Municipal Court Report Alleges Conspiracy Between Mayor Johnny Dupree and City Attorney Lawrence to Obfuscate Truth in an Attempt to Cover Up Crimes

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Amicus Curiae Statement to Hattiesburg City Council | October 01, 2012

"If people have concerns about our court, our court is fine." Mayor Johnny Dupree  ”I said it last week and I’ll say it again now. There’s no corruption in our court system.” Mayor Johnny Dupree "The investigation uncovered mostly poor job performance which is being addressed by the administration," Mayor Johnny Dupree.

     NOW INTO COUNCIL, through the undersigned advocate of the people, comes the Hattiesburg Patriot, and hereby notifies the council and affected parties of its intent to introduce intrinsic evidence of crimes, wrongs, and acts, in its case-in-chief, or alternatively, notifies the council and affected parties of its intent to introduce other crimes, wrongs, and acts in its case-in-chief.

I.     INTRODUCTION & SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

Pursuant to evidence brought forth and articulated by Hattiesburg Police Department's internal affairs report (the HPD report), made public on September 20, 2012, which shows a pattern of behavior that harmonizes with acts in violation of the Mississippi Code and reflects the corrupt intent and patterns of conduct of the municipal court clerks of the City of Hattiesburg, and which this advocate intends to introduce to the District Attorney's office for the Twelfth Judicial District of the State of Mississippi, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District, State of Mississippi, and the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi.

The Hattiesburg Municipal Court Clerks (clerks), namely Rosaland Betts, Anna Clark, Nicki Hampton, and Sharon Mark, and John and Jane Does 1-100, engaged in a wide-spread pattern of abuse of their official public positions and allegedly violated their duties for private gain in a number of different ways.  This statement alleges ways in which the above mentioned parties sought to enrich themselves by abusing their positions.  (1)  Accepting bribes and pay-offs from, among others, an un-named bail-bond agent, Sandra Willis, Pearlie Mae Barney, Camilya Woods, and Melvin Trotter.

  •      Clerks receipt of things of value from persons seeking relief at court, including purses, money, clothing, and gasoline.
  •      Altering of official legal records.
  •      Clerks engaging in fraud of the public welfare assistance program (EBT card).
  •      Failure to perform duty.
  •      Lying to law enforcement personnel conducting an official investigation.
  •      Impersonating a municipal officer.
  •      Practicing law without a license.

As set forth in more detail below, the nearly identical characteristics (including purpose, time, personnel, and subject matter) between the above listed wrongful conduct and the inter-departmental alleged conduct reflects the intrinsic nature of this evidence....they are merely uncharged overt acts in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy.

II.      FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The council is well aware of the facts of this case and therefore, they will only be repeated to the extent necessary for purposes of this statement.  A more detailed summary of the facts can be found in the internal affairs report of the Hattiesburg Police Department.

III.     NOTICE OF EVIDENCE OF ADDITIONAL ACTS

Through this pleading, the Hattiesburg Patriot puts the council and affected parties on notice of its intent to forward evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agencies of the following wrongful acts, all of which are relevant, probative, and necessary to provide this council with a complete picture of the overarching conspiracy set forth in this statement.

