Hinds judge loses fight over bar to public defender
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court says Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill cannot bar an assistant public defender from his court.
Weill had argued assistant public defender Alison Kelly was unprofessional and incompetent to practice law in his courtroom.
The Supreme Court said Thursday in the absence of finding through the bar complaint process that Kelly is incompetent to practice law, Weill is without authority to deny Kelly the right to practice law before him.
The dispute ended up in the Supreme Court after Chief Public Defender Michele Harris argued in March that Weill had illegally appointed private lawyers to represent indigent defendants in 55 cases where lower courts had named public defenders.
The Supreme Court denied the Public Defender's office request to remove Weill as judge on the 55 cases.