Deprivation of Civil Rights under the Color of Law: A Primer for Bay St Louis City Officials Part 1 (Updated)

Word got out fast about yesterday’s Municipal Court proceedings, in particular the case of local businessman Jeff Harding, who was recently expelled from a City Council meeting for alleged shooting the bird at Council President Bobby Compretta and ticketed for disturbing the peace. Yesterday, municipal court Judge Steve Maggio sentenced Harding to 180 days jail with 150 days suspended, 24 months supervised probation, plus a prohibition against entering any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages, abstention from the use of alcoholic beverages, a $500 fine and $200 per month to ASAP.

There is only one problem with this prosecution and one that could create a bill that the taxpayers of Bay St Louis could well end up footing in the denial of Mr. Harding’s right to political expression. I know a few things about this topic and I did not have to look hard to find some links:

Is It Legal to Flip Off a Cop? ~ Avvo Naked Law

Court: Flipping the bird at a cop doesn’t warrant arrest ~ NBC News

A New York man arrested after he gave the finger to a police officer can sue police for malicious prosecution, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, overturning a lower-court decision that deemed the officer’s response reasonable.

In its decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that giving someone the finger is an “ancient gesture of insult” and “is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

This latest bit of jackassery from our local elected officials is certain to dominate the news. These fails would not sting quite so badly if they weren’t all self-inflicted. Stay tuned.


I contacted Mayor Fillingame, City Attorney Rafferty and every member of the City Council for comment regarding yesterday’s municipal court proceedings against Jeff Harding. As of 10:55AM I have only heard back from Councilman Boudin, who sent the following comment:

I didn’t see anything done that hasn’t been done by others many times. I agree with you, using the middle finger is not illegal. I don’t understand it.

I’ll continue to update this post with other responses.

Second Update:

I received a response from Councilman Lonnie Falgout which indicates the deep divide that exists here in the Bay:

[I]f your name is Boudin, Falgout , Favre, Ward, Genin, Noonan, Garcia, Kergosien, Crawford, Handshoe and an auditor named Bell and you expect answers, documents or transparency, you be dumb, the enemy, the trouble maker and the criminal we want to prosecute.

I have received no other responses.

30 thoughts on “Deprivation of Civil Rights under the Color of Law: A Primer for Bay St Louis City Officials Part 1 (Updated)”

  1. Umm…..

    How is this absolute mockery of “justice” good for the City of Bay St. Louis and its citizens?

    What an embarrassment. Is Judge Maggio carrying on the family tradition of making questionable decisions as a judicator of justice? Or are his “bosses” telling him what to do? Either way, this entire situation is unfathomable. The guy that shot six times into a crowd on Beach Blvd., gets a $20k bond (out of jail in less than a day) from the same judge that handed down this “punishment” Jeff? Who is the real menace to society?


  2. Is the 24 months probation just a coincidental number or does it have any relation to how long the current administration has left in office?
    Get the Febreeze. This stinks!

  3. What an overreach.

    This won’t end well.

    For some reason Judge Steve Maggio decided to jump head first into an empty pool. He may well join defrocked Judge Mike Maggio as the subject of internet clickbait.

    Almost enough to make one wonder if he has any skeletons in his closet like Mike did? That really one really turned into a total debacle. The nursing home lawsuit and campaign contribution scandal were revealed by just a few indiscreet comments.

    Slabbed readers seem to like old pictures of newsmakers. So do I. Internet researchers new to Slabbed should check this one out.

    1. The crickets are chirping at City Hall. As luck would have it I have an audio copy of the entire April 28, 2015 special meeting of the City Council including the part where Councilman Compretta threw Jeff Harding out of the meeting.

      I’m not much using the middle finger at public meetings and the Council certainly has a right conduct the public’s business with decorum but the remedy is to throw the offender out of the meeting, not a criminal prosecution.

      When City officials become so drunk with power they use apparatus of law enforcement to settle personal scores and indulge political vendettas crosses a major line.

