SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — A Mississippi Appeals Court has overturned the criminal conviction of former Southaven mayor Greg Davis.
In the end the decision came down to one thing.
How much the jury knew.
The court agreed with Davis’ lawyers that he could not get a fair trial in Desoto County.
The ruling issued Tuesday stated, “when they asked the jurors had they read, seen, or heard about the case 62 our of 88 said yes.”
The court felt the case should have been moved, so they threw out the jury’s guilty verdict and the case will have to happen again.
“I thought Judge Chamberlain did the right thing the way he handled it, and I thought he made a good record in the case but obviously they didn’t,” said John Champion, District Attorney.
Champion spoke to us by phone from a convention in Boston promising he will not drop the case and bring Davis back to court to face these charges.
“I got to get with the judge and the defense lawyer and figure out a county we’re going to go to retry the case,” he said.
The case centers around an SUV the city leased and paid hefty payments on up front.
At the end of the lease the city could buy the SUV inexpensively, but Davis bought it himself at the rock bottom price, never giving the city that option.
He was also accused of using free gas at a city gas pump, but charging the city for the mileage.
“I’m a firm believer you do the crime you do the time, but I’m also an ultimate believer we have a higher judge who makes the ultimate decision,” said a Southaven resident.
In June 2014, Davis was found guilty of making false representations to defraud the government.
He was also found guilty of embezzlement for using a city-issued vehicle, while at the same time getting reimbursed thousands of dollars for mileage.
Previously he was ordered to repay $73,915.27 to the state for expenses for which he was reimbursed when he was mayor.
Davis had already paid back $96,000 of the $170,000 he was originally ordered to pay.
The justices have ordered a retrial on the criminal charges.
The civil case over the repayments was handled separately.