Hosemann hearing Wednesday in Jackson
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 21, 2002
[02/19/02]]A Hinds County judge will hear a request Wednesday from Warren County Judge Gerald Hosemann’s attorney to drop the aggravated assault charge Hosemann faces.
In his motion, attorney William Kirksey of Jackson essentially blames Juanita “Nita” Johnson, 47, for the injuries she had when found on Hosemann’s property Dec. 6. The motion also accuses Warren and Hinds county investigators of lying under oath to obtain the arrest warrant.
Judge Bobby DeLaughter, who set Hosemann’s bond and conditions for his release from jail on Dec. 29, will hold the evidentiary hearing at the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson.
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In the motion, Kirksey contends that Hinds County Investigator Pamela Turner intentionally used false statements. Kirksey contends:
Johnston was not bruised over 90 percent of her body. Kirksey states he will offer proof that Johnston suffered only three to four abrasions and that her hands and feet were not tied.
Johnston’s statements were inconsistent in identifying Hosemann as her attacker.
“Her renal failure, nerve damage, and other medical problems were as a result of the alcohol and drugs taken, exposure to the elements not from any alleged beating.”
Kirksey’s motion says he will prove Johnston had a .13 alcohol level in her system at the time she was taken to the hospital and that “none of her injuries were life threatening, but were superficial … and were more than likely self-inflicted.”
Attorney Paul Kelly Loyacono, Johnston’s family spokesman, was unavailable.
Hosemann, 49, Warren County Court and Youth Court judge since 1986, has maintained he is innocent of all charges.
“My impression is that the motion to quash an arrest warrant is unusual, but it isn’t improper,” said University of Mississippi law professor Jack Nowlin. “If this motion is successful, that’s the end of the process. It’s my impression that it is an attempt to protect the reputation of the judge and wrap this up quickly.”
Hosemann remains on the bench despite calls from the state attorney general that he be temporarily removed until the charge against him is settled.
Johnston, who worked for Hosemann as a court reporter for several years, was found by Hosemann and another man on his Puckett Road property near Utica in Hinds County after her family reported not seeing her for two days. She was hospitalized for more than a month.
In a separate motion, Kirksey asks that records of use of a cell phone allegedly found with Johnston be preserved because they may show Hosemann is innocent.
Hosemann has not been indicted on the charge, and Hinds County investigators have said the case file will be forwarded to the district attorney when they complete it.
At the hearing Wednesday, witnesses will include Hinds and Warren deputy sheriffs. There was no word when DeLaughter would rule.
Separately, Johnston has filed a civil suit against Hosemann in Warren County Court, alleging that he owes her money and has not returned her personal property.
Johnston also seeks $20,000 for her share of the sale of property the two jointly owned on Warriors Trail in Warren County and the return of personal items, including bedroom furniture in the mobile home on Puckett Road, a refrigerator from Hosemann’s home, also on Warriors Trail, and a registered quarter horse and riding equipment.
While Hosemann initially elected not to hear criminal cases in county court for 30 days after he was charged with a felony, he resumed hearing those cases this month.
He also requested that Vicksburg attorney James L. Penley hear contested Youth Court cases for a 30-day period, which ended Feb. 8.
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, the agency that oversees judicial conduct, is currently reviewing Hosemann’s temporary suspension. The commission was to take up the issue at its monthly meeting Feb. 8 and make a recommendation to the Supreme Court within 30 days.