The ink had barely dried on Tuesday's edition of The Helena World reporting that Helena-West Helena Police had retained the services of local attorney Jimmie L. Wilson, when an envelope from city hall was hand delivered to the newspaper office late Tuesday afternoon.
The ink had barely dried on Tuesday’s edition of The Helena World reporting that Helena-West Helena Police had retained the services of local attorney Jimmie L. Wilson, when an envelope from city hall was hand delivered to the newspaper office late Tuesday afternoon.
The sealed envelope contained three letters regarding the retention of Wilson’s legal services, including one terminating the lawyer’s representation of the police department in a shooting incident that occurred in the city on Feb. 13. In that reported shootout, Sgt. Matthew Jarrett was wounded when he and two other officers went to a West Cleburne address to serve a search warrant in what was referred to by H-WHPD Chief Uless Wallace as part of a drug investigation.
Also injured in the shooting were brothers, David Randle and Charlie Randle. David Randle was treated and released from a Memphis hospital. Charlie Randle was last reported in critical condition at The Med in Memphis.
In Willis’ letter to Wilson he stated, “The purpose of this letter is to terminate your legal representation effective today (Feb. 25) in the above matter. I greatly appreciate your willingness to represent the police chief and deputy police chief in this emergency situation. Please submit your final bill in this matter at a reduced $200 hourly rate. Thanks again for your service to the City of Helena-West Helena.”
Last week, The Helena World received a copy of an invoice stating that Chief Wallace contacted Wilson for emergency representation for an interview with Arkansas State Police on Saturday, Feb. 15.
According to the invoice, Wilson’s retainer fee at the time was set at $2,500 and at an hourly rate of $350.
Willis also hand-delivered a letter to Wallace regarding the retention of outside legal counsel.
The letter stated, “Effective immediately, do not contact or retain outside legal counsel for any city legal matter without approval from me (Willis) or the city attorney (Chalk Mitchell). The city attorney is available to provide legal representation to the police department, unless there is a conflict. However, the city attorney and I must be consulted prior to your contacting outside legal counsel. Moreover, if you retain outside legal representation without our prior approval, you will be responsible for all legal expenses.”
In a third letter, Mitchell wrote attorney Wilson to confirm a Feb. 14 agreement to reduce his $350 hourly rate to $200 per hour.
“Your reduction of your hourly rate is appropriate due to the dire financial condition of the City of Helena-West Helena,” wrote Mitchell.
Arkansas State Police are still investigating the shooting to determine whether charges will be filed in the case.