Marvin Brownlee

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 16, 2010

If jurors convict, no more city court trips for Brownlee

By Billy Davis
After making regular trips to Batesville Municipal Court for three decades, Marvin Brownlee is facing serious trouble.

He told a circuit judge Wednesday he wished to proceed with a July 26 jury trial. He could receive life in prison, without parole, if convicted of hitting a police officer last year.

A jury conviction would follow three previous felony convictions for Brownlee, 54, who has two convictions for assaulting a police officer and one for arson.

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Dressed in prison clothes, Brownlee stood before Judge Jimmy McClure in Batesville, when a morning of court proceedings moved to a bond revocation hearing for the defendant.

During the hearing, public defender David Walker reminded Brownlee – twice – that he faces life in sentence, without parole, if convicted by a jury.

By proceeding to trial, Brownlee was rejecting a plea deal from prosecutors, Walker also said.

“I need to get it on the record, then, that you’re rejecting the state’s plea offer,” Walker said.

“I do,” Brownlee replied.

McClure also repeated, presumably for the court records, Brownlee’s wish to reject a plea offer and ask for a trial.

The hearing then moved to a second phase, the bond revocation, where both Walker and Assistant District Attorney Rhonda Amis asked McClure to keep Brownlee behind bars.

Amis reminded the court that Brownlee had been out of jail on bond when he was arrested for public drunk.

Brownlee, if kept in jail, would remain sober and that would allow Walker to contact his client for the upcoming trial, Amis said.

“I would prefer to keep him in the Panola County Detention Center,” Walker agreed.

“The facts are the facts if you read The Panolian,” Walker continued. “My client is in there a lot for public drunk.”

In a further twist to the court proceedings, Batesville police Detective Paul Shivers was called as a witness, not by Amis but for Walker.

“Marvin’s the best person you’ll want to meet if he’s sober,” Shivers, a veteran of the police department, said on the witness stand.

But when he’s intoxicated, Brownlee is “belligerent” and “combative,” actions that led to last year’s alleged assault on Lt. Ruby Myers, Shivers said.

Under cross-examination by Amis, Shivers said Brownlee is arrested almost weekly for public drunk and disorderly conduct. The stack of individual criminal cases “numbers in the thousands,” he said.

McClure then ruled that he was revoking Brownlee’s bond.

Brownlee, after McClure’s ruling, then made a nonsensical comment to Walker, who had leaned over to listen.

“Y’all ain’t being fair and I ain’t being treated right,” Brownlee said to the court.