By Othor Cain
Rankin County Circuit Court Judge William Chapman declared Wednesday, that a March 19 trial for Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith will take place in his court room.
“We will have a trial on the 19th with a case that isn’t as complicated as some of you would want to make it,” Chapman said.
“This case is about what happened in Rankin County and not what did or did not happen in Hinds County.”
Both sides appeared before Chapman in a pre-trial motion hearing Wednesday morning, March 7. “We have spent more time on pre-trial motions than what we will probably spend during the actual trial,” Chapman declared. “We will get this done in a week as I have to be in
Madison County the following week.”
Chapman spent a little more than an hour Wednesday sorting through briefs and files submitted by both sides and entertaining what would or would not be allowed or permissible during the trial. “Some of this isn’t necessary and while I would never attempt to tell anyone how to
handle or present their cases, some of this will just not be tolerated,” he said.
Chapman was assigned to the case in November 2017 when Rankin County Circuit Court Judge John Emfinger disclosed that his daughter had interned in the attorney general’s office and that she sat in on a meeting between 2014 and 2016 involving Christopher Butler. Butler was
at the center of a trial that Smith eventually was acquitted of in August 2017.
The current charges against Smith are based on a dispute that took place August 13, 2015 in Rankin County, when he [Smith], according to court documents, allegedly stalked, physically abused and brandished a gun at Christie Edwards. Smith faces two misdemeanor counts of simple domestic violence and two felony counts of (1) aggravated stalking and (1) robbery. The robbery in question pertains to a handgun.