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Hinds County DA charged with helping accused criminals

Robert Shuler Smith

Robert Shuler Smith

The district attorney in Mississippi’s largest county was arrested Wednesday on charges of illegally advising people accused of crimes. He would be removed from office if convicted.

A six-count criminal charge was filed Wednesday against third-term Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, 45, after an investigation by the FBI and the Mississippi attorney general’s office.

The document, filed by an investigator for Attorney General Jim Hood, says Smith improperly consulted with two people facing criminal charges on at least six occasions since January. It alleges that Smith met with people held in the Hinds County Jail without their attorneys being present and that he referred to at least one of the two men as his client. State law bars such behavior.

It was not immediately clear whether Smith is represented by an attorney who could comment on his behalf. If convicted, he would be removed from office, barred from holding any other elected office and fined $500.

“It is particularly sad to have to prosecute and seek removal from office a fellow prosecutor,” Hood said in a news release.

Smith and Hood are both Democrats.

An employee in the Hinds County Justice Court clerk’s office, who would only identify herself as Shirley, said Smith also is charged with resisting arrest.

“Those who are sworn to uphold the law are not above the law,” Don Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi, said in Wednesday’s news release. “Though today’s charges are only allegations, public corruption poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life.”

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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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