AG now looking at judge
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00 PM
The investigation of Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger over allegations of assault and usage of racial slurs towards a learning disabled man has been turned over to Attorney General Jim Hood's office.
The accusations were part of an affidavit filed by the family of 20-year-old Eric Rivers. The affidavit accuses Weisenberger of slapping Rivers and calling him the "n" word during the May 8 Canton Flea Market. The affidavit includes eyewitness testimony from two out-of-state vendors.
Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said he felt his office had a potential conflict of interest and "out of an abundance of caution," he handed the case over to the Public Integrity Division of the AG's office.
"We requested they take over the investigation," Guest said. "We felt their was a conflict that existed with our office continuing to prosecute the matter."
Guest said the case had not been presented to a grand jury and it would be up to the AG's office on when the case would be presented, if presented at all.
AG spokesperson Jan Schaefer said it was the office's policy to neither confirm not deny investigations and declined comment.
The Canton Police Department conducted the initial investigation and turned over its findings to the DA's office.
Included was the sworn affidavit that included testimony from Tuscaloosa, Ala., vendor Cathy Hendrix and her sister Tammy Westbrook. They said Rivers approached them looking for work, saying he was trying to earn money to buy a bicycle. They declined his offer.
They said that's when Weisenberger approached Rivers and that's when the alleged assault occurred.
Weisenberger was working security at the time, although he was not there under any law enforcement capacity.
The matter was also scheduled to be presented before the Mississippi Judicial Commission in June.
Darlene Ballard, MJC executive director, said everything they do is confidential and would neither confirm nor deny if there was even a valid complaint.
"Everything we do is confidential until we make a recommendation to the Supreme Court," she said.
Ballard previously told the Journal that if the claims are substantiated, the actions would violate the Code of Conduct.