United States v. Spencer Copeland (Federal Criminal)
Jackson native Spencer Copeland got indicted for something he did not do. Or to put it more bluntly, it was something he did but he did not know he was helping his step-brother commit a crime. If you are from the Jackson area then you might know Frazier Construction Company and the Fraziers. The dad, C.E. Frazier was a long-time respected owner of a construction company in the metro area. His two sons joined the business and in December 2012, C.E. Frazier, Austin and Claiborne were indicted for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud in Count 1 of a Federal Indictment. C.E. Frazier, Austin Frazier and Spencer Copeland, the step-brother to Austin and Claiborne, were indicted in Count 2 for conspiracy to money launder. C.E., Austin, and Claiborne all pleaded guilty to Count 1. We entered a not guilty plea for Spencer.
The trial was scheduled ten (10) months after the indictment. There were over 100,000 documents in the case. My partner, Chuck Mullins and I poured ourselves into the documents and the case. We interviewed witnesses, researched case law, reviewed documents, and worked on all parts of the trial. On October 7th the court called the case for trial. The government went first in voir dire. (jury selection). I handled the voir dire for Spencer. I had our defense clearly in my mind.
After the jury was picked the U.S. Government gave their opening. They had a beautiful power point. At first it suprised me. We did not have a glossy power point. I went next and let myself go in opening. I believed in Spencer. I believed in his defense. I had prepared. When I sat down I knew the opening was good. We recessed for the day.
The next morning the U.S. Government announced to the Court that the indictment against Spencer would be dismissed with prejudice. The government worked the night before and decided they could not prove their case. Frankly, I felt honored to be Spencer's attorney and I was proud to see two (2) Assistant U.S. Attorney's follow their conscience and do the right thing. I know I will meet them both in other trials, but my estimation of their integrity rose a great deal that day. Spencer and his family and friends were thrilled. They congratulated us for our hard work. Honestly, I did not need the congratulations. I was happy to help Spencer. Helping Mississippians is what I have been doing for over 32 years.