Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Mississippi State Trooper Extortion Appeal

I previously reported that Holmes County Circuit Judge Jannie Lewis dismissed the extortion case against Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Sgt. Johnny Delaney.  Following the dismissal, District Attorney James Powell made good on his threat to appeal the dismissal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

According to the Supreme Court’s docket, the trial court record was filed on December 7, 2009, and the Court issued a briefing schedule on the same day.  The briefing schedule sets the deadlines for the State to file its principal brief, and for the defense to file Sgt. Delaney’s brief.  The schedule also sets a deadline for the State to file a reply brief in response to the arguments made by the defense.

At this pace, it will likely be 12-18 months before the Court rules on the State’s appeal.  This is the usual speed with which cases proceed through the appellate process.  Meanwhile, Sgt. Delaney is left to wonder what his future holds.

I find this very unusual case disturbing for a number of reasons.  My primary beef with this whole affair has nothing to do with the State, the prosecutors, the Courts, or even the law itself.  My problem is with the pathetically sorry manner in which the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) has treated Sgt. Delaney since the inception of this case.  The Clarion-Ledger previously reported that MHP suspended Delaney without pay when the charges were first levied.  That’s right–Delaney was suspended without pay even though he has been convicted of nothing.  For months, Sgt. Delaney has been deprived of his ability to earn a living, even though no proof has been brought forward that he committed a crime.  In the eyes of the law, Delaney is cloaked in the presumption of innocence, yet MHP is treating him as though he is already guilty.  From my point of view, that is a deplorable and patently disloyal way to treat a man who is supposedly a member of the MHP family.

And what kind of message does this action send to other Troopers?  The message is loud and clear:  If you write somebody a speeding ticket, and they get pissed off and accuse you of committing a crime, you’re on your own.  And not only are you on your own, you can’t feed your family until you prove yourself innocent.

I deal with Mississippi State Troopers frequently.  They are always on the other side of my cases, and I go after them–hard.  Despite this adversarial relationship, I firmly believe that rank-and-file Mississippi Troopers are among the finest law enforcement officers in the nation.  No matter how contentious the case, or how heated the cross-examination, the Troopers I’ve been up against have been professional, intelligent, honest and courteous.  These guys put it on the line every day, and do a damn good job in service to the people of Mississippi.  They deserve better than to be shunned by MHP brass when some malcontent makes unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct. 

MHP should stop the disgraceful practice of suspending Troopers without pay based upon unproven allegations.  If loyalty is too much to ask of MHP, how about this: Wait until misconduct is actually proven before you punish the officer.  You know, the whole “presumed innocent” thing.  Ever heard of it?

Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Curt Crowley

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2 responses to “Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Mississippi State Trooper Extortion Appeal

  1. Pingback: Defending Law Enforcement « Mississippi's Criminal Defense Blog

  2. The MHP Brass has been exposed of its intentional violations of MS laws, Federal laws, and the Laws of the land by Trooper Tony Shearer. Soon it will be heard in Federal Court., others fighting the system are our Honorable Troopers fighting against race issues within our ranks. MHP Brass is responding and operating as a MOB BOSS to Trooper Delaney however, MHP Brass as well as their Governor and Cheif who are great friends are responding as Medieval barrons hiding in their mansion protected by their guards. These Medieval barrons believe the KING Can Do No Wrong. MS Attorney General is allowing them to get away with it by intentionally turning a blind eye. Trooper Delaney in my opinion was set up by one of the MHP Br……….. you fill in the blank. If proof is needed of the behavior that MHP Brass is currently doing from year 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010 check out the records at Southern Federal Court in Mississippi and see the lawsuits filed against the Department of Public Safety which is also known as MHP. I know the men and women in the Mississippi Highway Patrol are great honorable people placing their life on the line for of Mississippi that is not the problem the problem is the leadership and we on the inside have known it to be a problem for a long time. Troopers I call on you to fight against this tryanny for you took an oath to protect yourself and others against such lawbreakers. It is this new leadership under this Chief and Governor that is a part of the problem within the ranks and file of our honorable troopers. The other part of the problem is you think you will get a promotion if you’re the yes man by stepping on your fellow brothers in the Blue and Gray which is MHP. Our MS Troopers cannot speak up because they are scared and have no legal recourse because the MHP Brass will retaliate, give them line partol, or charge them with a group offense which could lead to them being fired as well as given a bad report on their job proformance which could lead to a Group Three Offense. If our MS Troopers did speak up against this Governer and Chief the MHP Brass may as in my case order or force your wife to quit her job and claim conflict of intrest and they do this by threatening to fire the trooper then they threaten the Troopers life and still threaten to fire the trooper with a group three offense. Of course the Captain, Major , and Cheif of patrol and in the background the Governor will be in on all of this hiding behind sovergin immunity if a lawsuit was to be filed. MS Troopers please stand up for yourself or you won’t have a job worth having. The Governor is speaking of proposing each State Employee to be taken out from under the State Personell Board which means you will lose protection and possibly your job. Troopers contact your offical Rep and vote no to this when it becomes a bill. We all must stand against Tyanny and fight as our founding fathers have done. I am Trooper Tony Shearer badge F-14 and I took a stand against this corruption within MHP and it has cost me greatly but I am still fighting for you and my family for I took an oath to protect all of Mississipi and as a retired Military Officer I took an oath to protect the Law of the Land. Stand with me to help yourself against this new kind of Tyranny. Thank you.

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