’s primary targeted controlled drugs. Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) and Norco (Hydrocodone) were also targeted. The controlled drugs that had been obtained and subsequently distributed to the streets in the tri-county areas, within a two (2) month period, was estimated to a value over $100,000.00.

A Hinds County grand jury indicted Johnson for 10 counts of prescription fraud in July 2017, nearly two years later.   The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Winston Kidd.

The indictment, as so many others have, collected dust on the docket when the new District Attorney starting moving the case along this year.  Does anyone want to guess who is Johnson's lawyer?

Former Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith represents Johnson.  District Attorney Jody Owens filed a motion to disqualify Mr. Smith on August 28.  Mr. Smith's representation of Johnson is a pattern that repeats itself in three other indictments against Johnson.

The grand jury indicted Johnson in 2016 for one count of prescription fraud that occurred (allegedly) in 2015.  The case sat around this year.  Mr. Owens moved to disqualify his predecessor from representing the defendant in this case as well. However, there is more of the same tomfoolery.

The grand jury indicted the Fresh Prince of Jelaire in March for one count of prescription fraud that allegedly occurred in 2018.  Mr. Smith represents the Prince in this case but the District Attorney moved to disqualify him again.

Johnson must have thought Mr. Smith's representation made him invincible in Hinds County because deputies busted him, his wife, and Hinds County Detention Officer Jeremy Pierre for trying to smuggle cellphones and other contraband into the Raymond Detention Center in March.  The grand jury indicted him in June for conspiracy, bribery, and possessing contraband into correctional facility.  Mr. Smith represents Johnson but the District Attorney again filed a motion on September 11 to disqualify him as counsel.

Johnson is in custody at the Raymond Detention Center. Hinds deputies arrested him Friday.  


Anonymous said...

It's about time for the Supremes to disbar Smith.

Anonymous said...

8:13 As an atty, I'd say it is past time for a complaint to be filed and taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Disbar him for doing what illegally? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

we finally have a real D.A. in Hinds County again.

Anonymous said...

925.. there are a lot of criminals that haven’t been caught yet... he will. He was “representing” criminals when he was DA

Anonymous said...

@ 9:25 It's an ethical violation, at a minimum. Prosecutors can't prosecute a defendant and later switch sides to represent the same defendant in the same case. Smith's office obtained the indictments for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 indictments. Any 1st year lawyer knows that Smith could not now represent Johnson in those 2016, 2017 and 2018 cases. If Hinds County were to allow this, the judge who allows it and Smith should both be disbarred.

Anonymous said...

the whimps at the mississippi state bar association , with their six figure salaries and full benefits and do nothing jobs, are way too intimidated by the ''minority'' community to do anything about this sort of conduct.
besides, they have more important things to worry about. mainly , which all- you- can- eat- buffet they will hit for lunch.-

Anonymous said...

PLEASE KINGFISH.......follw up on this story down the road and let the public know whether the bar even lifts a finger against smith.

Rick Perry said...


Anonymous said...

Robert Smith should've been disbarred while he was in office. I know for a fact 80% of his staff were dirty and at the end he fired a lot of them. I hope Owens goes and look at all the drug cases that was put in a box and put in a closet.

Anonymous said...

So, what's the problem here. Just move on, sure it's routine for this state and probably in other states as well.

Anonymous said...

They would have lasted much longer if they were in the Pine Belt of the state.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the name Robert Shuler Smith, I was honestly reminded to trim my eyebrows.
The brows were starting to get a little bushy.

But back to the story . . . no doubt this convict thought he was invincible.

Hell, I would feel invincible myself if RSS was defending me in Jackson/Hinds.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if criminal defense attorneys ever have that moment when they think "what the fuck did I do with my life" by representing dirt bag criminals who rob, assault or poison their community with drugs.

Yes, I know everyone is entitled to a defense so don't get all high and mighty.

Just wonder what it's like for a defense attorney who has a kid or loved one hooked on crack or killed in a drive by.

Anonymous said...

11:01- it isn't just the minority community they wont go after at the MS Bar.

Try filling a complaint against an attorney. They will do everything in their power to talk you out of it. Can't say if it is laziness, professional courtesy or what.

No way in hell is the MS Bar policing its own.

Anonymous said...

Paragraph number 6 of the motion to remove states “Robert Shuler Smith was the dually elected District Attorney for Hinds County from January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2019.”

Was he dually elected or was he duly elected?

Anonymous said...

9:07, I’m an attorney who filed an extensively documented complaint against a fellow attorney. Unethical behavior was the least of it. The bar gave the excuse that some of the CRIMINAL offenses were committed before their “look back“ period. Notice that I said some of the criminal behavior. Plenty of the documented offenses were committed well within applicable SOLs. There was never any dispute on this point. I never imagined I’d see such gymnastics performed In an effort to avoid holding a member accountable.

Anonymous said...

The conflict, of one exists, would be up to the client. As long as the client knowingly waives the conflict SS could represent him. Here is the rule:

Rule 1.7 - Conflict of Interest: General Rule
(a) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless the lawyer reasonably believes:
(1) the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and
(2) each client has given knowing and informed consent after consultation. The consultation shall include explanation of the implications of the adverse representation and the advantages and risks involved.
(b) A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client may be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client or to a third person, or by the lawyer's own interests, unless the lawyer reasonably believes:
(1) the representation will not be adversely affected; and
(2) the client has given knowing and informed consent after consultation. The consultation shall include explanation of the implications of the representation and the advantage and risks involved.

What basis would Owens have to get Smith kicked off case? Intimate knowledge Smith learned about the case while DA? Isn’t the DA supposed to turn over all discovery to the Defense anyway?

Anonymous said...

@10:30 Don't be a dope. It's "RULE 1.11 SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE EMPLOYMENT". He literally cannot do this.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact 80% of his staff were dirty- I know for a fact that this is a baseless lie-
If this is what you 'know for a fact'' then you don't know squat

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