Thursday, March 17, 2016

D.A. battles AG & MBN on behalf of drug dealer

Update: Judge Priester bound Butler over to the grand jury today.  His bond remains at $500,000.

Complete transcript of hearing is posted below. Verrrry interesting reading.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith clashed with the Mississippi Attorney General in Judge Melvin Priester's courtroom two weeks ago over convicted drug dealer Christopher Butler. The AG is prosecuting Butler for alleged consumer fraud. However, Mr. Smith showed up unannounced and unexpected at a preliminary hearing and tried to take control of the case. It was a rather colorful hearing as Judge Priester allowed Mr. Smith to have his say and then shut him down. The District Attorney also announced that he had subpoenaed the AG's prosecutors before a grand jury over the case as well and accused Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents of  doctoring videotapes and trying to frame Butler in a separate case.  Mr. Smith even argued that the Attorney General can not prosecute a case for anything in Hinds County without his consent. Judge Priester postponed the preliminary hearing until today "Because of the raucous and unprofessional behavior by Mr. Smith, District Attorney.."

The Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Division is prosecuting Butler for alleged consumer fraud involving a West Jackson furniture store and Florida finance company. He was arrested for several charges of mail fraud and false pretenses. The division initiated and conducted the investigation and prosecution (this fact is important). The state's affidavit alleges Butler obtained "signed documentation from Justin Marquise Runnels at Mega Mattress Furniture Outlet in order to send a fraudulent invoice to Uown in order to obtain funds in excess of $500 obtained from Uown." Butler was arrested and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 3. Butler is represented by the Honorable Sanford Knott, attorney at law.

Enter the District Attorney. The District Attorney appeared in court when the hearing began.  Before this story goes any further, it is necessary to remind the readers of Mr. Smith's involvement with Mr. Butler.   Butler was indicted twice in 2012 for trying to sell cocaine.  The two cases are assigned to Judge Jeff Weill.  Smith tried to dismiss the case last year but Judge Weill denied the requests to dismiss.  Judge Weill told the District Attorney to submit motions to nolle prosequi in writing and provide grounds for dismissing the two cases, as Mr. Smith had made his requests orally.  The District Attorney then filed a motion to recuse, but Judge Weill denied the motion and continues to hear the two cases.  Earlier post with partial copy of court file.  Butler has a previous conviction for selling cocaine.  

Knott tried to argue that the AG had no authority to prosecute the case, as the alleged offenses took place in Hinds County.  He cited the 2013 Williams v. State of Mississippi case.  The Williams case took place in Hinds County as well.  The prosecution was initiated by District Attorney Faye Peterson.  Mr. Smith tried to dismiss the case after he assumed office. Judge Breland Hilburn dismissed the case but tried to rescind his decision a few days later and also tried to replace the District Attorney with the Attorney General.  Judge Weill later took over the case and followed in Judge Hilsburn's footsteps as he continued the efforts to have the AG prosecute the case.  The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that a judge could not replace a prosecuting agency with another one.  Keep in mind, the Williams prosecution was initiated by the Hinds County District Attorney.  Mr. Knott kept asserting the Attorney General had no authority to prosecute the present case.

Judge Priester cleared the courtroom but allowed the court reporter to remain and put everything on the record. Mr. Smith jumped in after Knott and completely agreed with the defense counsel: "I do agree with counsel" (p.11).   AG attorney Shaun Yurkturan said that Mr. Smith was arguing the Attorney General could not prosecute a case anywhere in Mississippi unless the District Attorney of "each corresponding district" gave permission for the AG to do.   He argued the Mississippi Code gives the AG the authority to investigate and prosecute white collar crime*.  He also argued the District Attorney has not objected to any AG prosecutions in Hinds County before this hearing.  Then the real fun started.

Attorneys Shaun Yurkturan and Patrick Beasley represent the AG in this case and were present in this hearing.  They were once employed by Mr. Smith as Assistant District Attorneys.   Mr. Smith said (p.19):

On the 19th of Januaryy, Mr. Yurkturan, who is seated over here in the courtroom, and Patrick Beasley, were subpoenaed.  A subpoena was issued to them by the District Attorney's office.  They were supposed to show up on the 19th of January. Okay. (Yes, Mr. Smith disclosed grand jury subpoenas on the record.). 
 Mr. Smith then claimed (p.19) the state is preventing anyone from seeing a videotape that shows "Mr. Butler was framed twice" by MBN agents.  Judge Priester disagreed with the District Attorney: 
(Priester) Well, I personally take issue with that in that I sat through watching that video for approximately 12-16 hours and there was nothing to show. 
Smith: Well, we have an expert who corroborates the fact that it was tampered with.

Priester: Well, that's a little different than what you said.
Mr. Smith continued to accuse the two prosecutors of avoiding his subpoenas and engaging in more unethical conduct.  However, Judge Priester told him "Fine. But you know what? I don't care."  He said all he cared about was adjudicating Mr. Butler's case in a preliminary hearing and that  he was "not going to inject myself into the cloak and dagger issues between the DA's office and the senior circuit judge and whatever judge or whoever it was that took that case.  That's way over my pay grade."

The District Attorney tried to rally from this admonishment and drag Williams back into the hearing.  He replied to the court on a direct question that only the District Attorney could prosecute this case.   Judge Priester asked him repeatedly (p.25-26) if he was prepared to present the case instead of the Attorney General.  Mr. Smith avoided answering the question until he finally said "It's very clear that I'm not presenting it (the case)."  Judge Priester finally told him that he had not answered the question to his satisfaction.