  • Anna Clark, based on her own admission in the internal police report, accepted things of value, such as money, gas, clothing, purses, and EBT cards, is in violation of:  MS Code 97-11-13. Bribery; penalty when officer, agent or trustee accepts bribe.
  • Ms. Clark, allegedly, on several occasions, acted in the role of City Prosecutor in violation of:  Mississippi Code 97-7-43. Impersonating state, county or municipal officer or employee.
  • Ms. Clark, while allegedly acting as prosecutor in open court, did engage in the unauthorized practice of law in violation of:  Mississippi Code 97-23-43. Profession; practicing without license.
  • Ms. Clark also allegedly failed to carry out her appointed duties in violation of:  Mississippi Code 97-11-37. Failure to perform any duty.
  • Nicki Hampton, by "scratching through"  court paperwork, after the judge had already set an amount for the defendant to get out of jail, did allegedly knowingly, maliciously, and unlawfully engage in the alteration of records in violation of: Mississippi Code 97-11-1. Alteration of records.
  • Ms. Hampton, according to the aforementioned HPD report, allegedly withdrew twenty-one (21) warrants over her time of employment, for a Mr. Jarvis Leggett, an uncharged party, in direct violation of: Mississippi Code 97-9-3. Court records and public papers; stealing, concealing, destroying, withdrawing, etc.
  • It is alleged that Ms. Hampton did, willfully and purposefully, mislead Judge Schmidt into believing that Mr. Leggett had served his time, when in fact, there was no documentation presented to the judge or for the file showing that he had been in jail to back up the TIME SERVED condition.  This overt action is in direct violation of : Mississippi Code 97-7-10. Fraudulent statements and representations.
  • It is alleged that Ms. Hampton did, on several occasions, did conspire with "others" to defraud the City of Hattiesburg by unlawful means, the payment of a just claim or penalty due the City of Hattiesburg, and did, through unlawful means, prevent the prosecution of suit for the proper enforcement of a claim or penalty, and when one or more such parties shall do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be guilty of a felony.  The act to effect the object of the conspiracy was the directing of Ms. Betts to enter said fraudulent documentation into the system, thereby, releasing Mr. Leggett from jail, in violation of: Mississippi Code 97-7-15. Conspiracy to defraud state; each party guilty of felony when one or more conspirators act.
  • It is alleged that Ms. Hampton, while over the Community Service Program, would allow some people to (a) sign up and complete the program without collecting the $35/$50 sign-up fee, and (b) allow people to exit the program with court abstracts in-hand showing that the fines had been settled with the City of Hattiesburg, thus depriving the City of Hattiesburg of prosecution of suit for the proper enforcement of a claim or penalty.  This allegation is a violation of Mississippi Code 97-7-15. Conspiracy to defraud state; each party guilty of felony when one or more conspirators act. This violation would include any and all parties (co-conspirators) which were benefactors of this scheme.
  • By the aforementioned litany of violations, Ms. Hampton  failed to perform her duties.  This, as well as neglecting to collect the program fees constitute dual violations of: Mississippi Code 97-11-37. Failure to perform any duty.
  • Sharon Mark, as bureau commander, instructed Rosaland Betts to only charge her God-son, Eric Bryant, One-hundred dollars ($100) for expunging of eight (8) charges, when the proper amount to be collected was $400.00, (fifty dollars ($50) per expunged case)  In so doing, Ms. Mark did willfully and knowingly deprive the City of Hattiesburg of Three-hundred dollars ($300), which did deprive the City of Hattiesburg of enforcement of a claim or penalty in direct violation of: Mississippi Code 97-7-15. Conspiracy to defraud state; each party guilty of felony when one or more conspirators act.; this action also constitutes the alleged violation of Mississippi Code 97-1-1. Conspiracy.
  • Ms. Sharon Mark, as bureau commander, would allow clerks to do their paperwork in whatever manner they saw fit up to and including expunging records.  She also allegedly allowed cases to not be filed after the cases were completed in the court system as well as allegedly not properly overseeing storage of said cases.  This is yet another alleged violation, by Ms. Sharon Mark, of Mississippi Code 97-11-37. Failure to perform any duty.
  • Rosaland Betts allegedly intimidated, seeking to "scare" witnesses with the intent of obstructing an official investigation. This alleged act violated Mississippi Code 97-9-55 If any person or persons by threats, force or abuse, attempt to intimidate or otherwise influence a judge, justice of the peace, juror, or one whose name has been drawn for jury service, witness, prosecuting or defense attorney or any other officer in the discharge of his duties, or by such force, abuse or reprisals or threats thereof after the performance of such duties, or to obstruct or impede the administration of justice in any court, he shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment not less than one (1) month in the county jail nor more than two (2) years in the state penitentiary or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00), or both such fine and imprisonment.

Alleged Professional Code of Conduct violations and statutes against

City Attorney Charles Lawrence

When Mayor Johnny Dupree and City Attorney Charles Lawrence produced a sanitized document to the city council attempting to obfuscate the truth and allegedly to hide serious crimes, the Hattiesburg Patriot alleges possible violations of the following:

ALLEGED VIOLATION Code of Conduct of Section 8.1 subsection (b)

RULE 8.1 BAR ADMISSION AND DISCIPLINARY MATTERS
An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not:
(a) knowingly make a false statement of material fact; or
(b) fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6.

ALLEGED VIOLATION Code of Conduct of RULE 8.2 subsection (a)

8.2  JUDICIAL AND LEGAL OFFICIALS
(a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicating officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office. (*PATRIOT NOTE A Clerk is a public legal officer)
(b) A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The Hattiesburg Patriot alleges that the statement in Mayor Johnny Dupree's Administrative Summary, "The investigation uncovered mostly poor job performance which is being addressed by the administration," is a reckless disregard for the truth.

