MayorWatch [10.25.2006] | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

MayorWatch [10.25.2006]

Melton's First Trial Looming

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton is slowly working up to his day in court. Court dates are set regarding Melton's alleged rampage on Ridgeway Street and a related charge surrounding his violation of gun laws.

Melton is slated to appear in court for his gun violations on Nov. 13, with Attorney General Jim Hood lodging numerous complaints against the mayor for carrying guns into restricted places, like churches, parks and schools. That case, which includes a felony charge, is moving fast, with the discovery phase already complete.

His day in court on indictments of burglary, conspiracy and directing minors to commit felonies during his alleged rampage in Ridgeway Street is also well underway, with Melton and police officers Michael Recio and Marcus Wright fighting the five-part indictments against them in either March or April of 2007, according to court documents.

Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green put a gag order on the Ridgeway case days after the indictment came down, but weeks into the gag order, Green was chiding attorneys for submitting inadmissible evidence attempting to link the damaged Ridgeway Street property with drug activity.

"These cases … should not and will not be resolved on the golf courses, in restaurants and lounges, in backrooms or meeting rooms. A criminal prosecution is not a popularity contest," Green wrote, explaining that the court "has not been pleased with the subtle violations of its order by attorneys in the past week."

"No attorney should file motions and attach documents that are irrelevant, misleading or inadmissible in an attempt to litigate these criminal matters in the media, or on the streets of Jackson," Green said.

Green also mentioned in the Oct. 2 warning that she noticed Wright and Recio still acting as occasional Melton bodyguards in violation of the commands of their bond (which moved them to desk duty). Both incurred huge amounts in city overtime pay this year thanks to their constant companionship with Melton.

"Either the spokesperson for the police or the police chief are not aware of the whereabouts of these officers, or they have misrepresented the officers' whereabouts. It is neither prudent nor recommended that the defendant officers continue to participate in conduct that may facilitate further allegations against them," the judge wrote.

The state filed a motion for contempt and sanctions against Melton in early October "as a result of conduct by the defense attorney and city department heads and other employees on Oct. 9." The offending behavior likely involves the Oct. 9 press announcement of Houston attorney Craig Washington joining Melton's defense. City employees, including Police Chief Shirlene Anderson, Interim Fire Chief Todd Chandler, City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans and other city employees, attended the announcement wearing stickers in support of Melton's acquittal.

Melton's defense attorney Dale Danks submitted an Oct. 17 response arguing that Melton's attorneys did not violate the gag order at the press event.

Green has not yet ruled on the contempt filing, and the court clerk says they do not know when she will.

Melton Disses County

Frank Melton recently assailed The Clarion-Ledger for not calling out the county for keeping space limited in the county jail. Goliath had run a snippy editorial deriding the mayor for not doing more to reduce jail overcrowding. Melton responded with a letter pointing out that the city has already joined in an agreement with the county requiring the city to fund the Youth Detention Center "at a cost of one-third of a million dollars" so long as the county funds the Adult Detention Center.

Hinds County Supervisor Doug Anderson said he wasn't aware of the mayor's problem housing inmates.

"I did not know that he was having problems housing inmates. That never was brought to my attention. Now that it is, we're looking at it," Anderson said, adding that the county is already working to expand facilities.

The county proposed an agreement with the city, asking that the city agree to keep funding the Youth Detention Center, (for almost $1.3 million, as opposed to "one third of a million," as Melton wrote in his letter), which will extend usage of the facility past its 2007 shut-off date. At the moment, the county is also looking into expanding the penal farm, having hired an engineering firm, architectural firm and bond attorneys, Anderson said.

"We're working as expeditiously as we can," Anderson told the Jackson Free Press.

Rejecting A Gifthorse?

Last week, Mayor Frank Melton canceled his membership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an organization that requires about $11,000 a year in membership fees.

"I will not participate because I've been to (meetings), and I see no value," Melton told The Clarion-Ledger.

On the other hand, former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said the U.S. Conference of Mayors served a good purpose for him, helping lead him to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of funding grants for the city.

"I heard about the (EPA's) Brownfields Program through the U.S. Conference of Mayors. When there was talk of cutting out the community-development block grant program a few years ago, this organization led the charge to keep the program, which meant money wouldn't stop flowing into our low and moderate income sections of the city. Also, the Festival Park development on Jefferson Street came out of that," Johnson told the JFP.

"Ultimately we received over a $1 million for that Festival Park site—well over the cost of the U.S. Conference of Mayors membership fee."

Johnson pointed out that the Conference of Mayors also allowed him to exchange ideas with other mayors and garner some hints on working on the city's infrastructure and crime problems.

Previous Comments

ID
66963
Comment

Last week, Mayor Frank Melton canceled his membership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an organization that requires about $11,000 a year in membership fees. “I will not participate because I’ve been to (meetings), and I see no value,” Melton told The Clarion-Ledger. Hey, Boo Boo, I'm smarter than the average bear!

