July 12, 2023

Appellate attorney for former JPD Detective Anthony Fox adds context

Therese Apel

Former JPD Detective Anthony Fox pictured with the late former Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance after receiving the Eric Smith Award.

After Darkhorse Press founder Therese Apel appeared on The Clay Edwards Show to discuss a recent brief written by the Attorney General’s office about the trial of Anthony Fox, the former JPD detective convicted in the death of George Robinson, AKA “Killer George,” in January 2019, which airs on local radio station WYAB, an email came in from one of Fox’s appellate attorneys.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office issued a brief earlier this week stating that Fox’s case should have never gone to trial, and that it should be overturned and he should be released immediately. It’s fairly unprecedented in the legal community for an Attorney General to admit such extensive mistakes in a trial.

Fox was represented in trial by Paul Luckett, Francis Springer, and Michael Cory. For the appeal, the team brought in Merrida “Buddy” Coxwell, Chuck Mullins, Courtney Denise Sanders, and Carlos Tanner.

Coxwell’s email read as follows.

This is Merrida “Buddy” Coxwell, one of the attorneys for Mr. Fox. With all respect, a major point is being missed. Forget all the “politics” and look at the evidence.

There was no evidence that Mr. Fox or any officer “hit, kicked, punched, head slammed or stomped” Mr. Robinson. Two witnesses made that claim but the medical evidence proved that did not happen. The State’s own pathologist completely contradicted these two witnesses. Witness testimony must put forth facts that can be accepted as true. If all the medical evidence (4 doctors) say a fact did not happen, then it cannot be true.

In two other cases throughout my 42 year career when I was appearing before the Appellate Courts, the Judges in oral argument asked the State Attorney General why they did not confess a factual issue if it was the right thing to do. One issue involved the insufficiency of the evidence. This happened 5-7 years ago before Attorney General (Lynn) Fitch took office.

So this is rare. In the past the State Attorneys General have not had the nerve to admit error. The admission by the State Attorney General in the brief is a breath of fresh justice.

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