JACKSON – The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a circuit judge’s administrative order stripping Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith of his official duties.
In a 7-1 decision, the court agreed with Smith’s contention that Judge Jeff Weill Sr.’s order to immediately and temporarily disqualify Smith from working in his courtroom and from “any and all participation” in Hinds County grand jury proceedings violated Smith’s due process rights.
“It is elementary that procedural due process requires, at a minimum, notice and a ‘meaningful opportunity to be heard,'” wrote Justice Ann H. Lamar for the majority. “And it is undisputed that District Attorney Smith was provided neither here.”
Weill ordered Smith’s disqualification after the district attorney was arrested and accused by the Attorney General’s Office of six misdemeanor charges that Smith illegally assisted criminal defendants. Smith denied the allegations.
Those charges recently were dropped, before being indicted on multiple counts on similar charges. Smith denies those, too.