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City Refuses to Finally Dismiss Case against Barr

Monday, July 20, 2015, 12:39 pm News Flash Archive

The City of Greenwood has refused to dismiss the case against Jelani Barr with prejudice. Barr was illegally arrested by city police April 7 of this year, and is set for trial August 3 before Municipal Court Judge Carlos Palmer.

Dismissing a case with prejudice is the normal manner in which false charges against a citizen are dropped by a prosecutor, and means that they can never be re-filed against him in the future.

Instead, City Prosecutor Charles Swayze III has asked the court to "decline to prosecute" Mr. Barr. Swayze's motion may be viewed here: Motion not to Prosecute.

By using this device, the city refuses to admit that the charges against Barr are false, and the city refuses to withdraw or drop them unconditionally.

Of greater concern, however, is that the city would be allowed to re-file the false charges and prosecute Mr. Barr at a later time for the same illegal arrest.

The Taxpayers Channel obtained a full copy of the court file in the case against Mr. Barr last Friday. As reported earlier, the file contains false statements and fabricated allegations filed by the city against Mr. Barr. See City Files False Statements in Barr Prosecution.

But Mississippi law is clear: an order of declination of prosecution does not bar the same citizen being re-charged and re-tried for the same offense at a later date. The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled consistently that this method of disposing of criminal cases is not permanent, and permits the government to bring the same charges again at a later date. See State v. Shumpert, 97-KA-00959-SCT (MS Sup Ct 1998), Beckwith v. State, 615 So.2d 1134, 1147-48 (Miss. 1992), and Smith v. State, 158 Miss. 355, 359, 128 So. 891, 892 (MS Sup Ct, 1930).

A further purpose for using this device is that it allows a city to defeat a suit for malicious prosecution by Mr. Barr. Were Mr. Barr to sue the city for maliciously prosecuting him, the city could re-file the charges and escape civil liability. Orders of Declination of Prosecution are used in this manner as "insurance policies" to frustrate innocent citizens in their quest to obtain monetary compensation for police misconduct against them.

Mayor Carolyn McAdams and Police Chief Ray Moore have both told the Greenwood Commonwealth that the city intends to "move to dismiss the charges" against Mr. Barr.

But when asked by The Taxpayers Channel last Friday whether the city would dismiss the charges with prejudice, so that they could never be brought up again, Mayor McAdams refused to answer, citing her trip to Florida to visit relatives. She referred us to the City Prosecutor, Mr. Swayze.

We asked specifically "Why hasn't the city of Greenwood requested the court to dismiss the charges against Mr. Barr with prejudice, and does it intend to do so?"

Mr. Swayze's response this morning was as follows:

"I am not able to comment on this pending case per the rules of ethics. I have filed a Motion to Nolle Prosequi which speaks for itself."

Tom Calhoun, Mr. Barr's attorney, was unaware of Mr. Swayze's action until informed by The Taxpayers Channel Friday afternoon.

Calhoun informed us that he has specifically requested Mr. Swayze to dismiss the charges against Mr. Barr with prejudice, and that Mr. Swayze refused to agree to do that. Calhoun said he had already objected to Swayze's plan to decline to prosecute the case as described above.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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