Is there a doctor in the court? Patterson

…if this Court does find Wilson’s Amended Complaint deficient in any respect Wilson respectfully prays that he be given opportunity to amend his complaint to cure whatsoever deficiencies the Court might find.

While team Wilson was praying Judge Hittner would prescribe a cure, Defendant Steve Patterson’s attorney, Hiram Eastland, filed a Rebuttal declaring the deficiencies fatal.

Plaintiff’s opposition fails to resolve any of the shortcomings addressed in Mr.Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss. From denying the existence of a heightened pleading standard for fraud, to reiterating the same legally insufficient factual allegations, Wilson can point to nothing that would save his complaint from dismissal.

After finding there was “nothing that would save” Wilson’s complaint, Eastland eviscerated Wilson’s Opposition to Patterson’s Motion for Dismissal.

Plaintiff has failed to shed any new light on his Amended Complaint that would allow it to endure against Mr. Patterson. All of the fatal flaws that are reiterated in this reply exist for a reason: this is simply not a RICO case.

Eastland’s arguments, while specific to Patterson, have implications for other defendants and/or other litigation,, particularly those where the distinction between unethical and unlawful conduct has been blurred : Continue reading “Is there a doctor in the court? Patterson”

Biggers gives Wilson’s wheel of fortune another spin – Recusal puts hot potato in rotation

Who was “It” when Wilson v Scruggs became a game of hot potato? US Attorney Jim Greenlee?

It is clear that the Plaintiffs’ have filed this Motion in an attempt to circumvent the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery. As a preliminary matter, Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(l) prohibits a party from seeking discovery “from any source before the parties have conferred as required by Rule 26(f), except … when authorized by [the] rules, by stipulation, or by court order.”

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(I). The Rule 16.1 (A) Initial Order entered in this matter (Docket Number 53) reflects a Case Management Conference date of September 29, 2009, with an attorney conference of twenty-one (21) days prior. Because that Rule 26(t) Attorney Conference has not yet occurred, Plaintiffs are precluded from seeking discovery from any source at this juncture.

Not Greenlee.  The USA’s Special Appearance and Response to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preservation and Retention of Documents makes it clear the USA does not want to play.

Maybe the Scruggs Defendants?

The Scruggs Defendants further object to the production of these documents to Continue reading “Biggers gives Wilson’s wheel of fortune another spin – Recusal puts hot potato in rotation”

Constructive Trust oxymoron in Wilson v Scruggs as Eastland dismantles RICO claim

oxymoron [oksee maw ron] expression with contradictory words; a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect

First, there was the vision of Roberts Wilson and his attorney Charles Merkel sitting ringside when Dick Scruggs is in court reminding me of my overly eager former mother-in-law —  although, to her credit, a trip to Piccadilly would satisfy her desire for a free lunch.  A vision of constructive trust that is not.

Then, there is the matter of mind-boggling dispute reported last week in the Clarion Ledger creating a vision of  “granny Bobs” and “nanny” Merkel each with purse in hand.  A vision of constructive trust that is not:

The federal government that prosecuted multimillionaire Dickie Scruggs and a former law partner who says he’s owed millions are battling over money paid to sway a judge in Scruggs’ favor.

Defendant Steve Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss, filed by Greenwood attorney Hiram Eastland,, thoroughly dismantles Wilson’s RICO case.  Any vision Wilson had of RICO pouring Scruggs’ money in his purse and Merkel’s had to have been, instead, a hallucination.

A vision of “constructive trust”  that is not: Continue reading “Constructive Trust oxymoron in Wilson v Scruggs as Eastland dismantles RICO claim”

Tower of Babble – USA v Delaughter and Wilson v Scruggs

60017055With a little more than a month away from Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter’s corruption trial, the U.S. attorney’s office is bringing in witnesses imprisoned for their roles in attempting to bribe a different judge…Records from the Bureau of Prisons show Timothy Balducci has been moved from his prison in South Carolina to a transfer facility in Oklahoma…Balducci was the one who tipped off the FBI to the DeLaughter case.

So, Balducci tipped off the FBI a high stakes game of Let’s Make a Deal and the Minor bribe he offered Judge Lackey stays behind door #2!

The obviously clairvoyant Langston pleads guilty, claims he has all the answers, changes the game to Jeopardy and the Tower of Babble begins to build.  Patterson makes three to plea – but he’s no game changer and doesn’t seem to be much of a player – so, he just babbles.

