Smith vs. Martin: Our DA… and our safety

The upcoming election features an important race for District Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District, which includes Warren, Sharkey, and Issaquena counties. Mr. Gil Martin, the incumbent, faces a challenge from Mr. Richard “Ricky” Smith, Jr., who is presently practicing law here in Vicksburg. Each candidate has a website which describes in brief terms his background; Mr. Smith’s is while Mr. Martin’s is The district attorney has been in the news quite a bit lately, especially regarding a number of repeat offenders being brought before the courts for trial or sentencing, where his recommendations weigh heavily upon the decisions of the court. Of significance, too, is the apparent discord that exists between Mr. Martin and Chief of Police Tommy Moffett, one side of which is evident in the interview with Chief Moffett recorded on this site (

Our district attorney makes decisions that will ultimately affect the safety of your lives and your property. It’s far too important an office to ignore come election time. Get to know the candidates and what they stand for, then vote your convictions. You and the candidates are invited to express your views here.


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Regarding “The district attorney has been in the news quite a bit lately, especially regarding a number of repeat offenders being brought before the courts for trial or sentencing,…” Perhaps you need a civics lesson.
    One of the District Attorney’s responsibilities is to present the file cases for the next court session to the Grand Jury to decide what cases go to trial. The Grand Jury decides if the case is strong enough to spend tax payers money on a trial. If the file has no “backbone”, no evidence, no witnesses, etc, (no case), then the DA will recommend to the Grand Jury that it not go to trial. In other words, the police department must do things right on the front end for the Grand Jury to tell the DA to go to court! Get a grip! The District Attorney’s office can only work with what they are given in a file. The DA’s office does not manufacture out of thin air. It all hinges on the police department. I wouldn’t trust the District Attorney’s office to anyone but Gil Martin in this election. He’s a man who can’t be bought. He’s honest, brilliant and legally insightful. Gil’s the Man.

  2. Reply to Todd: In the following, Vicksburg Speaks is stating facts as it understands them.

    An examination of the circumstances surrounding the drug bust by federal authorities a few weeks ago provides some insight into the background of the criminals involved and the performance of the DA’s office. Among those arrested were:

    Michael Earl Tyler – 15 prior arrests including aggravated assault and felony possession of a firearm

    Charles Price – 5 prior arrests including sale of a controlled substance

    Kenny Tyler – 10 prior arrests including sale of cocaine

    Christopher Walker – 7 prior arrests including sale of cocaine

    In these four instances alone there are 37 prior arrests. The DA may have had good reason not to pursue indictment and prosecution of these thugs; an explanation of his rationale would be of interest to the public.

    The Trevillion brothers. Both were indicted by a grand jury for two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault back in 1996. The only disputed fact in the case was the identity of the person who fired the fatal shots. Instead of being pursued on the murder charges, the Trevillions were allowed to plea to aggravated assault. They served time, but have now been charged with another murder (see The DA might explain his logic in not pursuing the murder charges.

    Finally, Chief Moffett has stated that in the past the DA has not pursued prosecution of certain criminal elements until the chief has asserted himself, and that prosecution of crimes has been too lenient. Todd may wish to question Chief Moffett about the details; his findings would be most interesting if posted here.

  3. If surrounding counties not under Gil’s control are getting people put away why can’t Gil? His complaint that it is the VPD’s fault needs to be supported with facts. I become very uncomfortable with someone who when faced with a problem immediately places blame on something else. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    Tommy Moffet has turned the VPD around and continues to move closer to his staffing goal AND is attracting and keeping quality people. All those are very good signs. I am sure mistakes are being made and will be made. It is our nature. However when I look to make an assessment of someone’s performance I look at their history. The greatest indicator of what one is going to do is what one has done.

    In Tommy Moffet I see a leader. In Gil Martin, well, Gil’s history is not good.

    It appears to me we have a lenient prosecutor in Gil Martin. The evidence supports his want to make a deal and clear the docket over getting the violent offenders out of society.

    I don’t know Gil Martin or his opponent. I know what we have in the D. A’s office right now is less the best.

  4. I can agree with most of what you said about Gil, David – we need a change – but not with your praise of Chief Moffett. I have written him, called him, begged him to do something about the noise on Clay Street from motorcycles, cars and trucks without mufflers, and juke-joints-on-wheels that wake us all through the night. He’s done absolutely nothing. You might have missed the part in another comment wherein I related that I had written a letter to him, then called to discuss his answer – he obviously hadn’t even read the letter! And look at the comment from bnbrown about the thugs trying to break into her B&B – she basically said the cops just really didn’t care about her problem – if so, they’re merely reflecting the attitude at the top – Chief Moffett.

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