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MSPBA Member Anthony Fox Free And Back On The Force After Conviction Reversed



By Francis Springer, Springer Law Office, PLLC and Cindy Baugher, Communications Project Coordinator, SSPBA


PBA member Anthony Fox is finally free following the reversal of his unjust conviction for the death of a Jackson, Mississippi man in January 2019. The PBA has provided legal coverage from the start of this ordeal.


  Member Anthony Fox with his PBA legal team

Standing from left to right: Courtney Sanders, Christian Medina, Francis Springer and Michael Cory. Sitting from left to right: Merrida Coxwell, Anthony Fox and Carlos Tanner Paul Luckett


Fox and two fellow Jackson PD officers and PBA members, Desmond Barney and Lincoln Lampley, were indicted for second degree murder following the arrest of George Robinson, a convicted felon.


Early on Sunday, January 13, 2019, a pastor was robbed and killed at his church in Jackson. Fox and the other officers were called out to help find this murderer. Detective Fox received a tip of where the suspect was. The officers went to the area to investigate.


When in the area, Fox immediately noticed a hand-to-hand drug transaction between a driver of a sedan and an unknown woman. Fox ordered the driver, Robinson, to show his hands. The suspect then reached between the seats. Fearing he was reaching for a weapon, Fox got Robinson out of the vehicle. Robinson scraped his forehead on the asphalt and was arrested without further incident.


Due to the scrape, Fox had EMS check Robinson. Robinson refused medical treatment and refused to be transported to the hospital. Robinson was then released with two citations and drove away.


Later that evening, Robinson was transported by ambulance from a local motel where he was living, to the hospital. His girlfriend reported that he began convulsing, so she called 911. Robinson died a few days later due to complications of a subdural hematoma. The next day, Fox and the two other officers were placed on administrative leave with pay. This is when PBA became involved.


Due to local political problems between the mayor of Jackson and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the only agency who investigated Robinson’s death was the FBI. This had been requested by then Hinds County DA, Robert Smith. The FBI found no wrongdoing. A civil lawsuit was also filed against the officers. United States District Judge Carlton Reeves dismissed the federal claims, finding the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. However, a grand jury indicted Fox, Lampley, and Barney.


Lampley and Barney were assigned to the same courtroom and were tried together. Judge Faye Peterson dismissed their charges, finding the State had proven nothing it alleged. Unfortunately, Fox’s case was assigned to a different judge, Adrienne Wooten, who would not allow Fox’s case to be merged with the others. After a “make-believe” trial, Fox was found guilty of culpable negligence manslaughter, a lesser-included offense of second degree murder. The judge immediately ordered Fox into custody and later sentenced him to 20 years with 15 suspended--he would have to serve five years. (Special thanks to Sheriff Randy Tucker and Chief Deputy Jeremy Williams for arranging for Fox to serve his time in their facility.)


Prosecutors tried to say that Fox had pulled Robinson from the car and body-slammed him, ultimately causing his death. The State produced two biased witnesses. One witness was then serving a sentence in federal custody for a drug crime Fox was involved with investigating. Yes, read that again. There was one big problem with that story: Robinson did not have injuries consistent with any beating or body-slamming. Four doctors, one from the State and three from the defense, testified they could not conclusively say anything Fox did led to Robinson’s death. However, the jury found him guilty. Yes, something is fishy.


After Fox spent 552 days in jail, the Mississippi Court of Appeals concluded that the verdict was wrong. The majority of the appeals court concluded that prosecutors had not proven that Fox “acted in a grossly negligent manner,” nor that Robinson’s death “was reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances.” The court also declared, “The evidence does not support a finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fox should have known that Robinson’s death was a probable result that he should have reasonably anticipated.” The appeals court also noted that jury instructions were improper and impinged on Fox’s right to a fair trial.


There is evidence that suggests some struggle took place in the hotel room where Robinson was that evening. However, due to an inept mayor and the lack of an investigation, we will never know. After Fox’s release, Springer stated to Darkhorse Press, “Did something happen to Mr. Robinson that shouldn’t have? It’s quite possible, but because there was no investigation done properly, we’ll never know.”  pringer continued, “Something happened in that hotel room…but because there was such a push to put a cop in jail, a lot of that was overlooked.”


The conviction was reversed on January 30, 2024, and Fox was released from prison on February 7, 2024. One day after his release he was reinstated to the Clinton Police Department as a narcotics detective. In announcing Fox’s return, Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher declared, “How much more incompetent and mean-spirited can a judge be than to give improper jury instructions to a jury when a person’s future is at stake? How much stronger could the higher court rebuke any judge’s skills?”


Clinton Police Chief Ford Hayman remarked about Fox, “He’s the engine that seems to drive us and move us forward in so many different ways. When he’s around, everyone’s performing a little bit better. The impact started the day he didn’t come back to this department, and the hole that it created within this department, our service is not as good to this community without Detective Fox. Now we have a chance for Fox to come back, we’ll fill that hole up and get back to work.”


In a legal case that spanned over five years, multiple court appearances and 552 days behind bars, the no cap/no limit legal services that come with the cost of a PBA membership proved priceless to Fox. PBA’s extensive legal team has been paramount to Fox’s release.  Attorneys Paul Luckett, Michael Cory, and Francis Springer tried the case. Attorneys Carlos Tanner, Merrida Coxwell, Courtney Sanders, and Francis Springer handled the appeal.




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