A charge of DUI has been dismissed against the president of the Leflore County Board of Supervisors without the arresting officer testifying.
Leflore County Justice Court Judge Jim Campbell on Thursday dismissed the case against Reginald Moore upon the recommendation of County Prosecutor Kelvin Pulley.
Pulley said that the evidence he saw was insufficient to prove that Moore, 47, was driving under the influence when he was stopped on Nov. 21 by Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Johnny Delaney. Moore declined Delaney’s request at the scene to take a breath test to measure Moore’s blood alcohol level. Moore’s license has since been suspended for the refusal.
Contacted after the court proceeding, Delaney confirmed that he did not testify, but he declined to comment further, referring questions to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety’s Legal Division. Mac May, chief counsel for the division, said it would be next week before it would be able to respond.
A Highway Patrol spokesman said, however, that it would be unusual for a state trooper to not present evidence at a court hearing.
“It sounds to me like the judge and the prosecutor had already made their minds up. There’s no other reason,” said Sgt. Ronnie Shive, who works in the public relations department for the troop that covers the greater Greenwood area.
Although Shive acknowledged that he was not in the courtroom and was not familiar with all the particulars in the case, he said the outcome was curious. “Why would they tell the officer there’s no reason for him to testify? Tells me they already made their decision on the case.”
Pulley said that dismissing a case in justice court is “routine practice” when there is a lack of evidence. Campbell said that based on Pulley’s motion, he had no other reasonable option than to agree to dismiss the case.
“Case came to court, the county prosecutor declined to prosecute, so I dismissed it. Simple as that. ... I can’t hear something that you haven’t put in front of me,” the judge said.
Moore, who represents District 2, had pleaded not guilty to the DUI charge.
He was appointed to the Board of Supervisors in late 2018 following the death of his father, longtime county supervisor Robert Moore. Reginald Moore was elected in 2019 to a full four-year term, and earlier this month, he was elevated by his fellow board members to serve as their president.
Moore’s wife, Dr. Kalanya Moore, is a member of the board of the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District, which Pulley also serves as its attorney. On Tuesday, Pulley’s contract with the school board was renewed for another year by a 4-1 vote, with Kalanya Moore voting with the majority.
When asked whether it created a conflict of interest for him to handle the prosecution of a school board member’s spouse, Pulley said it did not.
“There is no conflict of interest for me to prosecute in any matter,” he said. “If there were, then I would have stepped aside and recused myself.”
After being informed that the Commonwealth had spoken with Delaney, Moore accused the officer of targeting him. He also said Delaney was “not a credible trooper” and cited a 12-year-old indictment that accused Delaney of extortion.
The 2008 indictment in Holmes County alleged that Delaney had offered to dismiss a speeding ticket in exchange for a cash payoff, but the indictment was dismissed in 2011. Delaney later sued the Department of Public Safety and several current or former higher-ups in federal court, claiming false arrest and malicious prosecution. The lawsuit also was eventually dismissed.
Moore said he plans to file a formal complaint against Delaney..
“We went through the proper legal process. ... I was found not guilty, but have been targeted and harassed by this trooper,” Moore said, technically misstating the outcome of the case. The prosecutor’s decision to not pursue the misdemeanor charge is neither a finding of innocence nor guilt.
Even though Moore’s case was dismissed, he still will be unable to drive legally until April because of his refusal to submit to a breath test at the time of his arrest. Under Mississippi’s Implied Consent Law, DUI refusal results in an automatic “administrative suspension” of the driver’s license for at least 90 days. The suspension for Moore’s license began Jan. 5, according to Shive.
•Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter at @AdamBakst_GWCW.