Sandy Hook Man Arrested for Failure to Pay Child Support

August 16, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced a Sandy Hook man accused of failing to pay more than $340,000 in child support was arrested Monday.

Windell Kelly Conley, 43, was indicted by a Harrison County Grand Jury for one count of nonsupport of a child. He is alleged to owe more than $340,000 in back child support. Conley was booked into the Harrison County Adult Detention Center with a bond set at $2,500. His arraignment date is set for Sept. 6 before Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt.

If convicted of nonsupport of a child, Conley faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $500 fine. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Conley was arrested by deputies with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office. This case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division/Child Desertion Unit and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Kimberly T. Purdie.


Jackson Man Arraigned for Possessing a Cell Phone While Incarcerated

August 16, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Jackson man has been formally charged for possessing a cell phone while incarcerated at the Jackson Detention Center.

Christopher Butler, 39, was indicted Aug. 3 by a Hinds County grand jury on one count of possession of a cell phone within a correctional facility. He was arraigned today in Hinds County Circuit Court before Judge Jeff Weill, Sr.

The indictment alleges that Butler possessed a Tracfone while he was being held at the Jackson Detention Center.

Butler remains in custody. If convicted as a habitual offender, he faces the possible sentence of 15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines and must serve his sentence day-for-day without the possibility of parole.

A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office then referred to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution. Ronnie Odom of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division assisted with the investigation and prosecution will be handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander.


Former Hinds County Deputy Sheriff Facing Charges of Exploitation and Forgery

August 15, 2016
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A former Hinds County deputy sheriff is facing charges that she exploited a vulnerable person and committed forgery, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Alice Holly, 55, of Jackson, was indicted by a Hinds County Grand Jury for one count of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of forgery. She was booked into the Hinds County Jail and released on a $10,000 bond.

The indictment accuses Holly of closing the victim’s bank account and transferring more than $5,000 to her personal account. While the victim was in a behavioral center, Holly allegedly had the victim sign over power of attorney to her. Holly is accused of then using that power to execute a quit claim deed to transfer the victim’s property into her own name, and then selling it and keeping the proceeds for herself. In addition, Holly is accused of forging the signature of a second victim on a change-of-ownership form for a life insurance policy and making herself the beneficiary of the policy.

If convicted of exploitation, Holly faces up to 10 years in prison. She faces up to 15 years in prison for the forgery count. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Office assisted with this case, which is being investigated by Jamie Patrick and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Vulnerable Adult Unit.


Attorney General Jim Hood Calls for Collaborative Effort in Continuing to Improve State Mental Health Services

August 11, 2016
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A lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Department of Justice against the state of Mississippi provides the most meaningful opportunity yet for leaders to work together to continue to improve the state’s mental health system, Attorney General Jim Hood said today.

The federal government alleges that the state has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by housing mentally ill individuals in institutions rather than community settings. The Department of Justice has filed similar lawsuits in about a dozen states alleging violations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.

“This lawsuit is a clarion call to all of us in state leadership to consider how we care for the least among us and how we can make it better,” Attorney General Hood said. “I see this litigation as a challenge to our Legislature to find the resources we need to continue to expand mental health services. This is a clear opportunity for our Legislature, mental health professionals, our faith-based community and all of us as Mississippians to come together to determine an effective way to address issues related to our mental health delivery system for years to come. It’s our obligation as Christians and people of faith to take care of those who are unable to take care of themselves.  It’s time for each of us to move forward to better fulfill that fundamental responsibility.

“The state has made great progress in expanding community mental health programs, and we will continue to push for expansion. We have come a long way, but further work remains to be done.”

Attorney General Hood said his office has been negotiating with DOJ for several years in an effort to avoid litigation, which is expected to be a considerable cost to the state at a time when tax cuts have caused significant budget problems. However, the Attorney General refused to accept the federal government’s demands for a court-ordered consent decree that would bind the state to perpetual federal oversight.

Attorney General Hood had also hoped that good-faith efforts to address the state’s mental health needs might allay the federal government’s concerns. Thus, the Attorney General has encouraged lawmakers for years to allocate additional resources to the Department of Mental Health. The Legislature did provide some extra funding in previous sessions, but this year actually cut the Department’s budget by $8.3 million. Since 2008, the Department has been forced to eliminate approximately 500 mental health beds, in addition to 34 beds in 2016 because of the Legislature’s budget cuts and its refusal to provide additional money for mental health programs.

“Not only did the Department of Mental Health take a substantial budget hit, the Legislature did not agree to a request for more than $12 million for community mental health programs,” Attorney General Hood said. “That would have helped us continue our expansion of community-based mental health services and kept us moving in the right direction, as we’ve consistently been doing already.”

The Attorney General noted that Georgia has been involved in similar litigation with DOJ since 2010 and has already spent more than $200 million.