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-10-25T22:56:48-06:00
ID
66964
Comment

Melton sees no value because of his disrespect and disregard for others. He hears only I, ME and MY. Since the US Conference is made up of WE, THEY and OUR, Melton has no appreciation. This City really blew it by putting this man in office. It continues to be an embarrassing tragedy amd I can't help but wonder when the horror story will end. Melton and his bodyguards appeared the other day in a Jackson School. He was without comment but they were definitely in defiance of the Judge's orders.

Author
justjess
Date
2006-10-26T12:08:24-06:00
ID
66965
Comment

Melton and his bodyguards appeared the other day in a Jackson School. He was without comment but they were definitely in defiance of the Judge's orders. Jjess Disgusting isn't it! It sure would be nice of our mayor took the time to lash out against ignorant fools who write crap about Jackson rather than wasting space complaining to the media or terrorizing houses. But, I guess since this clueless lady praises Melton he doesn’t care if she says that “Jackson is a disgrace to the South.” and “…put an electric fence around the city to keep "in" the thugs - who only want to rob and kill. No one in his or her right mind would want to live in the city.” The only thing disgraceful here is Ms. Sandra Compton’s comments; and Mayor Melton who lets these kinds of attacks go on without defending Jackson because this woman praises him and his backwards-A$$ way of conducting himself.

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-10-26T14:00:56-06:00
ID
66966
Comment

It sure would be nice of our mayor took the time to lash out against ignorant fools who write crap about Jackson rather than wasting space complaining to the media or terrorizing houses. I was going to put that in the anti-Jackson letters thread. It's a shame that it all the positive things going on here, that people still want to do what they can to downgrade Jackson. Let 'em have their cake and eat it for now, Jackson's on the way back up!

Author
golden eagle
Date
2006-10-26T14:26:24-06:00
ID
66967
Comment

Pike-loves-the-jfp, thanks for sharing the link. It is truly amazing how one could be so off based.

Author
justjess
Date
2006-10-26T14:30:50-06:00
ID
66968
Comment

It is truly amazing how one could be so off based. It's sad. It'll be even sadder when she'll have to eat her words within a decade. Kicking against the pricks will be a lot more painful as the city progresses.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-10-27T08:06:07-06:00
ID
66969
Comment

Melton reaches for straws... The Ledge is reporting that Melton is trying to have Peterson removed from office and the case thrown out. If he isn't guilty, why are they trying to turn a simple plea deal into something else? Sounds desperate! It's a shame that Melton cannot take the high road like the Sheriff who recently got indicted (remember you can indict a dead person or whatever Danks said) and step down. He is really embarrassing! Seems like a bunch of "much to do about nothing" as DA's offer defendants deals all the time.

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-10-27T18:37:41-06:00
ID
66970
Comment

"Goliath had run a snippy editorial deriding the mayor for not doing more to reduce jail overcrowding. Melton responded with a letter pointing out that the city has already joined in an agreement with the county requiring the city to fund the Youth Detention Center “at a cost of one-third of a million dollars” so long as the county funds the Adult Detention Center." i thought he said he didnt read the news paper. or watch the news.

Author
jrt
Date
2006-10-30T08:02:33-06:00
ID
66971
Comment

Good point, jrt. He seems to think he is wounding us print folks somehow to tell us he doesn't read the newspaper. (Kind of like Bush when he says it.) It just makes him look uncurious and unwilling to take the time to see what is being reported in the city (or, in Bush's case, the country and world) that they claim to care so much about. In other words, his saying that (and probably lying about it) only makes Melton look bad.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-30T11:27:28-06:00
ID
66972
Comment

Faye Person said that she would respond to Danks' motion to remove her from the case and throw the case out because, according to Melton and Danks, Peterson broke the law by giving advice to one of the defendants. It sounds as if someone is ready to break camp and the scout leader is trying to keep the troup together. I could be wrong on this but I think that Frank and Dank can "call in the dogs and pi$$ on the fire because hunting season is over!"

Author
justjess
Date
2006-10-30T13:19:21-06:00
ID
66973
Comment

It was stupid if true of Peterson to tell him to call her. She should just communicate through the attorneys and that is it.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-30T14:10:14-06:00
ID
66974
Comment

But Kingfish, doesn't this shape up to sound like a "HE Said - She Said?" I agree that if this is the case that Peterson should know better and the idea is to communicate through the attorneys only. Who knows what the facts are? Certainly Peterson must know that she is under a magnifying glass and even at her very best they will be taking shots at her. Rember the news conference when Walker was standing behing frank and made the statement that "Faye ain't no-good - She is fu@#$%* Jimmy Jam. These folks are as tedious as a twice told tale.

Author
justjess
Date
2006-10-30T14:54:34-06:00
ID
66975
Comment

You are right. That is why I said "if".

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-30T15:07:58-06:00
ID
66976
Comment

Yes, I would be very hesitant to jump to conclusions based on a motion written by Mr. Danks to try to get all the charges dismissed against his client. We should have more for you on this shortly.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2006-10-30T15:18:42-06:00
ID
66977
Comment

Yeah, Dale Danks would not be my first choice for unbiased coverage on this matter... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-30T15:25:22-06:00

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