“And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!”
Just a few months after finally reaching a settlement with Dickie Scruggs in a lawsuit stretching back 15 years, attorney William Roberts Wilson has moved into the office space that once housed his nemesis’ law firm on Oxford’s Square.
“Ever since watching ‘Intruder in the Dust,’ I’ve wanted an office on the Square,” Wilson said. He had previously worked out of Tuscaloosa, but he said that, after a decade and a half of financial issues, he could afford to make the move.
Faulker’s Intruder in the Dust may have inspired Wilson. However, it is the similarity of Wilson’s story to what one source called the “social hyporocrisy” and “irresistible comedy” of Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper that comes to mind.
“Social hypocrisy” and “irresistible comedy” are so common on the Square that Wilson – a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows attempting to assume the role of the King of Torts – should feel right at home.
The government made his move even more affordable today when it settled Wilson’s claim Continue reading “Wilson v Scruggs and the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows”
Prosecutors wield tremendous power, which is kept in check by a set of unique ethical obligations. In explaining why prosecutors sometimes fail to honor these multiple and arguably divergent obligations, scholars tend to fall into two schools of thought.
The first school focuses upon institutional incentives that promote abuses of power. These scholars implicitly treat the prosecutor as a rational actor who decides whether to comply with a rule based on an assessment of the expected costs and benefits of doing so.
The second school focuses upon bounded human rationality, drawing on the teachings of cognitive science to argue that prosecutors transgress not because of sinister motives, but because they labor under the same cognitive limitations that all humans do.
… Research on the psychological effects of accountability demonstrates that when people are judged primarily for their ability to persuade others of their position, they are susceptible to defensive bolstering at the expense of objectivity.
With these thoughts from A Situationist View of Criminal Prosecutors in mind, we turn to The Situation of False Confessions: Continue reading “Why do people confess to crimes they didn’t commit? (a repost from SLABBED archives)”
Given his history as former chief counsel to former Senator Trent Lott, others may not consider Jackson attorney Steve Seale a white knight for taking issue with King of Torts author and former AUSA Tom Dawson at the monthly meeting meeting of the Capitol Press Corps. However, before Mr. Seale went to Washington, he was a member of the Mississippi State Senate who earned white knight status for the strength of character he regularly demonstrated in discussions of difficult issues. Given that history, Mr. Seale’s remarks are worthy of more consideration than the clarification published yesterday:
As Magnolia Marketplace reported here, Seale had some pretty strong words for Dawson, who was the lead prosecutor in the judicial bribery cases that led to Dickie Scruggs being hauled off to prison.
Anyway, Seale was a little upset because I didn’t talk to him afterward to get a completely clear picture of what he meant before I posted the original entry. Fair enough.
So after a 15-minute phone conversation with Seale, here’s what we know:
Seale said he has no problem with Dawson writing a book about the Scruggs cases per se. The issue is Dawson profiting from work he performed while he was a federal prosecutor. (Dawson has since retired from the post.)
“I think a prosecutor should be held to a higher standard,” Seale said. Continue reading “White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort”
The Daily Journal’s Patsy Brumfield has been at the top of her game of late and now she’s looking for Tim Balducci
Timothy Balducci, who turned informant in the Scruggs I judicial bribery case, apparently isn’t in U.S. Bureau of Prisons custody any more.
What that means, I don’t know, but he’s not scheduled to get out of prison until December 2010… Continue reading “Patsy Brumfield – Anybody seen Tim Balducci?UPDATED”
In Too many connections for lawsuit against Scruggs et al, a post to her blog published by the Daily Journal, Patsy Brumfield touches on a subject that has needed discussion since the indictment of Scruggs et al back in 2007:
Have you ever expressed your awe for how things just get “connected” in Mississippi?
Like, you find out your Mama is the governor’s second cousin or your former hometown baby-sitter is living down the street? Or you run into the mayor of Lucedale as you ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument? (That really happened to me.)
You know what I’m talking about.
