Weisenberger case delayed
for grand jury presentation
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:00 PM
CANTON - Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger appears likely to return to the bench when his rotation begins on June 16.
Evidence in the investigation of Weisenberger's alleged actions at the Canton Flea Market in May was not presented, as planned, to the June meeting of the Grand Jury.
Weisenberger has been accused by two vendors at the event of slapping a 20-year-old, learning-disabled black man in the back of the head while using a racial slur.
Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said Tuesday that evidence could not be presented because the investigation, which is being conducted by the Canton Police Department, remains open.
"We are awaiting records from Region 8 Mental Health Services, the facility where the victim was receiving treatment," Guest said. "One of the essential elements of (a potential charge) is that he qualifies as a vulnerable adult."
Guest added that a subpoena has been issued for those records.
Investigators are also, he said, trying to track down a couple of other vendors who have been identified as eye-witnesses to the events of May 8.
"Once all that comes together," he said, "our hope is to present a completed investigation to the Grand Jury when it convenes in July."
Meanwhile, Weisenberger appears to have a clear path to return to the bench when his rotation begins on Monday. The last hurdle he has to clear is a possible intervention from the Mississippi Judicial Review Commission, which is set to take up the issue at their monthly meeting on Friday.
Chairwoman Darlene Ballard said Tuesday the issue was still on Friday's agenda, but that decisions made at meetings of the committee were not open to the public unless it submitted a request to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Former Canton Mayor William Truly, who currently serves as the chair for the city's local NAACP chapter, said the he planned to file an official complaint with the Judicial Commission, Attorney General Jim Hood's office and the Justice Department.
The eye-witness reports of two out-of-state vendors, Cathy Hendrix and Tammy Westbrook, say they witnessed Weisenberger slap Eric Rivers before placing his hand on his holstered weapon and shouting to Rivers "run nigger, run."
Hendrix told a Clarion-Ledger reporter that Rivers had approached her and Westbrook, her sister, to ask if they had any work for him, when Weisenberger stepped in to intervene. According to her account, that's when the alleged assault occurred.
Canton Mayor Arnel Bolden said after speaking with Guest, he was satisfied that the process was moving along as quickly as possible, but added that he shares the concerns of the general public over Weisenberger's fast-approaching return to the bench.
"From the several calls that I've received from my constituents in the Canton community, I can say that there is concern that the allegations haven't been fully addressed and resolved," Bolden said. "The fact that (Weisenberger) hasn't made any public comments to clarify the events that occurred is even more disturbing. I feel like the community at large would like to see the matter fully investigated and resolved before the judge can receive cases again."