Two P’s in a pod? Not. But, Peters comes next and pays to play.  The game changes to Charades.  Scruggs appears guilty of attempted flattery but pleads to mailing the Court the paperwork required for Langston and Balducci to make an appearance.  The Tower of Babble with Delaughter not and Witness accounts seem to conflict.

Through his lawyers, Scruggs seemed to discount the prosecution’s case in their response to Wilson last week in the civil action: “Wilson assumes that Scruggs corruptly influenced Judge DeLaughter in his rulings. Scruggs has pleaded guilty to attempting to corruptly influence Judge DeLaughter in his rulings, but Wilson has presented nothing to connect this attempt with actual influence or to any such influence with any harm to Wilson.”

What if Ed Peters falls apart on the stand? This question has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now. Absent a smoking gun email, doesn’t the Government’s entire case rest on the word of Ed Peters? After all, neither Scruggs, nor Joey Langston, nor Balducci, nor Patterson can testify to having a conversation with DeLaughter. What if Peters does not? Similar pro-Scruggs sentiments came out early on Tim Balducci (as he was the only one with contact with Lackey – by design, I might add).

Horrors! What if people have to look at the evidence? Continue reading “Tower of Babble – USA v Delaughter and Wilson v Scruggs”

duck, duck, goose – Balducci taps Delaughter

Balducci, who was questioned as part of the unrelated Eaton v. Frisby lawsuit, is expected to testify against DeLaughter, who goes on trial Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court in Oxford on corruption charges. DeLaughter has insisted he is innocent, following the law in his rulings.

The sweet potato king is back in the news – exactly how seems to be the question:

Contacted for comment about the deposition, DeLaughter’s attorney, Thomas Durkin of Chicago, remarked, “I find it very curious how a sealed document ended up in the hands of the press, and it’s more proof to me that money is the root of all evil. People will do a lot of things and say a lot of things to protect their money. Someone is obviously attempting to poison the jury venire.”

Even more curious than a sealed document ending up in the hands of the press is the difference between the babbling Balducci in the recorded conversations of Scruggs I and the standard-English speaking witness he became as a witness.

And, then, there’s the matter of the Motion to Dismiss the Indictment for Government Misconduct Occurring Before the Grand Jury. Continue reading “duck, duck, goose – Balducci taps Delaughter”

I tawt I taw a puddy tat – but there’s nobody here but Joey Langston

Judge Bobby DeLaughter’s devolution into USA v DeLaughter began when Joey Langston punched his ticket to the best plea agreement ever by confessing to the crime of bribery-by-flattery of Judge Delaughter.

SLABBED reported on the benefit of Langston plea agreement when two of his alleged co-flatters reported to prison for their role in USA v Scruggs.

Langston was sentenced last December for a Jan. 15 report, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office got Judge Michael Mills to delay his imprisonment until March 16 so he could continue helping with some investigations. However, prosecutors apparently renewed their request, sources say, and asked the court to postpone Langston’s report a few more weeks to keep him close as he apparently continues to cooperate with their investigations into the DeLaughter case and perhaps others.

However, that post was written on March 23 and it also reported the absence of the standard Letter to Report in Langston’s case docket – notable because he should have reported seven days earlier on the 16th and, according to information on the docket tonight, he reported on the 16th of April – and that’s Loony Tunes because a few weeks ago the BOP inmate locator showed him in transit.

It’s also Loony Tunes that there was a Motion to postpone his reporting but no Order when the Daily Journal checked on the afternoon of the 16th of March or when I sylvester2checked checked the 23rd; but, it’s on there now and dated the 11th of March with a note that the entries for both the Motion and the Order were modified on the 30th of March with no indication of how – and that’s when it struck me that Langston was popping up like Sylvester,  the Loony Tunes cat.

Sufferin’ succotash, Continue reading “I tawt I taw a puddy tat – but there’s nobody here but Joey Langston”

The Daily Slab – March 25 (Updated)

Check out the comments reader Steve has added to  A bit more on $enator Chri$ Dodd’$ ties to offshore reinsurers as we follow the $$$$$$$$.  Fascinating information and incredible research – Sop and I shout out a big Thank You.

