Hinds County DA indicted on felony charges - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Hinds County DA indicted on felony charges

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

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was been booked into the Raymond Detention Center Wednesday afternoon for two felony charges.

Smith has been accused of conspiring with an assistant to hinder prosecution of a criminal defendant.

RELATED: Hinds Co. Assistant DA indicted

He has been charged with two counts of conspiring to hinder prosecution in the first degree, felony charges punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on each count.

Along with the felony charges, the grand jury also indicted Smith on a misdemeanor count of violating a state law that states that district attorney shall not “consult, advise, counsel or defend” a person charged with a crime.

If convicted of that charge, Smith faces removal from office and a fine of up to $500.

"As a former district attorney, I have the utmost respect for the work our district attorneys do every day to make Mississippi a safer place to live. They are my colleagues in the fight against crime,” Attorney General Hood said. “So it brings me no pleasure to prosecute one of our own. But a Hinds County grand jury has indicted Mr. Smith for serious violations of the law that hamper the ability of our criminal justice system to do its job. My hope is that this case is resolved fairly and expeditiously for the sake of the citizens of Hinds County." 

The three-count indictment alleges that Smith conspired with former Assistant DA Ivon Johnson and with unnamed co-conspirators to hinder the prosecution of criminal defendant Christopher Butler in four different Hinds County Circuit Court cases.

The indictment alleges that Smith met with Butler at the Hinds County Jail, outside the presence of Butler’s attorney, advised Butler’s attorney about ways to undermine the state’s case against Butler, and sought to have him released from jail.

Johnson pleaded guilty in federal court in July to conspiring to take money in exchange for lowering bond for a criminal defendant.

Smith was arrested back in June on the misdemeanor charges for violating state law by advising, counseling, consulting or defending criminals. On Wednesday, Attorney General Jim Hood filed papers to drop the charges against Smith. 

RELATED: Charges dropped against Hinds Co. district attorney

Smith claims that Hood should have presented an indictment before arresting him. The case has not gone before a grand jury. Attorneys for Smith say because the charges brought against him could remove him from office, it was required to proceed by a grand jury.

We are working to bring you more details on this developing story.

READ MORE: Hinds County DA accused of helping criminals

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