Feds Fire Back at Melton | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Feds Fire Back at Melton


Mayor Frank Melton, pictured here in 2006, may have bypassed Council and brought in his own debris crew from Louisiana.

In a brief filed Monday, Dec. 1, federal prosecutors argued that the purity of Jackson Mayor Frank Melton's motives has no bearing on his trial for civil-rights violations. Their motion(PDF) was a response to a defense brief(PDF) claiming that prosecutors must prove the mayor and his bodyguard Michael Recio acted with a "bad purpose or evil motive" when they allegedly ordered and participated in the 2006 destruction of a Ridgeway Street duplex.

During the mayor's state trial for the Ridgeway incident, defense attorneys repeatedly argued that Melton had not acted with "evil intent" and that he was protecting the city from drugs and crime.

Prosecutors objected to this defense in their brief: "Throughout history, law-breakers have sought to escape conviction by arguing that their illegal actions … were undertaken for the greater good of human kind," they wrote. Prosecutors maintained that the phrase "bad purpose or evil motive" is merely shorthand for the requirement that Melton and Recio's actions were "conscious wrongdoing."

"The reason the government objects to using this language—particularly the term 'evil motiveҗis because a lay juror may associate such terms with their more colloquial definitions," prosecutors wrote. "Using this term may misleadingly suggest that the jury may not convict unless it determines that a defendant's conduct was completely wicked and his character wholly degenerate."

Also on Dec. 1, prosecutors filed a request(PDF) that Judge Daniel Jordan restrict access to their three most recent motions because they contained "sensitive or inflammatory information."

Two of those motions appear aimed at defending the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses. One asks that Jordan prohibit reference to the misconduct of police officer witnesses when it has no bearing on those witnesses' truthfulness. The other specifically asks Jordan to prohibit reference to "allegations of misconduct by Marcus Wright," the mayor's former bodyguard.

Marcus Wright is cooperating with prosecutors as part of a plea bargain. Defense attorneys signaled their intention to discredit Wright when they demanded that the government turn over JPD Internal Affairs documents on Wright. Those files investigated allegations made against Wright by a former male prostitute.

The third motion prosecutors filed under seal asks Jordan to reconsider his ruling on "certain statements" by Melton. While arguing for a separate trial for her client at a pre-trial hearing in November, Recio's attorney, Cynthia Stewart, referred to public statements by the mayor that could be construed as admissions of guilt. Jordan denied Recio's motion to sever his trial but made no official ruling on the mayor's statements at the hearing.

Previous Comments


The prosecutors are correct the issue of evil intent or wicked could be also stated as an intentional act by Melton to gain publicity to satisfy his craving for public attention and to show people how he could use his position to violated and intimidate anyone he feels are drug dealers. The other question that should be addressed is how many different people have lived at that address during the last six years? Was the calls for onlyy that address or the connecting apartment? Why didn't the mayor check and see the criminal history of the person he claimed was a drug dealer, if this was done he wouuld have known that this person had mental health problems and did not have the ability to run a big time drug house. Melton evil intent is very simple when he knew that he was harassing a mentally ill person that he could run over and boost his ego! Recio, please be smart enough to know it you life and family future at state and tell the truth and tesify against Melton. The rumors on the streets is that Sara O'Reilly Evans testifying will only expose the illegal activities she has been a part of the cover up of Melton other illegal activity. I would like to see if she is willing to be interview by the JFP to see if she is invloved in this mess.

Hot Sauce

Thanks to all our new JFP VIPs!

COVID-19 has closed down the main sources of the JFP's revenue -- concerts, festivals, fundraisers, restaurants and bars. If everyone reading this article gives $5 or more, we should be able to continue publishing through the crisis. Please pay what you can to keep us reporting and publishing.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus