Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why do we have a "Commission on Judicial Performance"?

Today, the MSSC imposed a 270-day suspension on Alcorn Justice Court judge Jimmy McGee, on the following facts:
During April, 2008 the Respondent learned that a relative of the Respondent had allegedly been the victim of a crime. Respondent actively participated in the investigation of the matter which resulted in the indictment and arrest of a person identified herein as “A.B.”

Subsequent to the indictment and arrest of A.B., the Respondent, in his official capacity as Justice Court Judge, interfered with the orderly prosecution of the case against A.B. Respondent interfered with A.B.’s attempt to post bond, insisting that A.B. only be allowed to post a cash or written bond. Respondent became upset upon learning that A.B.’s family was allowed to post a property bond rather than a cash bond of $50,000 as Respondent proposed to law enforcement. Subsequently, the Respondent disrupted an executive session of the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors by entering the closed meeting uninvited, angrily complaining of the sheriff’s actions relating to the bond and otherwise causing a disturbance and an interruption of the business of the said Board of Supervisors.

Respondent then interfered with A.B.’s attempts to employ legal counsel by discouraging local attorneys from representing A.B. thereby attempting to deny A.B. his constitutional right to counsel and to a fair criminal proceeding. On or about the 13th day of April, 2009, Respondent appeared at the public hearing for acceptance of A.B.’s misdemeanor guilty plea and sentencing in the Circuit Court of Alcorn County, Mississippi. The presiding Circuit Judge allowed the Respondent to address the Court and the following was stated by Respondent on the record and in open court:

I could assure you that if anything like this ever happened to anybody that I know, my advice to them would be do not use the court, handle it themselves.

I would like for everyone in this court to know that had I had this to do over again we would never had went to a grand jury, that we would have taken care of this down at Biggersville, Mississippi, down on the farm like things should have been taken care of.
The Court more than doubled the 120-day suspension recommended by the MCJP (over a Dickinson dissent complaining that the 1890 constitution doesn't allow the MSSC to increase the recommended sanction).

My question is, why is this guy still a judge at all? What do you have to do to get kicked off the bench?

No wonder we have such sorry judges (as discussed at comments to this NMC post), when no one is making any effort to root them out.

... N.b. that I don't fault the MSSC necessarily, as it more than doubled the recommendation and may have some qualms as to whether Justice Dickinson is not correct. My question is, why wasn't removal from the bench recommended in the first place?


  1. The agreed facts go lightly on the misconduct of McGee in count one. I can't imagine what it would take short of a felony conviction to justify removal of a justice court judge.

  2. The actual underlying facts are much more extensive and the behavior of the judge much more nefarious...such as McGee putting a gun to AB's head. If you don't believe me, it is all on tape and transcribed. The family's attorney has the transcript. McGee taped it himself, attempting to gain AB's "confession"; then McGee presented it to the DA. On top of that McGee sued AB's family. It was all McGee's "creating" a case in order to get a $ settlement.Needless to say, the DA didn't appear to see anything criminal about the good judge's actions.

  3. Damn, Anon, that is crazy. Did the Comm'n get that transcript -- and omit that?

  4. Can't say; ask family. They would say, yup! Atty. would say YES. Give me a number.