Meridian Star

Local News

March 8, 2014

Opinion outlines judges reasoning behind Harper verdict

MERIDIAN —     Meridian Municipal Court Judge Chris Falgout handed down a guilty verdict in the misdemeanor trial against former Meridian Police Department officer Dean Harper late Thursday afternoon.

    In the opinion written by Falgout, the judge pro tempore pointed out the reason he came to the decision based on testimony Monday and in researching statutes that have relevance to this case.

    Falgout wrote that according to Mississippi Code 97-7-43, whoever falsely and willfully assumes or pretends to be an officer, or an employee acting under the authority of the State of Mississippi or any department. In the opinion, Falgout underlined "or" following officer pointing out that a person can be in violation of this law by not only falsely identifying themselves as an officer, but also as a city employee.

    Falgout wrote Harper didn't falsely identify himself as an officer working under the authority of the State of Mississippi, Harper was a state certified officer with the MSU-Meridian police force at the time of the offense, but that Harper did fall under the part of the statute pertaining to falsely identifying oneself as a city employee.

    Harper admitted during testimony that he identified himself to a dispatcher as India 1, his callsign when he was fired as the commander of the MPD's Criminal Investigation Division two weeks prior to the offense. Falgout wrote that Harper did not correct this error to the dispatcher and make the same request as a police officer with the MSU-Meridian campus.

    Falgout wrote in his final determination that Harper was guilty of, not impersonating an officer, but impersonating an employee with the MPD.     Falgout wrote, just before making this final judgement, he was tempted to question the underlying reasons why this case had reached this point. But he determined it was not the court's place to make predetermined judgment calls on why a case is brought before it, but rather simply apply the facts and law accordingly.

    Harper was fined $50 and is responsible for paying for additional state and local costs associated with the proceedings.

    After having some time to digest the opinion, Bill Ready Jr., Harper's attorney, didn't budge from his previous statements that he strongly disagreed with the verdict and repeated he would start the appeal process as soon as possible.

1
Text Only
Local News
Facebook
Helium debate
Helium
Twitter Updates
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide