Jury selection was set to begin today in the trial of Raymond John Fleming, Jr. in the 273rd Judicial District Court of Shelby County, Honorable James A. Payne, Jr. presiding. Mr. Fleming was charged by indictment with four felony crimes: two counts of forgery, one count of forgery against the elderly, and one count of fraudulent use or possession of identifying information against the elderly.
Mr. Fleming was accused of stealing checks from people’s mailboxes, altering them to be made payable to himself, and then cashing them. Just before the start of jury qualification, however, Mr. Fleming decided to waive his right to a jury trial on the question of his guilt/innocence, and he entered a plea of “guilty” in each case. Mr. Fleming has requested that the Court assess his punishment – as such, Judge Payne order a Pre-Sentence Investigation be conducted for Mr. Fleming. The punishment trial will take place later this month on a date to be determined by the Court.
The backup cases to Mr. Fleming’s case were resolved, had a lawyer preferentially set elsewhere, or had a defendant that did not show up (with a new arrest warrant being issued). There was a very good turnout by the jurors for Mr. Fleming’s trial. Judge Payne and Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires thanked them for coming in and explained that their service, though brief, was invaluable.