Collins defends D.A.’s office, job at county supervisors’ meeting

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

NATCHEZ — Adams County Sixth District Attorney Shameca Collins addressed the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday morning, telling them she was there to correct false information she said was presented at a recent meeting.

A discussion about crime at the Jan. 18 meeting of the board of supervisors led to Supervisor Ricky Gray questioning why many who commit crimes are quickly released to offend again. During that discussion, Supervisor Kevin Wilson criticized specifically Collins, who he said is not doing the job she should be doing to prosecuting criminals.

Collins

Wilson questioned the number of indictments coming from the District Attorney’s office.

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Collins said six grand juries are seated each year and that her office indicted 130 cases last year. She said her office deals with felonies only, and a case must be ready to indict before it can be presented.

“For example, say somebody was arrested on a drug charge in October. Well, the crime lab hasn’t analyzed that to see if it really was the drugs that they were reported to be,” Collins said. “I can’t indict that case until I have that crime lab report. I can’t have Deputy Miles come in and say this is marijuana. I have to have a scientist. It has to go to Jackson. We only have one crime lab in the state and they have to do it for all 82 counties, so it takes that.

“That’s just drugs. Autopsies are way behind. We had a murder case in Adams County last year and it took the family two weeks just to get the body back. That’s to get the preliminary autopsy. I need the final autopsy and that may take two years, so these cases are pending,” she said.

Collins said the pandemic has also slowed the wheels of justice, which has led to a number of cases being continued by judges.

“However, we are still trying cases. In one month, October, alone, we tried four felony cases. Two were murders. One got 70 years and the other got life plus 15 years. So, am I doing my job? I think I am,” she said.

Wilson said the discussion about the district attorney’s office came about at the last board meeting when he asked if criminals could be prosecuted off of recordings from the crime cameras.

“The statement I was given was we can arrest, but we can’t prosecute. The prosecutor has to do the prosecuting,” Wilson said. “There were 362 indictments two years ago. You had 217 last year. That’s a huge difference. Has the crime rate dropped that much? No. Explain to me how we are going to bring only five people before the grand jury?”

Collins responded that numbers prove her office indicts more than five people each grand jury session.

“Everybody here knows we have more violent crimes in the city than in the county. What you may not know is that around September, all the investigators except for one in the police department left, we have a whole new group of investigators in the police department. With that being said, I have older cases from the city than I do from the county. So sometimes, yes, I will indict more cases from the city. I try to indict at lease 10 cases from SO, at least 10 cases from PD. Well, because PD has such a backlog, sometimes I don’t indict as many cases from SO than I do PD, so I can deal with these older cases. It makes logical sense to me,” Collins said.

Wilson asked Collins if she ran for office as being soft on crime. She said she did not.

“My platform said I would treat people with drug problems like they have drug problems, like an addiction, meaning that I would try to send those people to drug court,” she said.

He also asked Collins if she knows who George Soros is, referring to American billionaire who is known for donating to progressive and liberal causes. Wilson claimed Soros donated to Collins’ campaign.

Collins said she did not know Soros but also heard he had donated to her campaign, but said it had no effect on how she does her job.