Judge Priester had enough and finally ended the hearing.  He postponed it until today.  His order states  that the hearing was continued today "Because of the raucous and unprofessional behavior by Mr. Smith, District Attorney...".

Kingfish note: Out.of.control.

*Mississippi Code Section 7-5-59:

(2) The Attorney General is hereby authorized to conduct official corruption investigations and such other white-collar crime investigations and computer crime investigations that are of statewide interest or which are in the protection of public rights.


Anonymous said...

Do we smell a rat? Sounds like an investigation of DA Smith by AG Hood may be warranted.

Anonymous said...


Grammar police step right in here!

Anonymous said...

RSS is an absolute idiot....nuf said.

Anonymous said...

Did the someone pay the DA to let the dealer go with the usual slap on the wrist/Hinds Revolving Door program, but the AG stepped in and he couldn't complete the contract?

Kingfish said...

Separate case. One is consumer fraud case. County prosecution is a drug case. Cases as there are two drug cases.

Anonymous said...

The question is WHY is RSS so interested in Mr. Butler's cases? What does Mr. Butler know about Smith that causes him to be so protective of Butler? Hmm?

Anonymous said...

This explains a lot.

Red Flag said...

Raises eyebrows.

Anonymous said...

Seems legit.

Anonymous said...

Hinds County ... A World of Difference ... and A Very Special Place!

Anonymous said...

5:10 - what's the error?

Ah Sew said...

What that smell?

Anonymous said...

Isn't obvious that Smith is protecting this guy? Can anyone do something about this??

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Todd Stauffer or his girlfriend will mention any of this in the weekly band venue circular they call
"The JFP" ?

Anonymous said...

All these idiots, Antar, Preister, Stamps, Hendrix, the Reverends and all these other militant blacks that think the city of Jackson is their playground and it is theirs to "run" take a step back and please for all things sacred understand YOU are the reason it is a dump. Nobody has faith in this modern day Titanic!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile more punks will be released for failure to prosecute.

Anonymous said...

Well i'll be..... i would have never guessed..............
You have to wonder how many death threats ole eyebrows gets from these underground creeps that run thangs round here.

Anonymous said...

Hell, when will the "so called Black Leadership" stand up to this shit ?

. . . I just remembered they haven't and they won't.

Any updates on the recent Belhaven crime spree ?

Anonymous said...

This is incredibly bizarre and disturbing behavior by the DA.

Anonymous said...

Smith sounds more like a public defender than a DA. Hinds county is corrupt as hell, just like they want it.

Anonymous said...

Generally speaking, there is a difference in the black and white culture as to the role of local government. The black culture sees government as more powerful and richer than it is. They expect government to be able to solve their personal problems like broken personal water and sewer lines, attic pests, disputes with neighbors, dead trees in their yard etc. They also hold elected officials in higher esteem and believe they have more power than they actually do. Black elected officials hold themselves in higher esteem because of their position than white office holders generally.

Not being racist, this is just a cultural difference.

White business owners see the government as a source of cash just like black business owners though.

Anonymous said...

9:32 AM

You are correct. Do you know why that is the case?

Think about it.

The government had to step in to tell white people that black people are actually people. Then the government had to step in to tell white people that black people are people who can vote. Then the government had to step in and tell white people that black people and white people can marry.

Every "victory" black people have had has been because courts determined their fate.

Also, government has had to step in and take care of black people with welfare and other assistance.

More of lifes every day events transpire WITH government for black people than with white people (here anyway....I realize there are more white people on welfare nationally...but that is not the case here in MS).

So it just stands to reason that black folks rely more heavily on government to solve their woes.

Not saying its good bad or indifferent..just sourcing the reasons.

Anonymous said...

Every time I hear the word culture I know I am going to hear a load of BS following.

Anonymous said...

LOL @ "Raises eyebrows"

Anonymous said...

11:29 - Careful with that - RSS paid a lot of money for dem eyebrows, or so I'm told.

Bonus points: who first said, and then who first sang, "That's when I reach for my revolver" in the context of um, uh, "culture"?

Anonymous said...

So first we learn the District Attorney subpoenaed investigators from the State Auditor's office, and now we learn in a separate case that he's subpoenaed two prosecutors from the AG's office. What's he going to do next, subpoena the FBI? This pattern of using the grand jury to interfere with other prosecutors and investigators is simply insane.

Smith has gone rogue. He's joined to the dark side. There's just no other explanation.

Racial Equality Finally said...

White people now have the benefit of government-dictated reverse discrimination laws. Also white people finally see equality in the application of hate crime legislation.

Finally black people are prosecuted for hate crimes at the same rate as white people are prosecuted for hate crimes and racism is recognized and called-out by he media and by law enforcement and by the judiciary.

And white people are seeing the injustices of quotas and set asides applied equally without regard to race. White people can depend on our government. Therefore white people are seeing honesty in government and fairness in the application of laws and regulations.

Pardon me while I take a shit and burn the fingertips off that typed this crap.

Anonymous said...

And the young " liberal White-guilt progressive creative class " still scratches their butt in amazement and wonders why Trump has dominated the Repub primaries.

Anonymous said...

If the fbi is not investigating smith, they damn well should be. This guy stinks to high heaven. He obviously has ties to organized crime. Why in the hell put your neck out for a cocaine dealer unless your on the take.

Anonymous said...

@9:44 - You speak of the "government" and the "courts" saying they had to step in for black people. The history lesson you give leaves out the fact that "the government" and "the courts" are mostly white.

Anonymous said...

Free Chris butler

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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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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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