Sunday, August 5, 2007

Don't forget Tuesday: Hinds County D.A. did NOT prosecute a school shooter!

I wrote about this case a couple of months ago:

Faye Peterson did not charge the JSU shooter with possession of a gun on a school campus. Coincidentally, this thug who was already a felon and used a stolen sanitized gun to shoot another student by the campus bookstore, is the nephew of Credell Calhoun, husband of Hinds Country Supervisor Peggy Hobson-Calhoun. The Clarion-Ledger reported that she also did not call to testify before the grand jury the victim nor the arresting officer. Click on the above-listed link for more details.

I just listened to the interview of Ms. Peterson by The Jackson Free Press on WLEZ-FM, Its at the very end of the show. I must respectfully disagree with Ms. Peterson.

She said the reason why Mack was not charged with possession of a gun on a school campus was that the grand jury thought it was a case of self-defense. With all due respect Ms. Peterson, the law does not allow AT ALL for cases of self-defense. It does not say that if someone has a reasonable fear of danger, he can carry a gun on a school campus. It explicitly forbids everyone except law enforcement personnel from doing so. At a minimum, he should have been charged with possession of a gun on a school campus. One must also remember that Mack was not in danger when he walked onto school campus with a gun. As his parent is the Dean of International Studies and Mack is in his 30's, one would expect them to get assistance from campus police if they truly felt he was in danger of serious injury.

She also was not asked why the victim and arresting officer were not called before the grand jury. She said she called 21 witnesses, yet those two individuals were not called to testify. It is also my understanding that being charged with possession of a gun on a school campus does not require a grand jury indictment. If I am wrong, please inform me as I will make the necessary corrections in a separate, prominent post.

It was also troubling that Ms. Peterson did not take issue with so many prominent local politicians showing public support for giving a lenient sentence to this thug.

My quarrel with Ms. Peterson is not personal. I enjoyed listening to the interview and frankly, she sounded MUCH smarter than Michele Purvis, who after spending so much time as a lawyer in city and county government, still can not give specifics on how she would improve the D.A.'s office. I found Ms. Peterson to be articulate and made good arguments for many of her positions even if I disagreed with her. I applaud her for running a clean and positive campaign.

However, being a District Attorney is about more than sounding good on the radio and running a good campaign. It is about protecting the public and aggressively prosecuting criminals, including well-connected convicted felons who decide to take guns to school after Pearl, Columbine, and Virginia Tech. In my opinion, Ms. Peterson as District Attorney falls short on this count.


Tom Head said...

Good work; this is the stuff Smith and Purvis should be doing more of themselves. I am not entirely convinced that Peterson is a great DA, but I'm not entirely convinced she's a lousy one either. This little tidbit is a notch in the latter column.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if you listened to Ladd's WLEZ interview w/ Peterson but she asked about that shooting. Peterson broad stroked the matter away and Ladd let her off the hook completely. The question and answer was in the last third of the interview.

Tom Head said...

This does not surprise me; I didn't bother listening to the interview beyond a certain point because it became clear that it was essentially a one-hour radio ad for Peterson.

Anonymous said...

very interesting. I was planning to vote for her until I read this she sounds like a typical crooked politician.

Tom Head said...

infoseeker, I'll be voting for Peterson but I'll be depressed doing it. This election has been about conspiracy theories, personality cults, accusations, tears and recrimination--everything, near as I can tell, but the actual needs of Hinds County voters.

Kingfish said...

let me see........

Peggy Hobson-Calhoun funds Faye Peterson's budget.........

Kingfish said...

here is the list, was in may 12 issue of CL:

State Representative Credell Calhoun, Hinds County Supervisors Peggy Hobson-Calhoun and George Smith, State Senator Hillman Frazier, and numerous members of the JSU administration and faculty.

So two of the people who fund Faye's budget wrote letters trying to get leniency for the thug.

Steve Rankin said...

Credell Calhoun, of course, was a 1989 Jackson mayoral candidate and was later president of the city council. During the '89 campaign, Calhoun appeared on WJNT radio, and a caller noted that he had seen Calhoun on the TV news protesting Jonas Navimbi's arrival at the Jackson Municipal Airport. Calhoun stoutly denied being there but admitted to the host off the air that he was lying.

So does this mean, Kingfish, that you think Robert Smith is the best choice for Hinds DA? I see that he has the backing of ex-DA Ed Peters, who had praised Faye Peterson when Gov. Musgrove appointed her to succeed him.

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