Jerry Mitchell Writes about Bubba Pierce’s New Out of State Friends

Anita Lee debunked the recent anti Diaz LEAA ads in a story we profiled here.  Now, the Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention has found the recent LEAA.org ad violates the Code of Judicial Conduct. Comcast has pulled the ads and now I wonder if individuals stations like WDAM and WLOX will do likewise or at least offer Justice Diaz equal time free of charge to debunk the slanderous ads (from which they profited) designed to benefit Diaz’s opponent Bubba Pierce.

Speaking of Mr Pierce he has adopted an ostrich strategy saying that he can’t comment on an ad he hasn’t seen nor does he have the time to research the cases. Not that this information has not been put out as Anita Lee and now Jerry Mitchell have publiiczed how the ad is misleading. I guess the word of former Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks isn’t good enough for Bubba either.

It is telling how quickly Mr Pierce hopped into bed with these out of state special interest groups that don’t have the sack to conduct their business above board in the light of day. It reminds me of the Cockroach Theory, which states that if you see one cockroach in your house, you have to assume there a many more lurking unseen. Here is the latest list of doctors and big business executives behind Bubba (not counting the out of state shadow groups like LEAA) including lots of out of district contributions from Jackson area Docs that want to insure that malpractice continues going  unpunished in Mississippi.

Now for some excerpts from today’s Clarion Ledger story:

A judicial elections committee on Wednesday condemned a misleading television advertisement that claims state Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. “voted for” two baby killers and the man executed for beating a woman to death.

The truth is Diaz, who is seeking re-election, wasn’t on the court when one case was heard. In a second, he voted for a hearing on DNA testing, not against conviction. And in a third, he joined then-Chief Justice Ed Pittman in concluding that trial errors required a new trial.

Comcast is now pulling the commercial, which the Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention found violates the Code of Judicial Conduct.

A third party — The Law Enforcement Alliance of America of Springfield, Va. — sponsored the ad and didn’t return calls for comment.

In a statement, the judicial committee said it “condemns these ads as they urge a biased rather than an impartial court system.

“These ads … urge a course of action which is not in keeping with the duty of a justice of the Supreme Court to decide the legal issues on an impartial basis. A judge is sworn to uphold the law and adjudicate cases in accordance with law, and not ignore the law based upon the popularity or infamy of those who appear before the court or the heinousness of the crime of which they are accused.”

The committee also criticized newspaper advertisements listed on the ads as being taken out by the Mississippians for Economic Progress because they single out “trial lawyers” — a common reference to attorneys who represent plaintiffs in litigation for damages.

“It is the view of the Special Committee that this material is inappropriate to judicial elections in that it urges partiality rather than impartiality in the judicial function,” the committee said. “Accordingly, the use of material which speaks of ‘trial lawyers’ pejoratively and which seeks to impact the election of judges is condemned.”……………

The state Supreme Court created the five-member committee, headed by former Justice Fred Banks Jr., in 2002 to investigate allegations of campaign misconduct…….

Marty Wiseman, director of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, said what this LEAA ad and others like it hope to do is, “if they can throw enough mud, maybe some of it will stick. I think we’re in for a long era of nastiness, if we’re not in it already.”

The third-party involvement began in 2000 when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched attack ads against Diaz and other justices in an attempt to sway that election.

The television ad by LEAA claims Diaz voted for Jeffrey Keith Havard, whose conviction for the killing of 6-month-old Chloe Britt was upheld. Instead, Diaz voted for a hearing on DNA testing.

“You want to make sure the right criminal is off the street,” Diaz said. “It doesn’t help anybody if there’s been a travesty of justice and some murderer or rapist is still out on the street.”

Diaz voted to uphold the conviction and death sentence of Earl Wesley Berry, who was executed May 21 for kidnapping Mary Bounds from a church parking lot in 1987 and beating her to death. He had voted for a delay while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Diaz wasn’t on the high court when other justices voted in 1997 to reverse the conviction of Bryan Kohlberg, who killed 22-month-old Madison Watson.

Unfortunately, he said, some members of the public may look at the job of a justice on the state Supreme Court as much like the judges they see on television shows like Boston Legal.

“At the appellate level, we simply review cases to make sure a fair trial was had by all,” he said. “It’s an after-the-fact review.”

In a response advertisement, Diaz has labeled each of the claims in the LEAA ad as a “lie,” saying the out-of-state group is “attempting to purchase a seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court. … Join me and vote against these groups and their hand-picked candidate.”

Diaz said it’s “disheartening” his opponent, Chancery Judge Bubba Pierce, has “refused to renounce the ads.”

But Pierce responded he can’t renounce an ad or say it’s “misleading” when he hasn’t even seen it all.

Even if he had seen the entire ad, he said he simply doesn’t have the time to fully research the cases to find out if the ad is true or not. He said he hasn’t said anything negative about Diaz and won’t……..

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