I read recently that a man in California who had pled guilty to a similar charge in one of these “dishonest services” cases had his guilty plea thrown out by a federal judge who concluded that his “little white lie” was not relevant to the success of the investigation therefore, he was not guilty of “obstructing” it. Maybe someday someone will look at DeLaughter’s deal. If the Feds had no intention of bringing bribery/conspiracy charges against Ed Peters (which was apparently the case) how could DeLaughter’s “lie” regarding the number of times Peters contacted him been relevant to their investigation? (DeLaughter’s discrepancy was not about WHETHER Peters had contacted him but rather, how many times.). If the purpose of their investigation was to prove bribery/conspiracy by Scruggs/Peters, they’d only need to prove that Peters approached DeLaughter ONCE It would not matter if he actually contacted him DOZENS of times or only ” the couple” that DeLaughter acknowledged.
Bobby DeLaughter, who as a prosecutor and judge put thousands of people behind bars, is expected to report to prison Monday.“It’s tragic for him, tragic for his family and tragic for our state,” said Matt Steffey, professor at Mississippi College School of Law. On July 30, DeLaughter stepped down as a Hinds County circuit judge and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a corruption investigation involving multimillionaire and former lawyer Dickie Scruggs.He had requested to serve his 18-month sentence in federal prison in Pensacola or Montgomery so his wife, Peggy, could visit, but the Bureau of Prisons decided he would serve his time more than 600 miles away at the federal prison in McCreary, Ky.
DeLaughter admitted he lied to FBI agents when he said he had two conversations with Peters about a pending lawsuit against Scruggs, now serving seven years in prison on corruption charges. Prosecutors said DeLaughter actually had dozens of conversations about the lawsuit with Peters, who was working for Scruggs. Peters had been hired by the Scruggs team to influence DeLaughter and eventually was paid $1 million, according to prosecutors.Peters, who has surrendered his law license, will serve no time because he received immunity in exchange for his cooperation, and authorities say he has returned what remained of the $1 million…
DeLaughter and his family are now seeking to sell their restored Civil War-era house named Hiawatha. The three-bedroom, three-bath home in historic Raymond is listed for $500,000.He will spend the rest of 2010 behind bars, but by the the next holiday season, he could be in a halfway house in the Jackson area…
Under disciplinary rules, he, Scruggs and others convicted will never be able to regain their law licenses.
Since 2002, lawyers convicted of most crimes may reapply for their law licenses after three years. But licenses can never be reattained if the crime “involves interference with the administration of justice, false swearing, misrepresentation, fraud, deceit, bribery, extortion, misappropriation, theft, the sale or distribution of a controlled substance, or an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation of another to commit such a crime.”
Steffey said he foresees DeLaughter working for a law firm as a jury consultant, strategist, arbitrator, mediator or the like. He also can foresee the former judge and prosecutor possibly writing a book on his experiences. DeLaughter’s first book was Never Too Late: A Prosecutor’s Story of Justice in the Medgar Evers Case.
All in all, today is a good day to remember One man’s convicted felon is another’s father, son.