Meridian CSC postpones Mackey hearing
By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
June 21, 2002
The Meridian Civil Service Commission agreed Thursday to postpone an appeal hearing for Richard Mackey a former captain with the Meridian Fire Department fired after an August 2001 arrest for aggravated assault when city attorney Lee Thaggard said he could not find his two key witnesses.
This should come as no surprise.
The unavailability of both the victim in the alleged assault, and an eyewitness to what happened, was the reason District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell dropped his aggravated assault indictment against Mackey in February 2002.
Notes in Mackey's circuit court file from the law enforcement officer who attempted to serve the missing witnesses with subpoenas earlier this year report that neighbors said one or both had moved away, possibly to Texas.
Thaggard said he issued his subpoenas for the witnesses on Tuesday and had no way of knowing they would be difficult to locate. CSC Chairman Syria Sturdivant said he should have.
Two other circumstances should be noted: 1) the alleged victim asked the district attorney to drop the charges against Mackey in September 2001; and 2) the indictment against Mackey was dismissed "without prejudice," which means he can be re-indicted if the witnesses become available at some point in the future.
The CSC ultimately decided to grant Thaggard's request to re-schedule the hearing because city officials had not previously requested a delay in the 10-month-old case.
Mackey had been granted one delay at the request of his attorneys, Dan Self and Robbie Jones, who felt the criminal charges against Mackey should be resolved before the CSC took up the appeal of his termination.
The hearing has been rescheduled for July 30.