  4. What is it going to take to throw these bums out of Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties?? Where have they come from??? What is their purpose here?? Whose “boys” are they? When did the aliens land??
    I don’t understand the actions of these upper management officials who are using and abusing their power and mistreating the very people that they are sworn to represent!
    Does this gentleman know that he threw one of his constituents in jail for something negligible?? Who does he think he is? Who does he think he works for?
    I think it is time for these punks to get a rude awakening and all be thrown out on their ear. The elections can’t get here soon enough to suit me. They all act like they have contracted some kind of disease like rabid dogs.

  5. How unfair to impose such a sentence on any individual for such minor actions. While what he did may not have been well thought out, Jeff should not have received the punishment the court ruled against him. This man has a business and invested in the city with his new building.

    So now he can not go into any restaurant to eat because of Les? This is harassment and I understand he as done the same to another business owner in Bay St. Louis that brings in many dollars in sales tax from his establishment.
    I am so tired of the attitude that Les has taken. We live in America. Not a dictatorship. He needs to quit acting like a Hitler!
    This will all come back to haunt him.
    I hope the citizens of Bay St. Louis remember his actions come election day!! He has to be stopped.
    Do we all have to walk on egg shells in Bay St Louis because of the Dictator we have as mayor??

  6. It is not just Les. It is Bobby as well as the rest of the Council. Not a one of them spoke out against this when it happened.ihope they will rethink this and realize what a stretch this is in light of what really happened.

  7. Oh, you mean Bobby the Puppet? What if this would have happened when he was at Winn Dixie would he have done the same to a shopper?
    Who do these people think they are?
    Maybe what he did was ugly, but I also understand Mr. Compretta edged him on. Will he also be disciplined?
    Mr. Harding will have this on his record now for life. How stupid of this court system and City of Bay St Louis.
    Shame on our leaders in Bay St. Louis.
    It almost makes someone scared to go to the Bay in fear of being arrested for frivolous actions. I won’t be going for a while. I think there should be a boycott to show the city they can’t run this like a dictatorship. The people need to make a point !!

  8. It has been said time and again. Rafferty makes policy, enforces policy and prosecutes policy by a hand picked Judge Puppet. The Mayor just incentivized the Judge with pay raises and benefits. Now he controls another person with tax payer dollars
    to benefit him and raff and a few council supporters certainly not the Citizens. Jeezum Petes! How did the Council let it get to this. People are doing what patriots do and the First Amendment allows…..Question Government without fear of retaliation!

  9. Looks like you have nailed it, Lying Les.
    You know the Bay takes pride in its history; always sponsoring events to commemorate different things in the city’s history. Nice idea and it attracts people to visit the city.
    But I was just thinking what would those they are remembering centuries past think of the way they are “doing business” now?!

    1. A few years ago Jim Thriffley reminded me that during his first term in office Mayor Bennett had him arrested. Some of these bad habits literally go back decades.

    2. They are celebrating our legal history at Pirates Day. The mayor is going to name the guilty and like the modern day Les B I (Les Bureau of Investigation) is going to arrest them! HAHAHA You just got to laugh at them at some point and vote!

  10. Now that is pretty bad having a Councilman arrested.!! lol
    What was it for and was he convicted?

  11. The City Counselor is a bully who represents, for the most part, thugs, thieves and murderers on a daily basis. Most municipalities contract to Business / Corporate and Realestate attorney’s. If you think about it Les may need Rafferty? He wasn’t hired for his great qualities but to help keep the City in the legal rough and not err on the side of caution but deception.

