Backstrom files “wait a minute Mr. Postman” motion and asks Judge Biggers to “check it one more time for me”

Here I’ve been feeling guilty that Judge Biggers approved the Sun Herald’s request to release of letters written on behalf of the Scruggses and Backstrom. Had I not taken a break from today’s to-do list for a quick read-around, I would not have learned I wasn’t the only one – so here’s a h/t to NMC for the notice and the motion for reconsideration filed by Sid Backstrom. Followed, of course, by my opinion of it all.

Gulf Publishing, by motion of June 17, 2008, has requested that this Court provide it with access to unsolicited sentencing letters addressed to the Judge who will sentence Mr. Backstrom.

Before Mr. Backstrom could respond, the Court, on June 20, granted the motion.

Mr. Backstrom requests that the Court reconsider its ruling…

This Court should exercise its discretion to maintain the confidences and personal information revealed in the sentencing letters submitted on behalf of Mr. Backstrom. The Court should deny Gulf Publishing’s motion to obtain access to these letters.

Weighing the competing public and private interest involved is no simple task even with the extensive case history cited in Backstrom’s motion and an earlier order from Biggers limiting each to three character witnesses suggested the letters were of little, if any, interest to him. Consequently, it’s reasonable to think he saw no reason for denying the request.

Judge Biggers, we can now safely assume, does not blog.

Obviously, I do, and I see every reason to deny access to these letters to a public that has consistently ridiculed anything and everything about the defendants – and can be expected to do likewise to those who wrote to Judge Biggers on their behalf.

No one should be subjected to such and everyone who wrote a letter is at risk of becoming the next victim of caustic, if not cruel, comments made by a public with little or no regard for what it says about all of us or for the example it sets for our children.

Although Will Bardwell is now a man and about to shut down his college blog willbardwell.com, he is very much a child of Mississippi. I’d save this recent post of his intending to work the title into a salute from SLABBED; and, now suppose this will be it.

From The Department Of Superfluous Reporting

Jerry Mitchell’s story in today’s Clarion-Ledger about Zach Scruggs’ July 2 sentencing date is getting some attention at … for this line…
Hours after learning his sentencing date, Zach Scruggs was seen drinking a Grey Goose and tonic at City Grocery on the Oxford Square.
Can we make additional copies of this observation for filing under the heading of “Who Cares?” Can we also get word one way or the other on whether he prefers chips & salsa or fried mushrooms? Or perhaps of what detergent his undershirt smelled?
So said Bardwell

Yes, you did Will and you said it well, as usual, and in doing so let us see we are a shallow and shameless  public not worthy of the trust Judge Biggers order implies – but you also give us great hope of a trustworthy Mississippi in our future; and, for that I thank you and wish you all the best as you take this next big step in life.

6 thoughts on “Backstrom files “wait a minute Mr. Postman” motion and asks Judge Biggers to “check it one more time for me””

  1. I disagree Nowdy. There is no shame in writing such a letter on behalf of a friend and the people who wrote them have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in honoring their friendship with Scrugges and Sid Backstrom.

    The commenting on this matter has been one sided IMHO speaking just to the letters in support. Certainly there are letters from those who want the book thrown at Scruggs. Judging from some of the cyber comments I’ve read through time on this entire sad affair (my personal “favorite” called for several bullets in the chest) some of the Scruggians must be the most miserable unhappy people on the face of the planet.

    Those are the mental cases I want identified so I can stay as far away from them as humanly possible.

    Conversely I hoping I know some of the people who wrote in support of Mr Backstrom, and the Scrugges. Those folks will be your friend through thick and thin, even when the climate is poisonous.

    BTW – You have a link to Bardwell’s entry on Zach’s Grey Goose drinking?

    sop

  2. Well, I must have been clear as mud! I was trying to get this post up before wordpress shut down access for server upgrade.

    You are absolutely right in saying that there there is no shame in writing the letters.

    My concern is those who did that with the best of intentions are subject to the same shameful treatment given the Scruggses.

    I linked to Will’s post on Zach because it shows what our young people think of the way we’ve conducted ourselves in that regard.

    Take another read and let me know how I sent you in the wrong direction and I’ll edit as needed to make my point.

  3. Your post was clear Nowdy. I disagree with your stance the letters should remain off the record.

    The character assassins and guilt by association types you refer reveal that which is wrong with themselves rather than bringing any dishonor to those who stepped up for their friends.

    IMHO the mistake you make is assuming that any of the bashing will impact these people beyond them having to endure the mean spiritedness associated with certain cyber venues. I just don’t see a connection between the rants of unhappy people and the everyday lives of those who wrote in support of the defendants that would justify keeping the letters private.

    sop

  4. Oh, Sop, I disagree. It’s simply not worth the risk of having anyone subjected to ridicule.

    Frankly, some of the Scruggs haters seem like the kind of people who will stop at nothing – to the extent that I think some would actually do things to people – not unlawful but definitely unethical.

  5. Hold the prayer. The priority in a letter of recommendation or condemnation treads on thin ice and has a cause and effect.

    At some point, the system breaks down, and when that happens, any mitigating factors will do more harm than good. I don’t think it is fair to put these Defendants on the same field with Nelson Mandella’s historic imprisonment. I also don’t think it’s fair to formally comment about these Defendants as if to ply either solicited or unsolicited help or invite open attacks pending a Judge’s decision.

    There’s very little in letter-writing that isn’t flavored with the taint of influence peddling – good or bad. I think that every breath, gesture, and body language of the Defendants suffices to raise conditional latitude in the mind of this Judge.

    If I had the right to judge this matter, I could very easily call to the attention of the Judge that Mississippi has a very bad law which allows the elected Attorney General to appoint private Assistants. I think therefore the State of Mississippi creates an environment for unlawful and unethical acts.

    This fact stands alone, and, were it not for the Special Prosecution Lawyer, there would be not be envy, greed, and corruptable circumstances.

    By not revising the law, and returning it to the old law, there would be no punishment. End of issue.

    I’m mad. The Judge sees the light. He removes the anesthetic mask, wakes up, and there’s reason to let Defendants go free.

    The just reward for letter writers will invariably be the inordinate failure of effort and the public exposure. From 1994-1997, the Sun Herald and the Clarion Ledger could not be found digging into the Attorney General’s compost pile. Now the Sun-Herald, to it’s credit, wants to expose something it certainly has the right to do. If they worked as hard in 1994 as they have in the past 8 months, maybe there would be nothing to write about.

    In future, perhaps we’ll be hearing about shock probation letters.

  6. Hammish, this case has nothing to do with the Attorney General and his ability to ask lawyers with the means and capability to assist him and that doesn’t create an environment for unlawful and unethical acts, either. You are barking up the wrong tree here.

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