JANS – Greta Kemp Martin, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, held a press conference on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, in front of the Office of the Attorney General in the Walter Sillers Building in Jackson.
“It’s significant that I am joined by some of the very Mississippians who have borne the brunt of Lynn Fitch’s actions and inactions,” said Kemp Martin. “I wish to shed light on some of their stories – these individuals that represent the faces of the failures of General Lynn Fitch’s tenure and how we plan to address the challenges they’ve encountered.”
Kemp Martin was joined by numerous supporters including the family of Tasha Mercedes Shelby. Shelby received a life sentence without the possibility of parole following the tragic death of her stepson, a death initially attributed to Shaken Baby Syndrome by the medical examiner. Since then, the medical examiner has retracted his opinion based on the questionable scientific basis of Shaken Baby Syndrome diagnoses. Despite this retraction, Tasha remains behind bars.
“This case is not an isolated incident, which is why my platform includes the establishment of a Conviction Integrity Unit,” said Kemp Martin. “At its core, a Conviction Integrity Unit is dedicated to investigating claims of wrongful convictions. It has the capacity to reexamine cases in which new evidence has come to light, instances where prosecutorial misconduct is suspected, or situations where doubts linger regarding the original conviction.”
Kemp Martin also highlighted cases involving the death of Meridian resident Christian Andreacchio, the delayed response to the horrific abuses of Rankin County sheriff deputies until federal investigators were involved, and the lack of investigations and prosecutions by the Attorney General’s office in the nearly $100M TANF scandal.
“Mississippians have grown too accustomed to being consistently underrepresented by those entrusted with safeguarding our safety, health, and overall well-being while many within our state’s leadership have grown too accustomed to exploiting our state’s resources for personal gain, evading accountability behind closed doors, all while disregarding the pressing issues that ail our great state,” said Kemp Martin. “It’s time we stood up against these failures.”
Along with the previously announced Fair Labor Division, Kemp Martin also plans to create a Civil Rights Division within the Attorney General’s office to support of women, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, former felons, and other groups protected under federal and state law. This division would ensure the rights of federally protected groups, preventing complex and costly litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“I’m not going to shy away from things that people deem controversial, because they’re not,” Kemp Martin said. “These are issues that have to be brought to the forefront. I see no reason why state leaders shouldn’t talk about them. It seems crazy not to.”