Several news items with updates on topics we’ve covered were posted during the day yesterday and are linked below in no particular order:

Any other time, one or more of these items would have be the subject of a post – and maybe will be one day; but, for now, we’re just keeping readers up to date on current news and reporting  breaking news in posts.  As David Rossmiller said so well, “Work is the curse of the blogging class”.

of loose lips and sinking ships – and Balducci’s “extraordinary cooperation”

Talented reporter Alyssa Schnugg has often compensated for the delayed reporting of the afternoon publishing schedule of the Oxford Eagle with a more complete story than the morning papers.  Unfortunately, her story of the sentencing of Tim Balducci stops short of an explanation for Balducci’s “immediate cooperation” and fails to question what “wrong” he is attempting to “right”.

Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson both appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Neal B. Biggers this morning at the Federal Courthouse in Oxford.

Both men pleaded guilty a year ago to a charge of conspiring with Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, his son and attorney Zach Scruggs and his law partner Sidney Backstrom to bribe Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey with $40,000 for a favorable ruling in a lawsuit against the elder Scruggs involving legal fees in Hurricane Katrina related litigation.

During Balducci’s sentencing hearing, U.S. Assistant Attorney Bob Norman told the judge that his department had never seen such “complete cooperation” from another defendant…“His cooperation was immediate,” Norman said. “He’s doing the best he knows how to do to right the wrong he has done.”

What Paul Harvey would introduce as ” the rest of the story” comes from the unlikely source of Rossmiller’s Blog in addition to other transcripts of recorded conversations and court proceedings in USA v Scruggs. Continue reading “of loose lips and sinking ships – and Balducci’s “extraordinary cooperation””

Mississippi’s just us justice – final

Patsy Brumfield of the Journal reports on today’s events in the just-us-justice system of Mississippi.

Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson will do prison time, despite their cooperation into the infamous conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City.

Their sentences were set today by Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. today at the federal courthouse in Oxford.

• Balducci, formerly of New Albany, will serve 24 months in prison. Balducci was given no fine, because records showed he could not pay one.

• Patterson of New Albany will serve 24 months in prison. Patterson was also given a $150,000 fine.

Justice or just-us-justice?  It’s really hard for me to say –  not for lack of thought or thought-provoking comment from others here on the blog and off-blog as well.  However, there often is a difference between justice as commonly defined and the sometimes just-us-justice here – a difference that is one of the many that make Mississippi the “State of Paradox”.

We’ve birthed the blue; performed the first successful heart transplant: and, bottled the firt coca-cola – but even considering USA v Scruggs and all its implications, we are better people in a better place with a better legal system than that of our past. Some would disagree but none could argue the point with fact.

Lack of fact has never been a barrier for the low-literate but language-rich story-telling population of the “State of Paradox”.   Here, the direct descendants of the first Mr. Right (fn:Always) and his Mrs. (nee Promise you-won’t-tell-another-living-soul But) have informed and entertained  for generations. In doing so, these story-tellers have defined and devined how the outside world views Mississippi and distorted the outside world to those here.

Just-us-justice established the practice of  selective disgrace during a period in the history of the “State of Paradox” when it was not disgraceful for one man to own another – just doing business. As the then wealth of the State evolved into generational poverty, people began to trade on favor – a transaction that makes one man’s word another man’s bondage with the ever present threat of public disgrace from a legal flogging. Continue reading “Mississippi’s just us justice – final”

Just the pleas, please – Scruggs, Scruggs, Balducci, Patterson, Langston

Judging by what I’ve read today, with at least one additional indictment expected this week, there is confusion about the exposure those with plea agreements in USA v Scruggs have to “other charges” following the recent plea of Dick Scruggs.

The Plea Agreements of  Zach Scruggs, Tim Balducci, and Steve Patterson contain terms that specifically address the possibility of other charges with similar, if not identical, language:

OTHER CHARGES: The United States agrees not to charge the defendant with any other offenses arising from or related to the charges in the indictment.

Only the Plea Agreement of Dick Scruggs did not contain this exclusion; but, reportedly, Scruggs entered his plea this week under a Plea Agreement that excludes other charges from any testimony he gives on a case.  It should also be noted that, while his name has not been mentioned in conjunction with the attempt to influence Judge DeLaughter,  Sid Backstrom’s Plea Agreement contained language on “other charges” similar to that found in the agreements of Zach Scruggs, Balducci and Patterson.

Joey Langston however, managed to come up with what one might call “a sweetheart of a deal” in his Plea Agreement:

OTHER CHARGES: The United States agrees not to charge the defendant with any other offenses, related or unrelated, as of the date of this Agreement.

Because it seems appropriate, I’ll add that there are many in Hinds County who hold Judge Delaughter in high regard similar to that reserved for Judge Lackey in Lafayette County.