City Hall and HPD offer different versions of court corruption - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg City Hall and HPD offer different versions of court corruption

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

There appears to be a difference of opinion between Hattiesburg police and City Hall when it comes to the level of alleged criminal activity within the city's municipal court system.

A nearly two month HPD internal affairs investigation concluded a major lack of competence within the court system. Which includes clerks receiving rewards for dismissing tickets, fines, and warrants.  As well as clerks altering judicial dispositions.

The 13 page internal investigation says of the four city court clerks involved, one tried to get another clerk to dismiss a ticket for a gang member and received a phone call from the gang members wife, asking why he had not been released. 

The report goes on to say that another clerk accepted at least four gifts, including a Dooney and Burke handbag from a bail bond agent, and a tank of gas from a defendant who would have lost his drivers license had his ticket not been changed to a non-moving violation.

Another clerk allegedly changed judge's dispositions in order to lower fines or be released from jail.  The same clerk allegedly had taken and recalled 21 warrants against one individual.  The  clerk also contacted two judges about wiring her money after losing her money gambling on the coast during a clerk convention.  One judge wired her $100. The report added that the clerk would take court paperwork after a judge had set an amount and scratch through it and set a lower amount. 

Thursday, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree confirmed that one person had been terminated and three others disciplined. He said there were some things not properly handled and were not as professional as you would want them.

An executive summary of the investigation drafted by City Attorney, Charles Lawrence, painted a different picture than the HPD report.  The executive summary stated that it couldn't be determined whether any cases were expunged for money or if any documents had been shredded improperly.  The summary added that there was no evidence a clerk was good friends with an alleged gang member or his wife nor was there evidence that a clerk had used their position for an advantage on behalf of a gang member. 

The executive summary concluded that some clerks did not have a sufficient grasp of their jobs and lacked professionalism and that there were instances where fees were not paid and paperwork being held until fines were satisfied.

Mayor DuPree says he plans to restructure the court system, doing away with the three judges and hiring one.  He said the decision was made long before the investigation began.  The city will also install new software that will make employees more accountable. 

While the police investigation is complete and city hall punishment has been doled out, D.A. Patricia Burchell says a criminal investigation among several agencies is ongoing.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

    FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:43 AM EDT2018-05-23 13:43:09 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 5:04 PM EDT2018-05-24 21:04:01 GMT
    The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger. (Source: FDA)The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger. (Source: FDA)

    The US Food and Drug Administration health is warning parents about the risks of teething remedies.

    More >>

    The US Food and Drug Administration health is warning parents about the risks of teething remedies.

    More >>
  • Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations

    Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations

    Thursday, May 24 2018 1:32 PM EDT2018-05-24 17:32:54 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 4:54 PM EDT2018-05-24 20:54:39 GMT
    (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this May 22, 2018 file photo, actor Morgan Freeman attends the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York. Freeman is apologizing to anyone who may have felt “uncomfortable or disrespected” by his behavior....(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File). FILE - In this May 22, 2018 file photo, actor Morgan Freeman attends the 2018 PEN Literary Gala in New York. Freeman is apologizing to anyone who may have felt “uncomfortable or disrespected” by his behavior....
    Actor Morgan Freeman has apologized for making anyone feel uneasy, in the wake of a CNN report in which multiple women accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.More >>
    Actor Morgan Freeman has apologized for making anyone feel uneasy, in the wake of a CNN report in which multiple women accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.More >>
  • Study: MS ranked deadliest state for fatal car crashes

    Study: MS ranked deadliest state for fatal car crashes

    Thursday, May 24 2018 4:53 PM EDT2018-05-24 20:53:51 GMT
    Study ranks Mississippi as deadliest state for car crashes.Study ranks Mississippi as deadliest state for car crashes.

    What are the chances you will die in a car crash?  A recent study says it depends on which state you are in.   Mississippi averaged 23.1 deaths per 100,000 people due to car crashes in 2016, ranking it as the deadliest state in that category, according to a study examining the effects of distracted driving. "Speed is a big one, distracted driving of course is another one, we need to be aware of our surroundings at all time," said Sergeant Trav...

    More >>

    What are the chances you will die in a car crash?  A recent study says it depends on which state you are in.   Mississippi averaged 23.1 deaths per 100,000 people due to car crashes in 2016, ranking it as the deadliest state in that category, according to a study examining the effects of distracted driving. "Speed is a big one, distracted driving of course is another one, we need to be aware of our surroundings at all time," said Sergeant Trav...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly