Notes from the cops and courts beat
By By Suzanne Monk / assistant managing editor
April 6, 2004
Last week's meeting of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors ended in harsh words between Ray Boswell, who represents District 5, and pretty much everybody else. So, what else is new?
The bone of contention: Appointment of a representative to a three-member jury commission that meets once a year under the supervision of the circuit court.
Eddie Harper of District 1 said he couldn't support Boswell's candidate, Gary Huffmaster, because he didn't know him. Boswell said the board's current appointee, Jesse Barnett, had been serving 12 years and it was time to give someone else a chance.
And, Boswell being Boswell, he couldn't resist adding this: "Well, you've been supervisor for about three months, and I wouldn't ever vote to put (you) back in."
A storm in a teacup.
I've been covering the courthouse for five or six years. I didn't even know we had a "jury commission," and I couldn't tell you what one does.
But, at any rate, maybe the supervisors should let Boswell have his way about this he has more experience with the criminal justice system than they do.
Grand jury: A Lauderdale County grand jury met last week. The 18-member panel interviewed 67 witnesses, issued 386 indictments and made the now-familiar recommendations for improvements at the juvenile detention facility. The Meridian Star will publish the indictment list as soon as it enters the public record.
Former Meridianite: Some of you may remember Freddie Odell Carroll. He grew up here, and his family owned Bonanza on Frontage Road, which has since been torn down. Carroll ended up moving to Marietta, Ga., where he became a successful developer. He was charged there in December 2002 with murder in the death of a man who was allegedly having an affair with his wife.
Carroll initially entered a plea of not guilty, but accepted a plea bargain in March as his trial date approached. He pleaded guilty to the lesser-included charge of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years, with five years suspended and 25 to serve.
Jail mail: I got a letter from Jonathan Fulcher, who is serving a life sentence for the 1998 attempted robbery of the Sunglass Hut at Bonita Lakes Mall.
I know that sounds like a long time, but he was sentenced as a habitual offender with at least one prior conviction for a violent crime. Because of that, he was subject to the more severe of Mississippi's "three strikes" laws.
Anyway, Fulcher is incarcerated at East Mississippi Correctional Facility at Lost Gap, and says he has filed a federal lawsuit against the prison and its correctional officers alleging violations of his constitutional rights pretty standard for jailhouse lawsuits.
I haven't decided what, if anything, to do about it.