Yesterday, Circuit Court Judge Chris Schmidt continued the DUI appeal of controversial Bay St Louis Building Inspector Charles Oliver until the June 2017 court term. Oliver had previously pleaded no contest to the charge in County Justice Court, which came after he caused an accident with injury on Highway 90 in Bay St Louis during the 2015 Cruisin’ The Coast. Blood drawn pursuant to a warrant after the accident showed that Oliver’s blood alcohol content was in excess of 3 times over the legal limit.
According to a Seacoast Echo report dated May 24, 2016, Oliver was represented by attorney Damian Holcomb, who then shared a law office with then Bay St. Louis city attorney Donald Rafferty. Rafferty was replaced by the Bay City Council in August 2016.
The appeal was originally scheduled to be heard on Tuesday February 21, 2017 but was postponed until February 23 due to a scheduling conflict involving Rafferty, whose role in the case was not clear to spectators in attendance as he did not handle the case in his role as City Prosecutor. On Thursday the matter was then continued by Judge Schmidt to the June Circuit Court term.
Yesterday afternoon Slabbed New Media heard from several concerned citizens that were very unhappy with the fact that Oliver has yet to face justice 16 months after the incident with one observing:
Convenient for the Mayor. He won’t have that scandal to deal with during the campaign. Look like the boys from the Pass got together and helped out Hizzoner on this one.
Another invoked Mothers Against Drunk Driving stating:
Someone needs to contact MADD and SADD MIssissippi.
The anger comes into sharper focus in light of the fact that questions were raised in October 2015 that Oliver was receiving preferential treatment due to his close personal friendship with Mayor Fillingame.
My own take is that a four month continuance is not necessarily unusual due to the fact that Court convenes every other month and it is likely the April docket is already filled. That said I’m struggling to understand former City Attorney Rafferty’s role in a case he never prosecuted. Maybe someone that was there on Tuesday can clarify that in comments. Meantime Slabbed will continue to follow this case.