The City of Greenville recently responded to a Mississippi Supreme Court ruling on behalf of former police chief Delando Wilson with a motion aimed toward refuting and striking claims of misrepresentation and others made in filed legal briefs.
Legal counsel for the City of Greenville in the matter, attorney Willie Griffin, filed a “Motion to Strike, Motion for Misrepresentation and Reply Brief, or in the Alternative to Order the Deletion of Scandalous and Prejudicial Materials and Cross Motion for Imposition of Sanctions Against Frieson” in the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
On Dec. 14, 2021, the Hon. James Kitchens, presiding justice in the case, issued an order allowing Delando Wilson’s motion — filed by his attorney, Renetha Frieson — to pass in part.
Wilson’s motion was to Disclose Material Misrepresentations to Court and, Alternatively, Motion for Disciplinary Action, Sanctions, and to Expedite Appeal.
However, the request to expedite the appeal was denied.
Chief among the "misrepresentations" alleged in Wilson's motion was Griffin being listed as counsel of record for the City of Greenville in the legal matter well before the time documented in a motion he filed to request a deadline extension for submitting the Appellee’s Brief.
Wilson’s motion also claimed Griffin misrepresented the expiration of Wilson’s legal contract with the City in an attempt to mislead the court.
Both claims are deemed as false in the city’s motion, as well as the accusation of perjury by two city employees who were questioned by Frieson during legal proceedings.
In reference to a reply brief and the motion filed by Frieson on behalf of Wilson, the city’s motion stated, “That each of said documents contain false, scandalous, and/or misleading information purposefully calculated and designed to prejudice the proceeding against the City and were the allegations against the undersigned attorney are so grossly false until they constitute “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.””
The city’s motion suggests that if Frieson’s claims of Griffin being the attorney of record for the causes outlined in Wilson’s motion and before Oct. 6, 2021, are accurate, Frieson should provide evidence of such “because she failed to name the undersigned in the certificates of service.”
The city’s motion highlighted the dates of July 21, 2021, Aug. 24, 2021, and Sept. 29, 2021, whereas documents were filed with the court and listed Andy Alexander, III, Esq. as the sole attorney representing the City of Greenville.
“The minutes of the City Council reflect that the undersigned attorney was retained by the City on Feb. 23, 2021 to represent the City in defense of two EEOC charges and to assist in recovering properties and nothing more,” the motion stated further.
Wilson’s response to the motion, in part, was that Griffin was already acquainted with the facts and law of the case through his representation of the city in the EEOC matter — described by Frieson as a “mirror image of the appeals herein.”
Griffin’s response on behalf of the city was that if Frieson believed him to be representing the city in the matter, she failed to comply with the rules and list him accordingly as necessitated by the Mississippi Rules and Appellate Procedure.
As it pertains to perjury claims made in Wilson’s motion, the city asserted the employees in question have “impeccable and outstanding records as officials,” but were personally attacked by such an accusation without an opportunity to defend themselves.
If perjury was committed at the trial level, the city stated that Frieson had a duty to bring it to the attention of the trial judge and allow due process to take place essentially.
Wilson’s response stated, “Legal counsel for Mr. Wilson never asserted that the witnesses were convicted of perjury; but simply that the act of perjury was presented in their testimony and statements to the trial court, rendering any statement made by these individuals unreliable.”
In response to the claim of misrepresenting Wilson’ legal contract with the city, the city’s motion pointed out that its charter establishes when the terms of office for department heads expire and begin.
“The sole instance when Wilson was not reappointed on the first Tuesday of January on January 2, 2018, was because of delay due to performance concerns by council members. He eventfully was reappointed on February 20, 2019,” the motion stated. “Hence, there is no basis in law or fact to support the claim in the reply brief that the term expires on February 20, 2022, instead of January 4, 2021, the first Tuesday of January in the biennial year as Sec.4.1 of the Charter mandates.”
However, Frieson, on behalf of Wilson, maintains that a Jan. 7, 2020 order to appoint Wilson as chief was “manufactured” and “exists nowhere” in the city’s official minutes.
A request for the Court to impose “severe” sanctions against Frieson for accusing witnesses of perjury and accusing Griffin of misrepresentation and other violations of rules of conduct “without a basis therefore” concluded the motion.
Following the request for sanctions, the city moved the court to “strike the motion and reply brief filed by Wilson because they are “replete with false, scandalous and prejudicial information” about the city’s attorney and “blatantly impugn the integrity of witnesses of the city for imposition of sanctions.”