Friday, September 12, 2008

Kingfish requests Opinion from Ethics Commission concerning Jackson's denial of public records request for Heather Spencer case police reports.

Update: What do you know, this made the WLBT broadcast tonight:

Clarion-Ledger story:

Remember the post I made a few weeks ago about the City of Jackson denying Kingfish's request for a copy of the police incident reports on the murder of Heather Spencer and kidnapping of Elizabeth Hall by George Bell, III? Well, Kingfish followed the law, submitting a request (in person) for an opinion from the Ethics Commission on the public records sought. The Ethics Commission sent an inquiry to Jackson (Jackson's response is posted in .pdf format below).

The Ethics Commission placed my opinion request on the agenda for the monthly meeting held today. The meeting went very well, as my request was a test case for the new law (Mississippi Code 25-61-12) mandating law enforcement agencies make public police incident reports. Mr. Tom Hood and his staff provided a draft opinion stating my request was permissible under the law and that Jackson would have to comply. Mr. Hood also mentioned several discussions took place between his office and Jackson concerning my request, and Jackson was directed to provide more information than was initially redacted from the reports. The Commissioners were very nice, even allowing the Kingfish to make some purely undistinguished remarks. The Ethics Commission voted in favor of the drafted opinion (some fine-tuning will take place).

Note: Read the second to last paragraph in Jackson's response. Notice anything?

Jackson's reply to the Ethics Commission Inquiry:

Original post:


Anonymous said...



2nd to last. The notion that prosecution is still pending?

But I thought the charges against Robbie Bell were dropped? Is there a previously undisclosed third party conspirator involved?

Anonymous said...

Kingfish trumps all local media again!

Not only are you doing right by Heather's family, you are breaking new ground on open records requests and the public's right to know. Big time kudos and congrats.

One side note. You might want to watermark your exhibits so the JFP doesn't rip them off. How much are you willing to wager that when the report gets released Ladd will get a copy but fail to properly credit you for being the party who fought City Hall and won.

Autogyro said...

Good on ya, Kingfish - go get 'em.

On another note, the Clarion-Ledger reports today that George Bell III has also been named in the wrongful death lawsuit being brought by the family of Heather Spencer, something I hadn't heard before. I assume the purpose of that is to attach any monies he may stand to inherit?

I would imagine also that his culpability would easier to prove than that of his mother.

Kingfish said...

Read the lawsuit. I have the pdf in one of the posts. CL is just now getting around to reporting it.

Anonymous said...

Your dogged pursuit benefits all in Mississippi. Every media outlet owes you a debt of gratitude for pushing this envelope.

The speed at which charges against Robbie Bell were dropped soon after George pled guilty and was sentenced was highly suspicious. The Spencer family and the citizens of Jackson have a right to know what JPD, McMillin, Melton, DA Smith and AG Hood are hiding.

Eric Stracener is a good egg. I hope he kicks their ass.

Autogyro said...

You're right, Sid - the Spencer family will be well represented by Stracener. Good guy.

I see that Kingfish just got a nice round of attaboys over at folo for his efforts in this.

Buck Allred said...

Excellent work, Mr. 'Fish. Well done, well done. Thanks for taking the time to make them do right.

Anonymous said...

Kudo's Kingfish. Today, Jackson, tomorrow the world.

Tom Head said...

Nicely done, sir!

Anonymous said...

Great job Kingfish. I bet Robbie and Judge Bell are not pleased that the details of their actions (or lack there of) will now be made public.

Anonymous said...

There is a new freedom of information leader in Jackson. It ain't the JFP.

In its first ruling since gaining new authority, the Mississippi Ethics Commission has ruled a private citizen is entitled to redacted Jackson police initial incident reports involving George Bell III in the slaying of his ex-girlfriend.

"We came down on the side of openness," Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Hood said of the first advisory opinion in a records dispute.

What will Ladd complain about now? That you aren't making enough phone calls? (LMAO) The JFP non-reporting on Robbie Bell's complicity and negligence is about to get exposed. Great job KF!

Anonymous said...

Fish. In the WLBT story linked above SORE is quoted as follows:

"We will produce anything up to and including anything the ethics commission states should go out even if it would impede that investigation," O'Reily-Evans said.

What investigation is she talking about that would be impeded?

Jon said...

Good for you! Way to go! I am so pleased that you pursued this and have come out a winner, and in doing so, this will benefit everybody in Mississippi. Thanks for your efforts.

Jon at Mississippi Garden blog in Vicksburg

Conservative Belle said...

Very well done! Thanks for your perseverance.

Kingfish said...

Anonymous at 9:48,

Ladd has been very quiet on the whole public records fight this year. If I were to speculate I would say its because its a pet issue of the Mississippi Press Association. She can't stand them because they will not let her register the JFP as an Associate member, a major slight in her eyes. Thus, I would say she had no interest in helping them with this issue or covering it.

Kingfish said...

Thanks for all the nice words by the way. They are definitely appreciated.

One thing I want to point out. The City is saying that they hate releasing these as they can harm investigations.

Um, these are already avaiable to defense attorneys as they subpoena them anyway. The only people who were not getting them in the past were the general public and family members, not the target of said prosecutions and investigations.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Clarion-Ledger editorial!

Call it, Citizens 1, Gov't secrecy 0, in the first test of Mississippi's new configuring of the law ensuring access to public records.

In its first ruling since the 2008 Legislature gave it new authority, the Mississippi Ethics Commission has ruled a private citizen is entitled to redacted Jackson police initial incident reports involving George Bell III in the slaying of his ex-girlfriend.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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