Charges against Sharrod Moore Dropped

In February 2008, Sharrod Moore was charged with the most serious crime a person can face: killing a police officer. The crime with which Sharrod was charged occured on November 14, 1995. Jackson Police Officer R.J. Washington was gunned down in an abandoned movie theater is South Jackson. Police officers developed numerous suspects over the years but never had enough evidence to indict someone, let alone convict someone.

That all changed in February 2008 when Sharrod was indicted. Coxwell & Associates partner Chuck Mullins agreed to become Sharrod’s court appointed lawyer. The case became extremely “high profile”. The Hinds County District Attorney’s office held a press conference before Sharrod was arrested announcing their intention of seeking the death penalty. Media coverage was rampant yet very accurate or fair toward Sharrod.

As the State provided me police files, it became apparent that the case against Sharrod was little more than “street gossip” provided by life long criminals. Several of the so-called “witnesses” had been incarcerated when they allegedly “witnessed” Officer Washington being killed. Numerous items of evidence had been destroyed including the fingerprints taken from Officer Washington’s car. Sharrod’s fingerpints did not match any of the fingerpints in the car yet there were other credible suspects whose fingerprints were never tested. DNA evidence existed and had been tested but it was never tested against any suspect. Sharrod immediately agreed to provide a sample of his DNA and the results were negative. Perhaps most troubling was the fact that numerous witnesses, who provided either information about additional suspects or crucial evidence in Sharrod’s favor, died or were missing.

We filed numerous motions to dismiss the case due to the missing/destroyed evidence, missing/deceased witnesses, and lack of credible witnesses. The State opposed all the motions and the Court denied them. Several trial dates were set but had to be moved due to the State’s failure to provide disocvery timely. Finally, a May 27, 2009 trial date was set and we went into full trial mode. Hundreds of hours of man (and woman hours) went into trial preparation. With about a week to go before trial, we were ready. Sharrod was ready to having spent the last 18 months in prison.

Approximately 10 days before trial, the State announced its intention to dismiss the charges against Sharrod Moore. The reasons cited by the State were the very same reasons the Defense had been claiming for the last 18 months: missing evidence, missing witnesses, lack of credible witnesses. The Court is currently considering whether the charges should be dismissed WITH prejudice, which means the State can never bring them against Sharrod again.

Eighteen months is a long time to wait in prison. The stress of prison is bad enough but to have such serious charges hanging over your head is sometimes too much to endure. Sharrod faced all of these challenges head on. He never wavered from his mindset that he did not commit this horrible crime. He refused to accept deals to lesser charges. He wanted his name cleared. Sharrod’s resolve made me work harder to clear his name.

We all express sadness over Officer Washington’d death and wish the best for his family. Everyone knows a police officer or is related to one. They are vital to our society and serve to protect us all. When one of them falls, we are all affected. However, two wrongs don’t make a right. Sharrod Moore was innocent of this crime and we hope he can move on with his life.

If you have been charged with a crime in Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi contact Chuck Mullins. Chuck handles felony cases, misdemeanors and DUI cases.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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