“Until this year, we have been effective in preventing a lawsuit and saving the state millions of dollars in anticipated expenses and attorneys’ fees,” Attorney General Hood said. “Unfortunately, the Legislature this year chose to put money toward big corporate tax cuts rather than meet the needs of those among us who most need our assistance. We are now in the undesirable position of fighting a lawsuit that will cost us even more.  It’s time to act on behalf of our mentally ill residents and invest in the care they deserve.”


Special Assistant Attorney General Paula Broome Earns National Award for Work to Prevent Domestic Violence

August 11, 2016
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Special Assistant Attorney General Paula Broome is the 2016 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Corbitt Award for exceptional service to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. She is pictured following the awards ceremony last week at the ABA’s annual meeting in San Francisco. Broome is pictured with Judge Jonathan Lippman, former chief judge of the state of New York, who was presented the Kaye award for judicial excellence.

The American Bar Association has named Special Assistant Attorney General Paula Henderson Broome as its 2016 recipient of  its national award given annually to an attorney who has provided exceptional service to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking.

Broome was presented the Sharon L. Corbitt Award during the association’s annual meeting in San Francisco last week.  The award named for an attorney who herself was a longtime victims advocate, the Corbitt Award recognizes attorneys who are champions for the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking and who are committed to improving services and assistance to crime victims.

“An ABA award is the pinnacle of a lawyer’s career, and Paula deserves this high honor,” Attorney General Hood said. “She works day in and day out to make sure victims of domestic violence or sexual assault have the assistance and resources they need. Law enforcement agencies around the state have benefited from Paula’s expertise, and I am grateful to have such an exemplary attorney on my staff.”

Broome is the deputy director of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Victim Assistance. She is an expert on domestic violence issues and how they relate to law enforcement, and an in-demand speaker who has trained countless law enforcement officers in the state, as well as nationally and internationally.

Before coming to the Attorney General’s Office, she developed the Family Violence and Victim Services Program for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. That program received Harvard University’s “High Honor” award in 2003 for outstanding contributions in the governance of American Indian Nations.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the ABA and to have been nominated by my dear friend, the late Professor Jeffrey Jackson,” Broome said. “I am proud of the work we have done and the progress Mississippi has made over the years. I was blessed to have begun my work with domestic violence victims with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who continue to work tirelessly to eliminate violence in the home. I am also fortunate to work for Attorney General Jim Hood, who has been a champion for crime victims and has always provided his staff with the latitude to address domestic violence issues.”

Broome is a graduate of Mississippi College School of Law. She has a bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College and a master’s degree from Northeastern University.


CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION PROGRAM DISTRIBUTES MORE THAN $3.7 MILLION TO VICTIMS IN FISCAL YEAR 2016

August 10, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that innocent victims of violent crime in Mississippi received more than $3.7 million in essential financial assistance in fiscal 2016 to help pay for medical treatment and other expenses.

The Crime Victim Compensation program, administered by the Attorney General’s Office, distributed $3,747,754.61 to 1,163 victims of crime in Mississippi who were in need of financial support due to injuries related to the criminal acts perpetrated against them.

“Mississippi residents who are victims of violent crime deserve the assurance that they can receive help to recover and move forward from often times tragic circumstances,” Attorney General Hood said. “The Victim Compensation program is funded in large part by convicted criminals whose heinous acts caused the injury and loss sustained by victims. My office is committed to ensuring that crime victims are not re-victimized because of the costs associated with violent crime.”

Attorney General Hood said he was concerned about the future budget needs of the program, since the Legislature this year directed that any assessments imposed by courts  be deposited into the state General Fund rather than the Crime Victim Compensation Fund. This could reduce the amount of money available in the future for innocent victims of crime.

“I have voiced my concern since early this year about the damaging impacts of the 2017 budget on our state’s most vulnerable citizens, as well as the law enforcement officers and first responders who protect us,” Attorney General Hood. “No eligible individual should be turned away because of lack of funding for this critical safety net for crime victims.”

The Crime Victim Compensation Program reimburses eligible crime victims or next-of-kin for expenses not covered by other sources, such as insurance. The program is funded from fees assessed to convicted criminals, court-ordered restitution and federal grants.

Eligible applicants may receive compensation for medical treatment, mental health services, funeral costs and several other types of expenses. The maximum amount distributed per individual is $20,000.

For more information about the Crime Victim Compensation Program, visit www.AGJimHood.com or call (800) 829-6766.