ALLEGED VIOLATION Code of Conduct of RULE 8.3 subsection (b)

RULE 8.3 REPORTING PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT
(a) A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

(b) A lawyer having knowledge that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority. (Patriot Note - This would include city attorney Charles Lawrence, if he failed to report these occurrences.  When a judge allegedly allows a city clerk to act as prosecutor and that clerk is not a member of the Mississippi Bar that is not ethical or legal. If City Attorney did not report this, he allegedly violated Rule 8.3 subsection (b)

ALLEGED VIOLATION Code of Conduct of RULE 8.4 subsection (c) and (d)

RULE 8.4 MISCONDUCT
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(a) violate or attempt to violate the rules of professional conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or
(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law.

ALLEGED VIOLATION SEC. 97-1-1. Conspiracy subsection (f) 

If two (2) or more persons conspire either:

(f) To commit any act injurious to the public health, to public morals, trade or commerce, or for the perversion or obstruction of justice, or of the due administration of the laws;

(PATRIOT NOTE - See Administrative Summary submitted to council. It is alleged that Mayor Johnny Dupree and City Attorney Charles Lawrence engaged in a conspiracy to obfuscate the truth; thereby covering up felonies which occurred in the Municipal Court. This allegation is further supported in a unanimous letter from the city council to Mayor Johnny Dupree  in response to the Mayor's administrative summary give to council. This Administrative Summary allegedly constitutes an overt act in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the city of Hattiesburg in violation of SEC. 97-7-10. Fraudulent statements and representations. SEC. 97-7-15. Conspiracy to defraud state; each party guilty of felony when one or more conspirators act.

Alleged Statute Violations Against Mayor Johnny Dupree

SEC. 21-8-17 General powers and duties of mayor; approval of ordinances.

Alleged Violation SEC. 21-8-17. Subsection (1)

(1) The mayor shall enforce the charter and ordinances of the municipality and all general laws applicable thereto. He shall annually report to the council and the public on the work of the previous year and on the condition and requirements of the municipal government and shall, from time to time, make such recommendations for action by the council as he may deem in the public interest. He shall supervise all of the departments of the municipal government and shall require each department to make an annual report and such other reports of its work as he may deem desirable.

Alleged Violation SEC. 97-11-37. Failure to perform any duty.

If any person, being sheriff, clerk of any court, constable, assessor, or collector of taxes, or holding any county office whatever, or mayor, marshal, or constable, or any other officer of any city, town, or village, shall knowingly or willfully fail, neglect, or refuse to perform any of the duties required of him by law, or shall fail or refuse to keep any record required to be kept by law, or shall secrete the same, or shall violate his duty in any respect, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or be imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding six (6) months, or both.

ALLEGED VIOLATION SEC. 97-1-1. Conspiracy subsection (f) 

If two (2) or more persons conspire either:

(f) To commit any act injurious to the public health, to public morals, trade or commerce, or for the perversion or obstruction of justice, or of the due administration of the laws;

(*PATRIOT NOTE - See Administrative Summary submitted to council. It is alleged that Mayor Johnny Dupree and City Attorney Charles Lawrence engaged in a conspiracy to obfuscate the truth; thereby covering up felonies which occurred in the Municipal Court. This allegation is further supported in a unanimous letter from the city council to Mayor Johnny Dupree  in response to the Mayor's administrative summary given to council. This Administrative Summary allegedly constitutes an overt act in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the city of Hattiesburg in violation of SEC. 97-7-10. Fraudulent statements and representations and SEC. 97-7-15. Conspiracy to defraud state; each party guilty of felony when one or more conspirators act.)

IV.     CONCLUSION

For the reasons mentioned above, the Hattiesburg Patriot respectfully submits that the evidence of the clerks acts, as set forth above and attached documentation, as well as possible crimes allegedly committed by the administration should be considered during its case-in-chief here today as being relevant, and also extremely probative, as they relate to the acts alleged in this investigative summary. We feel this investigative summary provides reasonable grounds to terminate City Attorney Charles Lawrence and to appoint a new attorney, who can adequately represent the people of this municipality in carrying out transparency and the accurate reporting of possible crimes to our elected officials. We further ask the council to submit a complaint to the Mississippi Bar Association in connection with these allegations for a fair and impartial investigation into these allegations.

"The investigation uncovered mostly poor job performance which is being addressed by the administration," Mayor Johnny Dupree.   

Respectfully Submitted,

The Hattiesburg Patriot

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27 thoughts on “Municipal Court Report Alleges Conspiracy Between Mayor Johnny Dupree and City Attorney Lawrence to Obfuscate Truth in an Attempt to Cover Up Crimes

  1. Garry Loper on Facebook

    Fourthly, once your father read the HPD report, he knew or should have known, that felonies had occurred. If you think that the rules of professional conduct do not require attorneys to report felonies of non clients, you are sadly mistaken.Read more..

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