(Laurel) - The proceedings in Jones County Circuit Court concluded on a somewhat different note Tuesday afternoon, April 9, at the Laurel Courthouse. After dealing primarily with pleas and revocation hearings earlier in the day, Judge Dal Williamson had to rule on two motions to dismiss cases based on the defendants right to a speedy trial – a right alloted by the Sixth Amendment. Both defendants in the motions to dismiss cases were represented by attorney Michael Mitchell.
The first involved Vickie Haynes, who faced two counts of uttering forgery, with both of the alleged crimes dating back to January 2006. The date of the indictment for the two allegations was November 2006, but the indictment was not served until May 2018, a time frame exceeding 11 years.
Mitchell argued that since his client lived in or near Jones County during that time, including working at Peco in Bay Springs and Sanderson Farms in Laurel, she reasonably could have been served the indictment. He also noted that a crucial witness in the case had passed away. After asking the defendant a litany of questions, the judge issued his decision.
“Due to this unduly lengthy delay, I’m going to dismiss this case. The length of eleven years and six months to serve her under these conditions is too long,” said Judge Williamson.
The second case involved a felony shoplifting charge and a conspiracy charge against Jamarco Jones. His alleged crimes occurred in September 2009, but he was not served his indictment until November 2018, shortly after Thanksgiving. That time span of over eight years plus the fact that Jones had served time in Jones County and Lauderdale counties, and had lived and worked close by in Meridian for several years, led Judge Williamson to dismiss his case also.
“During all the time he spent in the system, it would not have been that difficult to find him. There were multiple opportunities to learn his whereabouts in the state of Mississippi,” noted the judge. “I hope we’re near the end of these. Eight and a half years indicates that there’s not diligence in getting papers served. An eight-month delay is prejudice according to the (Mississippi) Supreme Court. This is eight and a half years.”