Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 2009
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (Jackson, MS)
Copyright: 2009 The Clarion-Ledger


Jackson Mayor Frank Melton is back in federal court  this week, 
continuing the ongoing legal and personal  battles that have marked 
his administration.

Jury selection begins today for the trial of Melton and  his former 
bodyguard, Michael Recio, who are charged  with civil rights 
violations in connection with the  destruction of a duplex on 
Ridgeway Street. The house  was partially destroyed by 
sledgehammer-wielding youths while the mayor and Recio allegedly 
looked on.  Melton claimed it was a drug house.

Another bodyguard, Marcus Wright, pleaded guilty to a  lesser charge 
and is expected to testify against them.

The trial was delayed once due to Melton's ongoing  health issues. He 
and Recio could face 25 years in  prison.

Melton's time in office has been one disaster after  another. His 
current legal and health issues have  further made him irrelevant in 
most ongoing city policy  issues, but at the same time have almost 
shut down city  administration and policymaking at a time when more is needed.

He has refused to step aside to the detriment of the  city and, 
unfortunately, there is no easy way to remove  him.

Regardless of the outcome of the trial, Jackson will be  limping to 
the city elections in the spring, when  hopefully new leadership can 
get the city running  again. As it is, the mayor is occupied.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom