JACKSON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a Mississippi State University student who was convicted of having a firearm on campus.
Jeffrey Lance Hill was convicted at trial in May of 2012 of having a rifle and 440 rounds of ammunition at the Aiken Village Apartments.
Hill argues he never knew the apartments were part of the campus.
He represented himself, but attorney Stephanie Mallette was appointed by the court to assist him with his defense.
During the trial, a police report, which named the confidential informant used by police, was given to Mallette.
She asked the trial judge to allow her to withdraw because the judge had ruled the information about the informant was not supposed to be released and she would have to instruct Hill to ask for a mistrial in order to call the informant as a witness.
Another attorney, Mark Williamson, was asked to assist Hill in an advisory role, and he stated he would instruct Hill to ask for a mistrial because he didn’t have enough information on the case to advise him properly.
Mallette was told by the judge she would have to remain as Hill’s counsel, but not offer him advice on when to rest his case if he asked for her assistance.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the trial judge was wrong to grant Mallette’s motion to withdraw because of a conflict of interest then simultaneously asked her to remain as Hill’s advisory counsel.
The case was ordered back to Oktibbeha County Circuit Court for a new trial.