Grand jury indicts 72

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 25, 2002

Drug cases occupied a good portion of prosecutors’ time thisweek as they sought indictments during the January term of theLincoln County Grand Jury.

In all, the grand jury returned 72 indictments during thethree-day term that concluded Thursday afternoon.

“It has been productive,” said District Attorney Danny Smith indescribing grand jury activity.

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The circuit clerk’s office has been processing indictments forthe sheriff’s department, which is responsible for servingdefendants with the court papers. Indictments are not made publicuntil the accused are served with the court documents.

Arraignment hearings, which include the formal reading ofcharges against defendants, are scheduled for Feb. 6 before JudgeKeith Starrett, said Circuit Clerk Terry Case Watkins.

The usual cases involving bad checks and failure to supportminor children were among those heard during this week’s term,court officials said.

“And we had a good many drug cases,” Watkins said.

Assistant District Attorney Brandon Frazier said approximately20 drug-related cases were presented.

“We had some good cases,” Frazier said. “Law enforcement iscontinuing to pursue and go after drug dealers.”

Frazier complimented the excellent work by the Lincoln CountySheriff’s Department, Brookhaven Police Department and SouthwestMetro Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

“They did a really good job in the drug cases,” Fraziersaid.

According to the interim report, the grand jury this week heardtestimony from 48 witnesses. In addition to the indictmentsreturned, grand jurors voted to not return indictments in ninecases, continued nine others for further investigation and sent twocases back to a lower court for further disposition.

Watkins said the grand jury is scheduled to return March 11 tohear additional cases. A third session after March may also beheld, she added.

Watkins said Starrett handles grand jury cases presented in thefirst part of the year while Judge Mike Smith is responsible forthose in the second half of the year. Smith’s grand jury term isscheduled for June, Watkins said.