June 17, 2009
The Mississippi Court of Appeals Tuesday denied former Lowndes County District 4 Supervisor Jim Terry''s appeal of a 2007 prison sentence imposed on him by the Lowndes County Circuit Court.
In an opinion authored by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Leslie King, the court denied Terry''s appeal of a 13-month sentence to the Mississippi Department of Corrections ordered on the former supervisor Nov. 30, 2007, by Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard.
Howard also ordered Terry to pay $2,227 in restitution to Lowndes County for misusing a county-issued vehicle and gasoline card. Although Terry was banned from Lowndes County public office, he lost his seat to current District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith shortly before his 2007 trial began.
Although Terry has been out of prison on a $10,000 bond since he filed the appeal shortly after his Circuit Court sentencing, he could return to prison within 30 days unless he appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, according to court documents.
"Terry failed to prove any prejudice to his defense," King wrote in the court opinion. "Thus, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed."
Terry, represented by Tupelo attorney Jim Waide, appealed the Circuit Court ruling claiming prosecutors did not outline specific dates he misused the county vehicle and fuel card or the type of "personal activities" he was engaged in while using the county property.
"We find that the range of dates provided in the (Circuit Court) indictment was sufficient to put Terry on notice of the charges against him," King wrote, noting the original indictment claimed Terry misused the county property several times between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2005.
"We cannot find that the indictment was defective because it failed to specifically state the activity of personal use that Terry was engaged in when he committed the offense," King wrote.
During the 2007 Circuit Court trial, a jury found Terry guilty of using his county vehicle and fuel card while spending at least 168 days in 2004 and 2005 in casinos in Philadelphia and Tunica.
Circuit Court prosecutors also charged Terry with using the county fuel card to illegally purchase gas for others after a gas station security camera captured Terry filling up a friend''s truck.
According to state law, Terry has up to 14 days to request the Court of Appeals overturn its Tuesday ruling.
indian commented at 6/17/2009 6:43:00 PM:
sounds like a lot of expense to prove a guilty man of his knowlingly wrong doing in a gov. vehicle! Why would he be going to a gambling establishment at my expense anyway? i don't ask the mayor or others to provide me with a ride when i need to go, i just fill up and go. what goes around, comes around, but in our city system the way it is, the coming around sure does take a lot longer!!!!