NATCHEZ — Adams County Sixth District Attorney Shameca Collins spoke to the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday morning, telling them she was there to correct misinformation that she said had presented at a recent meeting.
A discussion of crime at the Jan. 18 board of supervisors meeting has supervisor Ricky Gray wondering why many who commit crimes are quickly released to reoffend. During this discussion, supervisor Kevin Wilson specifically criticized Collins, who he felt was not doing the job she should be doing to prosecute criminals.
Wilson questioned the number of indictments coming from the district attorney’s office.
Collins said six grand juries sit each year and his office indicted 130 cases last year. She said her office only deals with crimes and a case must be ready to be charged before it can be presented.
“For example, let’s say someone was arrested for drug trafficking in October. Well, the crime lab didn’t analyze that to see if those were really the drugs they were supposed to be,” Collins said. “I can’t charge this case until I have that crime lab report. I can’t bring in Deputy Miles and say it’s marijuana. I must have a scientist. He 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.
“It’s just drugs. Autopsies are far behind. We had a murder case in Adams County last year and it took the family two weeks to recover the body. It’s to get the preliminary autopsy. I need the final autopsy and it may take two years so those cases are on hold,” she said.
Collins said the pandemic has also slowed down the wheels of justice, leading to a number of cases being pursued by judges.
“However, we are still trying cases. In one month, October, just us, we tried four criminal 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 up at the last board meeting when he asked if felons could be prosecuted from felony camera tapes.
“The statement I received was that we can quit, but we can’t continue. The prosecutor has to do the prosecution,” Wilson said. “Two years ago, there were 362 indictments. You had 217 last year. It’s a huge difference. Has the crime rate dropped so much? No. Explain to me how we’re going to bring only five people before the grand jury?
Collins replied that the numbers prove that his office indicts more than five people in each grand jury session.
“Everyone here knows we have more violent crime in the city than in the county. What you may not know is that around September all but one of the investigators in the police department are gone, we have a whole new group of investigators in the police department. That being said, I have older cases from the city than the county. So sometimes, yeah, I’ll lay more of the city’s case. I’m trying to charge at least 10 cases of SO, at least 10 cases of PD. Well, because PD has such a backlog, sometimes I don’t charge as many SO cases as I do PD, so I can deal with those older cases. It makes sense to me,” Collins said.
Wilson asked Collins if she was running for office because she was soft on crime. She said no.
“My platform said I would treat people with drug problems like they have drug problems, like an addiction, which means I would try to send those people to drug court,” a- she declared.
He also asked Collins if she knew who George Soros is, referring to the American billionaire known for his donations to progressive and liberal causes. Wilson claimed that Soros made a donation to Collins’ campaign.
Collins said she didn’t know Soros but had also heard he had donated to her campaign, but said it had no effect on how she did her job.