Scales of Justice

(LAUREL - MAY 9, 2019) Christopher Wayne Anderson of Jones County will not have to face a charge of felony fleeing in Jones County when he completes the current sentence he is serving in Forrest County.

Attorney Patrick Pacific represented Anderson in court in Ellisville earlier this week and argued that the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated. Pacific laid out a time line to Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson that started with Anderson’s arrest in 2008 and stretched nearly 11 years to February 2019, which was the year the indictment was served to Anderson.

Pacific said that the defendant had reported to Jones County authorities years ago before heading off to Walthall County Drug Court, which he completed in 2011, but he was not served nor were any detainers placed on him.

The defendant was then picked up by the Jones County Sheriff’s Office in 2013, noted Pacific, for an incident at a relative’s house and transported to the Forrest County line to be handed over to Forrest County authorities to face an attempted auto burglary charge there. He was convicted on that charge in 2014 and is still serving time for that crime. No detainers or holds were placed on Anderson by Jones County at that time either.

The judge also heard testimony that the State of Mississippi no longer had access to video evidence related to the case, but eye witness testimony was available. Pacific posited that if the defendant had been served in a timely manner and brought to trial, that video, which he deemed essential evidence in his motion filing, might have been available.

Judge Williamson stated that he had a note that showed February 13, 2019, as the date Anderson’s indictment was served. That time frame of over a decade far exceeds the Mississippi Supreme Court’s position that a delay of more than eight months becomes prejudicial. The judge referred to that in his ruling to dismiss the case, saying that “a delay of 10 years and 10 months is presumptively prejudicial” and “far in excess” of the accepted time frame.

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