What ever happened with …?
Aug. 26, 2001
It's said the wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. That's true. Sometimes, they grind so slowly that people lose track of what the original investigations and court cases were all about.
Here's a look at a few stories from the cops and courts beat that have been working their way through the system for some time.
Comcast sentencings on hold indefinitely
I get at least two e-mails a week from people asking when C.D. "Bubba" Newell and Kim Gianakos are going to be sentenced.
Newell and Gianakos were two of four defendants tried in U.S. District Court in April in an alleged money-laundering conspiracy to defraud Comcast of $2.6 million between January 1994 and August 1996. Both were originally scheduled to be sentenced on June 22. The hearing was rescheduled for Aug. 3, and then suspended indefinitely.
Frank Trapp, who represents Gianakos, has taken issue with the recommendations of a pre-sentencing investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney's office.
Sentences in federal convictions are determined by a complicated set of guidelines. Little deviation from the formula is possible, but can be granted in extraordinary cases.
Gianakos was well-known for her activism in support of causes like State Games of Mississippi and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
It is unclear at this point when the hearings will be re-scheduled. Newell's attorney, Henry Palmer, could not be reached for comment.
DuBose awaits approval from mayor's office
An Internal Affairs committee has completed its investigation into alleged thefts of cash and checks from the Meridian Police Department's front desk, where a civilian worker and a police officer allegedly stole several thousand dollars between February and May 2001.
The report had been submitted once to Acting Chief Benny DuBose, who returned it because he had questions. Those questions have now been answered.
On Friday, DuBose forwarded his recommendations to Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith for approval. He said he expects to hear back from the mayor's office by Tuesday.
The police department and the city of Meridian are also awaiting word from the mayor's office about who will be the next chief of police. Former Police Chief Gregg Lewis' retirement was official on July 20 although he had been out of the office for a couple of weeks by that time.
DuBose says he will accept the appointment if it's offered.
Plaintiff exhausts appeals in malpractice lawsuit
The plaintiff in a malpractice lawsuit against Meridian gynecologist and obstetrician Ronnye Purvis has run out of places to appeal.
Tonya Perkins filed the lawsuit in Lauderdale County Circuit Court after the "explosive delivery" of her child in September 1994. During the rare birthing event, the infant shot out of her womb, struck Purvis in the chest and fell to the floor. The baby was injured.
A jury found in July 1998 that Purvis had done everything he could under the circumstances, and rejected the mother's lawsuit. Perkins appealed to the Mississippi Court of Appeals, which upheld the jury's verdict.
Perkins then appealed to the Mississippi State Supreme Court. In January 2001, the high court agreed to hear the case by a narrow 4-4-1 vote. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed itself, ruling by a 7-1-1 vote not to hear it after all.
Barring an extraordinary, and unlikely, appeal to U.S. District Court, the case is over.
The rest of the indictments
A story in Thursday's edition of The Meridian Star listed more than 160 indictments issued in July by a Lauderdale County grand jury but that isn't all of them. District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell reported in early August that the grand jury had issued a total of 323 indictments. These will be released as they become available.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.