Jerry Mitchell's got an article on a kerfuffle over the early release of a Gulf Coast businessman after he was charged with punching his wife several times in the face. Long story short, John Ruble, head of the Gulfport Home Builders Association, was arrested for domestic violence, and Municipal Judge ordered him held without bond until noon the following morning, at which time Ruble could be released on a $1,000 bond. The Harrison County Sheriff, Melvin Brisolara, released Ruble on his own recognizance into the custody of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson at 8:41 a.m. The Public Integrity Division of the Attorney General's office found there was no criminal wrongdoing, but did advise the municipal judge that he is free to pursue the civil contempt avenue as he sees fit.
This matters because Simpson has frequently confirmed that he is looking at a race against Attorney General Jim Hood. Simpson would certainly like to be able to attack Hood for not pursuing state charges against those involved in the Scruggs scandals due to his relationship with some of them. Simpson's ability to do that just took a major blow, as Hood could now easily and effectively respond: "I declined to waste state resources on a useless state prosecution; you violated a judge's order to get an alleged wife-beater out of jail early." It also could contribute to a very uncomfortable meme about Republicans in light of Gov. Barbour's, um, misguided use of his pardon power.
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