Judge Acker shoots the bird at Judge Vinson and tries to glue feathers on Scruggs and the Rigsbys

Looks like little Billy Acker really got his robe in a wad when he shot a 65-page Opinion at the truly Honorable Judge Roger Vinson with his middle finger in the air.

The convoluted thinking in his related Order shows Judge Acker’s uncivil contempt of justice that ends with this vengeful kiss-my-ass dare:

In the event either party applies for an interlocutory appeal pursuant to U.S.C. 28 1292 (b), there will be no stay of proceedings in this court unless the Eleventh Circuit orders it.

His decision to hold the Rigsby sisters, Dickie Scruggs, and the Scruggs law firm in civil contempt and award E.A. Renfroe $65,000 for the untimely delivery of documents the sisters didn’t have to deliver and Scruggs lawfully delivered elsewhere is only rivaled by denying their motion for dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction so he had a basis for writing the most hate-filled Opinion any of us should ever have to read – and I haven’t even mentioned how he manipulated the date to make the delivery “late”.

There is so much in the document that needs to be called to public attention, that more will have to come later. You can get full flavor from the text below and, then, I suggest you pour yourself a drink, settle down in your favorite chair, and read what this man wrote.

Judge Vinson was certainly correct when he began his opinion in United States v Scruggs by call it a “most unusual case”. The criminal action against Scruggs was the first and only case in the United States in which a judge sitting on the same court as a judge who had earlier initiated a charge of criminal contempt against a lawyer, dismissed that charge on motion of the accused lawyer without ducting an evidentiary hearing.

Of course, it was; it was just that bad. Who in their right mind would make that public knowledge when it so indicates he was so clearly wrong in charging Scruggs with contempt that no hearing was needed?

At any rate, it’s now officially Alabama month in Atlanta – as if the 11th Circuit needed another high-profile case when the words selective prosecution are already becoming synonymous with the State.

16 thoughts on “Judge Acker shoots the bird at Judge Vinson and tries to glue feathers on Scruggs and the Rigsbys”

  1. 65 pages of venting – wow! Alice Martin declined the criminal comtempt and the special judge appointed to oversee the case kicked it saying there was no case even if everything Acker alleged was true in what had to be a stinging setback for him. Today was his revenge.

    I was sent some old news accounts of him refusing to pay a local occupational tax in Birmingham even after the Supreme Court advised him the assessment was legal. That tells you something about the man.

    Dickie Scruggs is a big boy who can take care of himself. I feel very badly for the sisters. The rollercoaster ride continues.


  2. I wanted to write more, I just had to stop. What happens when a judge does something like this? Surely there’s some discipline process within the federal court system.

    He got his glue stick after Jim Hood too – and honestly Sop he made the Renfroe’s look like they were cooperating with him by making “adjustments” in their legal strategy.

    I’ve always felt the Rigsby sisters really liked working for the Renfroes – and we know they didn’t want to have to give up their jobs. IMO, the Renfroes picked the wrong side to partner with and this decision today is going to come back and bite them.

  3. Renfroe would not exist without State Farm Nowdy. They chose the only side they could if they want to remain in business working for insurers.

    Sentiment score tonight is two thumbs down from Slabbed and Folo. Two thumbs up from Yall and Rossmiller.

    The irony is his opinion would have violated Senter’s 40 page limit. Maybe we should count our blessings down here Nowdy.


  4. I just want to comment to note that the opinion (which I’ve noted elsewhere is as weird as any I’ve seen, though not the most hostile I’ve seen) is not remotely 65 pages long. It includes as Exhibit A Judge Vitter’s opinion, which is actually more than half of the page length.

    Reading something to the end is an important part of commenting upon it, by and large.

  5. They work for other companies, too, Sop. Maybe I’ve missed it but I haven’t seen them named as defendants in cases involving any company but State Farm.

    Well, Sop, when the folks at y’all get over the Jim Hood part and read what this man wrote, it should be three thumbs up – no one is going to want to be attached to anything with this man’s name on it.

  6. With the 17 pages of his rantings and the rest of the exhibits of Judge Vinson et al., it is remotely 65 pages long NMC. You have the file. Since when do judges put exhibits in their opinions. He put them there himself. Talk about a rant! The guy has gone over the edge.

  7. I got the reading part, NMC, and thought the fact that he included the exhibits with the Memorandum as a single document and numbered the pages 1-65 was a part of the “weirdness” that folks would see.

    I read the Order too, btw, and thought it was a bit on the strange side as well.

    Have you ever seen an opinion where one judge is hostile to another – or is that what you meant? This was just so personal and hostile to all involved.

  8. What I don’t get is how he can re-address this issue — Judge Vinson dismissed it with prejudice:

    The injunction specifically and precisely said the documents could be given

  9. Belle, that’s the “weirdest” part of all – and what I meant and should have explained better when I said it had the appearance of being a cooperative effort with Renfroe (my comment to Sop).

