Sex, Earwigging and Rock and Roll: Local Businessman files salacious civil right suits against a bevy of local public officials

About a week ago Stacey Cato had a story for the Sea Coast Echo detailing a Federal lawsuit against Hancock County Justice Court Judge Jay Lagasse that I though was one for the ages. It has a little bit of everything from a nasty divorce involving a relative of Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson, who attempted to ear wig Chancellor Carter Bice on behalf of the young lady and allegations of sexual misconduct involving former Gulfport City Prosecutor Richard Smith and the Sheriff’s niece. Stacey’s story has people talking and for good reason as the allegations are salacious and the Plaintiff claims to have some pictures involving the former Gulfport City prosecutor and the young lady.

Hancock County judge named in federal lawsuit ~ Stacey Cato

A Hancock County Justice Court judge is one of nearly a dozen public officials in two coastal counties who were recently named in a federal lawsuit which claims each played a crucial role in violating a Gulf Coast businessman’s civil rights.

The suit, filed in Gulfport, alleges corruption, collusion, and conspiracy among city, county and court officials in both Hancock and Harrison counties, as well as ethics violations by the prosecution and unauthorized practice of law.

The whole story is well worth a read, especially the part where Plaintiff Wooten details pictures he has of City prosecutors carrying on with the Plaintiff’s estranged wife.

I had to see the cases for myself so I did some digging on PACER and MEC to get the skinny. Normally when I see a Civil Rights lawsuit naming over 10 public officials my dubiety meter goes off the charts and that was the case with reading Wooten’s Federal Court complaint. But then I got to the allegations against Sheriff Peterson earwigging Chancellor Carter Bice and the fact that the state court divorce case record is largely sealed. Luckily a friend stopped by to help us out and I can verify that Stacey quoted Bice’s letter to Sheriff Peterson very accurately. Here is a snippet: Continue reading “Sex, Earwigging and Rock and Roll: Local Businessman files salacious civil right suits against a bevy of local public officials”

Flipping the wig on “whiggocracies”

“To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi”

When I need words to explain something “Mississippi”, I reach for the last work of the late (and great) Willie Morris, “My Mississippi” – and what words I find! Some, such as those of Faulkner, come as quotes from other Mississippi writers.  The most telling, however, are those words that show the depth of this understanding of this place he called “home”:

“It has been remarked that Mississippi has produced so many fine writers because the state is such a complicated place that much interpretation is required.”

Victoria Pynchon’s recent piece on Mississippi earwigging and Zach Scruggs was the impetus for my calling on Willie.  SLABBED considers Pynchon a friend.  In fact, we hold her  in such regard that the link to her “Settle it Now” Negotion Blog has been a constant on our blogroll and will remain so despite the “h” she inserted in “earwigging” or her need for “interpretation” of  the practice in this “complicated place”.

Here in this “complicated place”, perhaps because so many once lacked the skills to read and write, “earwigging” is not a reflection of a “whiggocracie” but is, instead, an art — a form of the storytelling that, like the run-on sentences often found in “our literature…and music” that boggies all night long — that doesn’t know when to stop.  Yet, it too, was grown “directly out of land and the sense of place – the mark of the land… the love of narrative:

One sees this at some times directly and at other times through a vivid concreteness and emphasis on detail, as in the stories we love to tell…We are talkers.  We talk about ourselves, each other, our ancestors, events, the funny and quirky and bizarre things people do — true stories, more or less, and the richer and more plentiful the detail, the better…Like storytelling, art of whatever form plays a communal role: it draws people together, helps them understand themselves and their common humanity…”

Pynchon’s article focuses on Zach Scruggs’ Motion to Vacate his conviction for Misprision of a Felony, his failure to report the earwigging of Judge Lackey in the case of Jones v Scruggs.  However, in a March 2008 post, Earwigging — A Mississippi Tradition, Steve Eugster wrote of the earwigging by the Plaintiff’s attorney [Grady Tollison] in the Jones case: Continue reading “Flipping the wig on “whiggocracies””

Earwigging & Blawgs: Katrina’s Surge Fuels the Quest for Money at the Expense of Ethics

Steve dropped by slabbed last night with a particularly insightful comment on the ethical implications of the footnote found in the rebuttal memo submitted by Graves Bartle & Marcus and Bartimus Fricltleton Robertson & Gorny, the law firms that represent the insurance whistle blowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby in their False Claims Act fight against State Farm.

I would note that although it would be hard to prove in some cases one notable blogger with a day job has asserted the use of company bloggs (sic) for the purposes of generating business for the firm. Would that make blogging akin to advertising? If so what rules do lawyers have in relation to their blogs? Has anyone already crossed the line of ethics? This would probably be a new area for the legal profession to examine but one which will have to be dealt with by the profession. Perhaps the legacy of Rossmiller and NMC will be the development of internet blogging guidelines for the profession. Is it indeed advertising for new clients like Rossmiller asserts or is it something else?

Then Bellesouth stopped by today with a comment that included an excerpt of a news article that appeared today in the student newspaper the Daily Mississippian made by Judge Mills in yesterday’s ethic’s panel held yesterday at Ole Miss on the topic of ex parte communications. More on that in a bit.

That reminded me of some old links I had saved on David Rossmiller, moderator of the Insurance Coverage blog. Continue reading “Earwigging & Blawgs: Katrina’s Surge Fuels the Quest for Money at the Expense of Ethics”