/State Bar asks highest court to discipline Hinds district attorney

State Bar asks highest court to discipline Hinds district attorney

Smith is facing six misdemeanor state charges for illegally aiding criminal defendants. Adam Kilgore, Bar’s general counsel asked for the action of the high court in a five page formal complaint. He attached numerous documents that he claims demonstrate Smith’s misbehavior. Kilgore explained that Smith’s formal complaint stems from two informal Bar complaints, one from Hinds County Judge Melvin Priester Sr., and one from Circuit Judge Tomie Green from Hinds County. Priester described Smith as “irrational and manic” in a March 14 letter to Kilgore. Priester also stated that Smith was “virtually out of control” at a March 3 hearing. Priester states that Smith’s behavior was “so bizarre”, Priester had to report it to Bar, which has governing power over its lawyer membership. Two allegations against Green are that Smith attempted to improperly contact Amy Whitten (Green had designated her as a special judge in Smith matters) and that Smith made “malicious and unsophisticated statements” at a February 12 news conference. Green also stated that Smith’s conduct was “intentional, retaliatory and improperly corrosive” after she took under advisement a question about Smith’s January grand jury subpoenas. Green’s Feb. 24 handwritten letter to Kilgore stated that she was considering grand jury subpoenas “that were challenged” by the state Attorney General’s Office, his staff, as well as Marshall Fisher, chief of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and his staff. Fisher was the former chief of Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Kilgore was told by Fisher that Smith had left a handwritten note underneath her office door on February 9, “trying to get him to meet with my mother”, who she claimed she knew, but didn’t have a close relationship with. She claimed she had emailed Smith to inform him that her request was “odd” and inappropriate. The next day, Green wrote Smith’s mother Alice Smith a voicemail, claiming that the call was to Green’s query. Green stated that it didn’t happen. She was quite angry and demanded that respect be shown. Kilgore attached a brief note to Green, which appears to have been sent to her by DA Smith. A transcript of the March 3 preliminary hearing before Judge Priester regarding defendant Christopher Butler is also attached to the MSSC complaint. This is Smith’s accusation of illegally aiding. Smith has not yet made a public statement regarding the charges against his. Sanford Knott was Butler’s attorney at the hearing. He claimed that the Attorney General’s Office didn’t have the authority or the right to prosecute Butler. The transcript shows Smith agrees. AG representatives argued against their positions by stating that Butler had been indicted in “other cases” that the DA’s office was dealing with. Knott maintained that it didn’t matter. Smith informed the judge during the hearing that the video against Butler had been tampered with. Priester stated that he had seen it. Smith was also informed by the judge that he wouldn’t “inject myself into the cloak-and-dagger issues between DA’s Office, the senior circuit judge and any judge or whoever took the case.” This is way above my pay grade right now.” Wednesday morning saw Smith and Jim Waide, his Tupelo attorney, appear in a private hearing before Circuit judge LaRita Cooper–Stokes to discuss their motion for the “immediate dismissal” of state charges against Smith. Representatives from the AG’s Office were also present. Waide stated that a transcript of the brief meeting would be made available to all parties after they had left the meeting. Waide declined to comment, stating that Smith was already in trouble with local magistrates for his remarks earlier this year. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today.