  12. It all will play out in circuit court, have no fear my team of lawyers are here!!! Wow I just got a call from Jackson asking questions. Can you say whistle blower? Please file any complaints you may have with the proper folks, Ethics board, Attorney Generals office or the Auditors office. I am a lightning rod and will get struck more than once. I will say quite the coincidence that the friday before this happened Bobby received info about an ethics complaint I filed against him. Think I’m going to go to the Mississippi bar association and ask some questions as well.
    Thank you for all your support, texts, emails etc…. I have thick skin, fold your first, third and fourth finger all you have left is 1, and thats your 1st amendment right, freedom of speech!!!!!!! You loose that and you should bend over and kiss your @$$ goodbye!

  13. So So Sad that this person has so much rage and vendetta in him. Is this the person we want to keep running the city?

    Our wonderful town is now a dictatorship.
    Can we start a petition to have him removed from office? Isn’t there something we can do Doug????? He definitely needs to be stopped NOW…

    Hang in there Jeff !!

  14. Wake up !!
    Headlines in Sun Herald.. We can carry guns, Not Illegal but lets not make any hand gestures !!!

  15. How much jail time would one get if you turned your back and presented your rears ? A year , maybe two?

    This is why the fathers of our local and Federal Constitutions established Appeal Courts to present a cure for an upset stomach due to home cooked injustice by local politico chef Judges.A good long legal belch and large fart and Harding will be a new man yet the Council and Judge Maggio may suffer political death at the polls.

  16. Lockemuptight,
    There are no polls for Maggio. He is appointed by Mayor and Council. Gotta get them voted out and new officials can relieve Maggio of his “duties.”

    1. Lana:

      So the Mayor appointed da’ judge and da’ judge bees the Mayor’s ” special man”/private political Pontius Pilate. Yikes- Hmmmmm

      And so here “comes da’ judge” cooking up home cooked prosecution meals for anyone hungry for truth and justice…Jeff Harding was served a bountiful meal but just needs some frozen ground meat delivered from da’ Appeals Court while da’ Executive Mayor and his personal pseudo-Judicial branch need to become ground meat by voters.

      I see why Mississippi is rated No. 1 in political corruption and La. is not even a close No. 2.

  17. If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent
    we may be led, like sheep to slaughter.

  18. Every appointment comes with expectations from the Mayor.
    He has too much power, we need to change that and start making more positions elected so favors may slow down..
    The people need to focus on how the city should be run and get the vote out to let these politicians know their control will be taken from them.
    All Dictatorships MUST end.. This is America !!

  19. I agree with you, outraged, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
    Just some leadership from City Hall wou alleviate a lot of this among other things.
    Won’t happen any time soon.

  20. It is my understanding that this is getting state and national attention. Much sacrafice in the past has been had to preserve our first ammendment rights. We cannot let 2 thugs with power continue to run roughshod over the people. They disregard the council and by proxy tell us to go to hell. We have to get wendy, doug, bobby out! They care little and know les!

  21. Harding’s case is getting attention because he has the ability to defend himself as in $$$$. You should go to those meetings and hear these citizens who don’t and how they are so frustrated with the administration and lack of representation from the council they elected.

  22. I thought with the last election and getting new representation on the council would help. The new members have been a disappointment as well.

    Good citizens of the Bay need to pay close attention to what is happening. Unfortunately the local media has not informed us on what is really happening at City Hall.
    Thank you Doug for keeping us in the loop, because the Echo is NOT.

  23. Records of accomplishment are broken all the time, even when it appears impossible.
    Hank Aaron
    Terry Bradshaw
    Babe Ruth
    Bob Hayes
    Jim Thorpe
    OJ Simpson
    The list goes on, but the Biggest record broken was when Tommy Longo was thought to be as bad of a mayor as anyone could get…………….Along comes Les Filingame……It does happen! The big question is………..will his ego allow him to run again after all his debacles?
    As an old friend of mine once said…..”Time will tell, sh!t will smell and water seeks it’s own level!” I smell it.

  24. Having been in a professional setting with mr. Maggio, he is extremely vulgar and inappropriate. Funny he would deliver such a harsh sentence for mannerisms which I would consider “mild” to Mr. Maggios standards. Pot calling the kettle black

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