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Notes from the cops and courts beat

By Staff
Oct. 21, 2001
Having written my last couple of columns about the Meridian Police Department, I spent some time this week back over at the Lauderdale County Courthouse. The 10th District Circuit Court was in Kemper County this week, and Judges Larry Roberts and Robert Bailey will be at a judicial conference next week but the wheels of justice never really stop turning.
The cost of appealing to the
Mississippi Supreme Court
Landmark Structures has announced it will appeal a ruling by Circuit Judge Larry Roberts affirming the Meridian City Council's decision to award a contract for a million-gallon water tower to Caldwell Tanks.
Landmark officials had also submitted a bid. When the contract was awarded to Caldwell, they objected claiming that Caldwell's proposal did not conform to the bid specifications. They said it was "non-responsive" and ineligible for consideration. They asked the judge to force the city council to award the contract to Landmark Structures.
They lost, and the appeal process began.
Deputy Circuit Clerk Renee Covert spent the better part of three days this week copying and re-collating the 51/2-inch-thick file for submission to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
This is not free. As the party filing the appeal, Landmark must pre-pay the expenses involved for transcription, processing and photocopies. The court reporter's bill was $2,159 ($2/page x 1,077 pages + postage). The circuit clerk's bill for photocopies was $1,515. This reckoning does not include the major expense involved attorneys' fees.
But, to place it in perspective, a million-dollar contract is involved and Landmark officials appear prepared to fight until the bitter end.
Quick takes from
Circuit Court
Out of town: The third-floor Circuit Court office will be a little empty next week. The judges will be gone, and the administrative staff will be out Wednesday through Friday for computer training. Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson's first-floor employees were cross-trained this week to pinch-hit and try to keep the paperwork up to date.
Bad checks: I have talked in this column about the number of felony bad check indictments issued in Lauderdale County. I reviewed the docket books this week. There are so many bad check indictments to hand-write into the docket books that the staff finally gave up and had a "felony bad check" stamp made to save time.
Full circle: Remember Christopher L. McCoy? He was indicted by a Lauderdale County grand jury in July for "DUI maiming." The indictment stems from a February 2000 traffic accident in which Shirley Logan was injured. The indictment against McCoy also charges him with being under the influence of cocaine at the time.
The accident occurred either during, or immediately following, a police pursuit. Logan has filed a $1 million civil lawsuit against the city of Meridian and MPD officer Steven Early, claiming that Early's pursuit caused the accident.
Meanwhile, McCoy was in the news again this week. He is one of 17 people arrested Wednesday by the East Mississippi Drug Task Force in a large "sting" operation. The charge? Sale of cocaine.
Comcast trial: In federal court, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate has set a Nov. 30 sentencing hearing for Comcast defendant David Van Colvin, who pleaded guilty and testified as the government's star witness in a conspiracy and money-laundering trial.
In that trial, which took place in April, two people indicted as co-conspirators were convicted of at least one charge against them C.D. "Bubba" Newell and Kim Gianakos.
The sentencing hearings for Newell and Gianakos were scheduled and re-set several times, and then suspended indefinitely while negotiations took place. A court spokesman said Friday their hearings will take place sometime before Colvin's and that no more delays will be granted.
Call me old-fashioned
A couple of things struck me during an interview Thursday with Capt. Keith McCary of the Meridian Police Department. The first was his willingness to speak his mind. McCary colors outside the lines.
He has submitted his resume for consideration in the search for a new police chief, but thinks Acting Chief Benny DuBose should be appointed.
Even so, I wondered why Mayor John Robert Smith has not yet interviewed him for the position. The other three contenders from inside the police department have been interviewed. Even if you don't think he's the right man for the job, he is a police captain and is entitled to the same respect shown to other candidates.
Maybe there's a reason he hasn't been asked to interview. If there is, it would be good policy and good manners to tell him what it is not that he's complaining. A vaguely worded e-mail from the city's second-in-command seems an insufficient response to me.
I wonder how many other Meridian police officers support DuBose's appointment. I hope part of the mayor's process, whatever it entails, in selecting a new chief will be to solicit their opinions in the matter.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.

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