The Clarion-Ledger, 2/12/9

Mayor Frank Melton and Michael Recio, the mayor’s former police bodyguard, had been instructed on the legal ways to shut down a reported “dope house,” witnesses for the federal government testified Wednesday.

Yet both men acted otherwise, according to the prosecution.

The testimony came on the third day of Melton and Recio’s federal civil rights trial in federal court in downtown Jackson. Both face charges related to a warrantless, police-style raid on a Jackson duplex in August 2006. Melton has said the duplex was a “crack house.”

Federal prosecutors called on Recio’s former police academy instructor, John Kelley, to explain to jurors the depth of constitutional law he taught Recio during a 1992 class. Kelley is a retired FBI agent and was a guest instructor at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy in Pearl.

Kelley looked directly at the jury as he explained that his class put a special emphasis on Fourth Amendment rights and the need for search warrants. At times, images of his course syllabus were projected on a large screen for support.

“Of all the constitutional provisions we have, the Fourth Amendment is the most important,” he said.