Assistant Public Defender jailed - - Jackson, MS

Assistant Public Defender jailed

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Hinds County Public Defenders' office held a press conference Thursday, coming to the defense of one of their own attorneys.

Hinds County public defender Michele Purvis Harris says her assistant public defender, Christopher Routh, was thrown in jail and charged with contempt of court Wednesday, but she say's it was his client who was out of order.

Routh was at a hearing defending Loren Shell Blackwell on capital murder charges, in last years killing of 81 year old Lee Kendrick of Pearl.

Harris says Blackwell became irate when she heard her bond was to be revoked and she was headed back to jail. There was a temporary loss of order in the courtroom according to witnesses.

Judge Weill's court order says Routh failed to abide by a court order, and was disruptive, actions which he and his office deny.
"We will take the necessary steps to appeal the contempt order and we will move forth, but again we will not be intimidated, we will not be bullied, we will continue to do our jobs," said Harris.

There's been tension between the Public Defenders office and the judge for over a year now. Harris says nine of her assistants have been threatened with contempt by Judge Weill.

Jackson attorney Merrida Coxwell is representing Routh, his fourth case of a Hinds County public defender charged with contempt by Judge Weill.

"I've not been there so I don't know whats going on," said Coxwell. "I do know in the two prior ones I handled, those turned out successful for the public defenders."

We contacted Judge Weill's office.  His secretary said he couldn't comment on the contempt charge while it's still being reviewed.

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