    I’ll try and answer your question later – it will take some time – but an not certain as there’s no logic or reason in his convoluted attempt to justify – plus you have to continually cross-reference between the two documents to get the picture.

    about giving the appearance it was a cooperative effo

  10. Nowdy, I noticed that the Judge did not site one citation nor did he address any of the filings except the one for summary judgment. In the whole order there is not any reference to law at all! It is like a ninth grader’s rantings on paper. I wouldn’t be surprised if Judge Vinson comes out with his own sua sponte (of its own wil or motion, voluntarily; without prompting or suggestion, to whup Judge Acker up side the head.

  11. Belle,

    I may be wrong here, but I think what was dismissed with prejudice was the criminal case, and this one is a civil contempt finding vs a criminal one. I have to admit that the wording in this opinion really baffles the mind. there is no doubt that Acker is pissed in this whole matter.

  12. Beau as I’ve had a chance to sit back and digest this latest turn of events the more convinced I become Acker’s reaction to his anger pushed him over the line IMHO. Whether he likes Jim Hood or not the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General is not “so called law enforcement”. Acker wrote the order covering the documents and if he didn’t mean to include the Mississippi Attorney General as “Law Enforcement” within the meaning of his order then that is his fault not Scruggs or the Rigsby sisters.

    I don’t know who it is that polices district court judges but Acker’s opinion reminds me of a temper tantrum thrown by a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way. It is simply an incredible outburst.

    Whoever it is that has oversight over these fellas should give him a timeout before he dishonors his appointed office further indulging personal vendettas. It is amazing that someone with Acker’s temperment sits on our Federal bench.


  13. Beau, I don’t know either. But it seems to be it is the exact same cause and “with prejudice” means res judicata, “barring the right to bring . . .an action on the same . . . cause.”

    And it is hard to figure out what the judge is saying about this:

    Scruggs argues that he cannot be held in civil contempt because he not only was not subject to the injunction, just as he contended in US v. Scruggs, the separate criminal case, but that he did not violate the injunction as he also contended in US v. Scruggs. . . . The court finds no reason to alter its findings that it had the power to impose an injunction that by its terms reached Scruggs and had jurisdiction to enforce that injunction. It is a truism that Scruggs could not be in contempt of a conduct that had no jurisdiction over him. Scruggs has not only preserved his earlier jurisdictional argument, but now interposes as an alleged absolute defense akin to res judicata, the result in US v. Scruggs in which the Honorable Judge Vinson sitting on this court by special designation found that Scruggs was not subject to this court’s injunction and if subject to it did not violate it.

    What? Come again? What in the world!?

    From Judge Vinson’s order (not quoted verbatim)

    Renfroe originally sought both criminal and civil contempt. Acker originally declined civil contempt because Renfroe “must show that the injunction is currently being violated.” At that time, the documents had been returned as required. Compensatory civil contempt was pre-mature because the validity of the injunction was being challenged in the 11th Circuit Court.

    Under the title of The Court has no personal jurisdiction over Scruggs, Judge Vinson wrote:

    Courts do not write legislation for members of the public at large, they frame decrees and judgments binding on the parties before them. A court may not enter an injunction against a person who has not been made a party to the case before it.

    You’d think you cannot enter compensatory civil contempt either.

  14. Belle according to Paul Quinn, writing for the Clarion Ledger, Jim Hood took offense to little Billy Acker’s axe grind.

    Hood says he intends to file a motion requesting Acker revise the ruling because of its “derogatory conclusion.” “The rules of judicial performance do not allow a court to engage in unnecessary attacks on officers of the court, particularly when they are not even parties to the litigation. This Judge interfered with a grand jury investigation and we believe that either he, an appellate court, or the Alabama Commission on Judicial Performance will remedy this situation.”

    Acker’s lack of self control and complete disregard for impartiality indeed has consequences.

    Predictably the anti Jim Hood wind up dolls lead by Sid Salter started criticizing Hood evidently with little to no background knowledge of this case.


  15. Whoo Hooo! That’s OUR Attorney General! I hope he’s right about Acker hearing about this from an appellate court or at least some Commission on Judicial Performance (NMC seems to think the Alabama Commission on Judicial Performance can’t speak to a federal judge). But in any case, someone needs to check this judge’s meds.

    What? Did Sid wake up out of his coma? Nothing to say unless it is to bash Hood. That’s our Sid attacking the lone duly elected Democrat in our state from the last election. It’s a shame he is so partisan. It doesn’t go well with journalism.

  16. In fairness to Sid he is an opinion writer Belle and yes it took Jim Hood’s name to shake Sid out of hibernation.

    NMC is most likely right. I think longer term Acker may have done the Rigsby sisters a big favor with his hatchet job of an opinion.


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