Some know what Patsy’s talking about because they recall the motion filed by Scruggs, Scruggs and Backstrom for a change of venue:
Prominent members of the Northern Mississippi legal community, knowing full well the risks of prejudicing a venire in small-town Mississippi, have nonetheless piled on in condemnatory public statements about Scruggs. Clarksdale attorney Charlie Merkel told one reporter about the indictment: “I’m not surprised, because [Scruggs is] willing to use any means to an end. And it irks the hell out of me when Scruggs skates on the edge and makes the profession look bad.” Elsewhere, Merkel called Scruggs’s alleged acts “despicable.” Grady Tollison, who represented Johnny Jones in the fee-dispute before Judge Lackey, alleged that Scruggs has “had a consistent pattern of violating his fiduciary duties to partners in these legal ventures.” Another lawyer for Jones, Roy Percy went even further, declaring of Defendants in their hometown Oxford Eagle: “They should be ashamed to the deepest core. My clients are ashamed they were once associated with them…
Patsy did not have the local bar “connections” in mind when she wrote about the connections that appeared to force the Fifth Circuit to go to Texas to get a judge for the latest installment of legal cases against former Oxford mega-lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and co-horts: Continue reading “Patsy Brumfield scratches the surface in Too many connections for lawsuit against Scruggs et al…”
This interesting bit of well-duh news comes from the National Law Journal via How Appealing – a blog linked by Will Bardwell on the all-grown-up version of his blog (gosh I miss Elvis).
Under fire for its handling of the criminal case against former Sen. Ted Stevens, the Justice Department last week outlined a plan to ensure prosecutors play by the rules when dealing with evidence. But some criminal defense lawyers and judges say the reforms don’t go far enough.
On Oct. 13, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer traveled to Seattle to address of panel of lawyers and judges who are considering a change to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that would place more stringent requirements on prosecutors to disclose case information to defense lawyers.
Breuer pitched what he called a “comprehensive approach” to reform — a plan that includes mandatory annual discovery training for all prosecutors and the creation of a new position at Main Justice that will focus on discovery issues. Breuer also said the Justice Department would agree to put existing case law and federal statutes involving information sharing into one rule in the criminal procedure books — making the rule a one-stop shop for disclosure obligations.
But Breuer said the department would fight any effort to require prosecutors to turn over all favorable information to the defense.
The idea of having federal prosecutors throw you a surprise party in court has absolutely no relationship to the concept of justice. Mr. Breuer doesn’t seem to get that point or several others.
He also played down criticism that prosecutor misconduct is widespread, saying there’s no evidence of that. Continue reading “Justice Department plan – ensure prosecutors play by rules with evidence”
One by one the straw men, so carefully constructed, come tumbling down. Simple politics Sid, alway was, always will be……
So who will be first? Which account will be accurate? Watching from afar having fully debriefed several on the inside all I can say is what’s coming has some “fun” potential. Nowdy maybe we should write a book. 😉
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 checked 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”
First, a big SLABBED welcome to Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story and an equally big thank you for including a transcript of Paul Minor’s Appeal in her post on the story.
Had the transcripts not been available, I would have been left to puzzle over the concept of subject matter jurisdiction: The power of a court to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong; and, 18USC.666: Theft or bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds.
The panel of Fifth Circuit judges hearing Paul Minor’s Appeal, however, came to my rescue with a really interesting discussion of the issues. In doing so, they not only helped this non-lawyer understand one of the controversial aspects of Minor’s case, but one that is also a factor in USA v DeLaughter and was in USA v Scruggs as well.
In his Motion for Bill of Particulars, Judge DeLaughter asked the USA to:
- Identify with specificity the particular “state and local government” entity of which Judge DeLaughter is alleged to be an agent.
- Identify with specificity the “government and judicial agency” that allegedly “received in a one-year period benefits in excess of $10,000 under a federal program…”
Although the question of quid pro quo was the primary focus of DeLaughter’s Motion to Inspect Grand Jury Minutes, the underlying issue of there incorporates concerns about “666” – the shorthand reference to this section of the Code. Continue reading “5th Circuit Panel questions federal jurisdiction in USA v Minor”
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”.