After discovering a filing error made in the Jackson County Courthouse, Judge Thomas C. Evans, III, allowed for a delay in dismissal arguments in the meth-related case of Jessica Sullivan.

After discovering a filing error made in the Jackson County Courthouse, Judge Thomas C. Evans, III, allowed for a delay in dismissal arguments in the meth-related case of Jessica Sullivan. 

Sullivan’s attorney, Matthew Victor, filed several motions in December, including dismissal and change of venue motions, in Sullivan’s case arguing that Sullivan’s rights to a speedy trial, to a trial in the same court, and for specific discovery have been violated by the PA’s office and is seeking to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning it will not be able to be presented again to a Grand Jury.

Sullivan’s original indictment, which was a product of July’s special meth-related Grand Jury session, was dismissed when prosecutors asked to be allowed to present “new and substantive” evidence on additional counts to a new session of the Grand Jury. 

Sullivan’s former attorney, Morgan Hayes, argued that the prosecution had no “new and substantive” evidence, rather they just needed to delay proceedings because they were not yet ready for trial.  

Victor claims in his new motion that some of that new and substantive evidence mentioned in the October hearing had been available to the PA’s office as early as January 29, 2009, nearly six months prior to the original Grand Jury session.

Additionally, Victor argues that Sullivan has suffered by the lengthy delay tactics due to the fact that, while under indictment, Sullivan has been barred from practicing law in the Fifth Judicial Circuit and, as a result of the prosecution’s lack of readiness, has been “economically destroyed.”

Just prior to the hearing on the new dismissal motion last Wednesday, Victor noted that his office had received a packet containing new discovery material, but he had not yet had time to review it before the hearing. 

Victor requested specific discovery in the case because he said, after reviewing a generic discovery package provided that covers all 51 defendants in July’s Grand Jury session, he said he could not identify the overt acts that his client allegedly committed that form the basis for the charges against her. 

Victor claimed that he had called the Prosecuting Attorney’s office several times to set up meetings outside of court to go over discovery materials, but claimed the calls went unanswered. 

As Judge Evans was listening to Victors arguments, he found that the Prosecuting Attorney’s office had filed a supplemental discovery in Sullivan’s case on December 17 with what appeared to be some of the material Victor claimed he was unable to get from the PA’s office and that served as part of the basis for his motion to dismiss the case that was filed on December 23. 

However, upon reviewing the package, Evans soon discovered that what he was looking at was the actual supplemental discovery package that was supposed to be mailed to Sullivan’s attorney back in December.  The package was incorrectly labeled to be mailed to Sullivan’s former attorney Morgan Hayes but, unbeknownst to anyone present in court that day, it was mistakenly placed in the case file in the Circuit Clerk’s office rather than being mailed out as it was supposed to be. The package was promptly handed over to Victor for review. 

With the new information at hand, Victor said he would be unable to carry on with arguments in his motion to dismiss without having a chance to review what was in the new discovery packet. 

Judge Evans did grant a motion, however, compelling the PA’s office to file a Bill of Particulars detailing the specific facts underlying the charges against Sullivan that prosecutors intent to prove in court.  Evans ordered that the Bill of Particulars be filed by Friday at 4:00 p.m. 

Also, during the proceeding, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Dotson, III, did set up a meeting with Victor for Monday, January 25, to go over discovery materials. 

Since Victor now had new discovery materials to review prior to making arguments on his dismissal motion, Judge Evans allowed for arguments related to that motion to be continued to allow time for review of the supplemental discovery packets.  That hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 10, at 1:00 p.m. 

Sullivan is due to stand trial on Tuesday, February 16, on 16 counts of possession of substances to be used as a precursor to manufacture methamphetamine, one felony count of attempting to operate a clandestine lab, and 17 felony counts of conspiracy to commit a felony.