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Mayor Frank Melton Released From Jail

  Legal Business  -   POSTED: 2007/03/09 21:44

Mayor Frank Melton was released from jail Thursday after the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated his arrest and recused Judge Tomie Green from the case, according to court documents provided to The Associated Press.

Presiding Justice William Waller Jr. issued the orders without further comment.

Melton spoke to reporters at an impromptu news conference in front of the gates of his Jackson home after he arrived there from jail.

"It was quite a humbling experience," Melton said on Jackson news channel WAPT, noting he cleaned three bathrooms Thursday alongside other inmates.

"We're going to make this a great, great city," the 57-year-old mayor said. "I'm back on the job as of right now."

Melton had appointed Jackson City Councilman Frank Bluntson to be the city's interim mayor in an executive order late Wednesday.

The mayor turned himself in at the county jail Wednesday and was booked into the medical ward to await a hearing on whether he violated his probation on a misdemeanor weapons conviction.

Melton, who recently had heart surgery, checked himself into a hospital with chest pains a week earlier, the day Green issued a warrant for his arrest.

The mayor pleaded no-contest in November to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a pistol on a college campus and guilty to two other misdemeanor weapons violations. The plea deal spared him a felony conviction that would have forced him from office.

Melton was given a six-month suspended sentence on each count, one year of probation and fined $1,500.

Melton is a wealthy former TV executive and one-time state drug enforcement agency chief. He won a landslide election in 2005 on the promise of rooting out crime in Jackson.

He became a fixture on nightly newscasts, wearing fatigues, carrying guns and criticizing the district attorney's office for not putting away enough criminals. He cruised the inner city with police and often took troubled children back to his home in a gated community.

Separately, the mayor and his two former bodyguards are to stand trial April 23 on allegations they had roles in the use of sledge hammers to damage a building the mayor considered a drug haven.


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