The attorney for a former Jackson police officer accused of robbing a credit union is asking that an indictment against his client be dismissed over senior Circuit Judge Swan Yerger’s assignment of criminal cases.

Dennis Sweet maintains that his client’s constitutional rights were violated by Yerger not assigning the county’s two elected black circuit judges, Tomie Green and Winston Kidd to hear violent crimes cases indicted after Jan. 1 of this year.

Yerger, who could not be reached for comment, has said there was no racial motive nor intent to exclude anyone in the new assignment. He has said he was willing to consider returning to a rotation system among the four elected judges or to consider some other plan, if needed.

As senior judge, he is responsible for assigning cases to him and the other three full-time circuit judges.

Under the plan, Yerger and Bobby DeLaughter would handle category one cases, including homicides, assaults, robberies, carjacking and other major crimes. Green and Kidd would handle category two cases, which include sex crimes, drug cases, aggravated DUI and white-collar crimes.

Clarion Ledger
8/11/8