257 So.2d 884 (Miss. 1972), 46571, Petition of Davis

Docket Nº:46571.
Citation:257 So.2d 884
Party Name:Petition of Russell C. DAVIS to Strike or Expunge Part of a Grand Jury Report at July 1970 Term.
Case Date:February 07, 1972
Court:Supreme Court of Mississippi

Page 884

257 So.2d 884 (Miss. 1972)

Petition of Russell C. DAVIS to Strike or Expunge Part of a

Grand Jury Report at July 1970 Term.

No. 46571.

Supreme Court of Mississippi.

February 7, 1972

Page 885

Watkins & Eager, Jackson, for petitioner.

A. F. Summer, Atty. Gen., by G. Garland Lyell, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.


This is an appeal by Russell Davis, Mayor of Jackson, from an adverse decision by the Circuit Court of Hinds County wherein the court refused to expunge portions of a grand jury report.

The grand jury report sprang from an investigation of the events which transpired at Jackson State College on May 13, 14 and 15, 1970. During this period the campus was touched with riots, burning of property, occupation by the Mississippi National Guard, Mississippi State Highway Patrol and the City of Jackson police, and the eventual killing of two young students and the wounding of others.

At the July 1970 term of the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County a grand jury was convened, made a lengthy investigation and returned a report dealing with the unfortunate occurrences at Jackson State. The report, while not calling for any indictments, made many derogatory statements and inferences concerning the activity or inactivity of Mayor Russell Davis.

Appellant, Russell Davis, sought to expunge that part of the report which reflected upon his conduct. The petition to expunge was presented to the circuit court on August 12, 1970. At the conclusion of a hearing the court took the matter under advisement for a final judgment to be entered in vacation. Six months having passed without an order or final judgment being entered, the appellant perfected an appeal to this Court in accord with Mississippi Code 1942 Annotated section 1650.5 (1956). Thereafter, the appeal having been perfected on February 15, 1971, the trial court rendered its opinion and entered its order on February 17, 1971. Whereupon the first appeal was dismissed and this appeal perfected.

The circuit judge's opinion in regard to the propriety of the report stated:

Petitioner's complaint is that the Grand Jury was without authority to comment upon his actions in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Jackson. Since time immemorial in each and every Grand Jury report there is contained

Page 886

therein remarks or statements by the Grand Jury relative to the activities or conduct of office by the public officials within the respective...

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