MISSISSIPPI CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION PROGRAM
   
2016 Fiscal Year Payments by County
County Amount
ADAMS $22,160.41
ALCORN $24,587.80
AMITE $1,557.02
ATTALA $28,242.64
BENTON $7,014.88
BOLIVAR $58,410.53
CALHOUN $7,485.73
CHICKASAW $45,560.90
CHOCTAW $5,792.49
CLAIBORNE $52,019.44
CLAY $18,154.53
COAHOMA $128,385.79
COPIAH $28,838.83
DE SOTO $79,337.15
FORREST $93,181.46
GEORGE $29,643.28
GREENE $2,944.00
GRENADA $70,798.21
HANCOCK $39,718.07
HARRISON $236,594.65
HINDS $685,680.39
HOLMES $60,963.95
ITAWAMBA $23.345.00
JACKSON $232,820.47
JASPER $11,660.00
JEFFERSON $33,747.49
JONES $64,124.98
KEMPER $1,648.17
LAFAYETTE $64,350.80
LAMAR $13,087.52
LAUDERDALE $108,791.09
LAWRENCE $1,000.00
LEAKE $31,918.63
LEE $80,063.39
LEFLORE $81,236.23
LINCOLN $14,862.21
LOWNDES $57,221.36
MADISON $70,656.06
MARION $12,701.79
MARSHALL $62,039.07
MONROE $23,129.99
MONTGOMERY $214.20
NESHOBA $16,265.14
NEWTON $7,303.40
NOXUBEE $3,780.00
OKTIBBEHA $10,000.00
PANOLA $76,687.62
PEARL RIVER $29,888.38
PERRY $6,500.00
PIKE $113,661.24
PONTOTOC $29,070.00
PRENTISS $3,903.84
QUITMAN $13,354.51
RANKIN $42,987.26
SCOTT $14,276.42
SHARKEY $5,293.16
SMITH $4,311.02
STONE $14,565.81
SUNFLOWER $44,321.25
TALLAHATCHIE $27,182.60
TATE $60.00
TIPPAH $20,130.00
TUNICA $35,461.88
UNION $8,213.64
WALTHALL $1,540.25
WARREN $92,759.21
WASHINGTON $230,144.37
WAYNE $12,862.38
WEBSTER $8,628.15
WILKINSON $31,981.47
WINSTON $60,498.29
YALOBUSHA $23,956.80
YAZOO $42,475.92
TOTAL: $3,747,754.61

 


Pharmaceutical Company to Pay Consumers, State for Attempting to Block Generics

August 4, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that Mississippi consumers who purchased the drug Provigil may be eligible for restitution as part of a multistate, $125 million settlement with drugmaker Cephalon.

Approximately $1.27 million of the settlement will go to Mississippi, with about $451,757 allocated to compensate consumers, based sales of the drug in Mississippi. Cephalon is accused of illegal conduct in its attempts to protect a monopoly on Provigil, which is commonly prescribed to individuals with sleep disorders. Cephalon’s anticompetitive efforts delayed availability of generic, less expensive versions of the drug.

“When a company tries to rig the system to its advantage, consumers suffer the consequences,” Attorney General Hood said. “Our antitrust laws protect us against this type of unfair business activity by greedy corporations. This settlement will provide some needed relief to those who were harmed by this scheme.”

Cephalon is accused of intentionally defrauding the federal Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent for Provigil about the same time potential generic versions of the drug would have normally been put on the market. A court later deemed the additional patent to be invalid and unenforceable, but not before the company prevented competition for nearly six years by filing patent infringement lawsuits. Because of this, consumers and state health programs paid hundreds of millions more for Provigil than they would have if generic versions of the drug had launched in 2006 as expected.

In addition to the $451,757 for consumers, Mississippi will receive $477,869 as compensation for Provigil purchases by state entities or under state contracts. Additionally, Mississippi will receive $342,654, representing a portion of the profit Cephalon gained from its scheme.

The settlement is subject to court approval. Eligible consumers will receive notice and an opportunity to participate in, object to, or opt out of the settlement.  The settlement is a result of litigation between Cephalon and the Federal Trade Commission.


AG Hood releases statement on Supreme Court decision

August 4, 2016

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued the following statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant a stay in Gloucester County School Board v. G. G. by his next friend and mother, Deirdre Grimm.

“In May, when Texas sued the federal government, I declined to join that action because I was already involved in a case in Virginia which would likely reach the U. S. Supreme Court a couple of years before that suit.  In that Virginia case (Gloucester County School Board v. G. G. by his next friend and mother, Deirdre Grimm, No. 16A52, Supreme Court of the United States), the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a stay of an injunction which would have made a Virginia school district allow a transgender child to choose which restroom to use.  

“I will again join in an amicus brief encouraging the Supreme Court to reverse the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and allow school districts to consider the confusion that could possibly be caused by some students when deciding to accommodate a request of a transgender child to enter the restroom of that child’s gender identity.   I don’t agree that the definition of “sex” under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, when written, covered gender identity, and am sympathetic to schools trying to manage a situation in which a non-transgender student may misrepresent gender identification to get into the restrooms or dressing rooms of children of the opposite sex. 

“My father represented school boards as an attorney for 45 years, and I understand and recognize the plight of school officials. These officials have to balance patching budgets while administering some unruly kids, and each school has different needs, resources and restroom accommodations. With this issue, I believe local professional educators should make these decisions rather than lawyers.”