Eating their own: One practitioner’s take about last year’s Alt-Right attacks on Judge Ozerden

And that practitioner would be me, who was unable to respond to last year’s attacks by Wingnut propaganda outlet Breitbart’s on Judge O because of a matter I had before him.

First a point of disclosure, I’m not a lawyer and never will be. Further I am soon to announce my retirement from the pro se practice of law. My experience as a pro se litigant is somewhat unique because a frequent joke actual lawyers tell is that the Latin translation for pro se is “already lost” and that is true for the overwhelming majority. That was not quite true for me. I’ll have more on that in a week or so.

What is true is that before anyone, pro se or not appears before a Court it is a darn good idea to learn as much about the judge as is possible. I did lots of digging back in 2015 but not being a legal profession insider has its disadvantages because there is only so much information available in the internet.  Judge O, unlike seemingly many of the other local jurists did not grow up on Second Street in Gulfport where I know lots of folks.

That said I did find one tidbit from a now defunct Mississippi website and  that tidbit was that was Judge Ozerden was the kind of Judge that “let the lawyers lawyer”. What that means is if the case is a switchblade fight between the litigants, every one of them better bring some steel to the party or suffer the consequences. Lawyers are officers of the Court and the good ones take the charge very seriously.  That means lawyers resolving a  case among themselves (i.e. settling) is always a very favored outcome.

My experience before Judge O. was that he is exactly as advertised.  In fact my adversaries and I maybe even went a shade above and beyond with our knife fight as the Court used the term “gamesmanship” in an order issued later in the case that it used to describe the scrap. (Just because the lawyers are allowed to lawyer in Judge O’s Courtroom doesn’t mean the Judge or the Magistrate are blind to what the parties are doing.)

This brings me back to the Wingnuts and their heartburn with Judge O:

“No violation of religious liberty and conscience rights in recent years is more infamous than when Obamacare ordered the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate Church teachings,” says Susan B. Anthony President Marjorie Dannenfelser exclusively to Breitbart News, referring to the judge’s ruling in Catholic Diocese of Biloxi v. Sebelius. “Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden has utterly failed to protect people of faith against Obamacare’s assault on religious liberty and conscience rights and does not deserve a promotion to the Fifth Circuit.”

Jackson lawyer Phillip Thomas fills in the blanks that Breitbart didn’t and the bottom line is when alt right Wingnuts decry agenda driven rulings, they are talking about every agenda but their own: Continue reading “Eating their own: One practitioner’s take about last year’s Alt-Right attacks on Judge Ozerden”

Recuse in the Scruggs news

A coincidence, perhaps? Northern district Judge Shannon Aycock (Wilson v Scruggs) and southern district Judge Sul Ozerden (Young v Scruggs) each recused from a case involving Dick Scruggs in Orders dated October 15, 2009.

Wilson v Scruggs was filed in federal court in North Mississippi and assigned to Judge Neil Biggers.  Shortly after Scruggs’ co-defendant Steve Patterson filed his Motion to Dismiss, Judge Biggers recused and the case was reassigned to Judge Shannon Aycock.

However, Judge Aycock filed a Waiver of Judicial Disqualification with the Clerk:

Unless a waiver is obtained from all parties and all counsel, Judge Aycock intends to disqualify in this proceeding because of these circumstances:

Judge Aycock’s Courtroom Deputy, Ginger McDaniel Sullivan, worked as a
paralegal with the Wm. Roberts Wilson, Jr. P.A., law firm in Jackson, Mississippi, from June 2001 to February 2005. In that position, Sullivan worked under the direction of William Roberts Wilson, Jr., Charles M. Merkel, III, and Roberts Wilson, Jr. During her employment, Sullivan was familiar with and worked on issues in the lawsuit Wilson vs. Scruggs, et al, First Judicial District of Hinds County Circuit Court. This litigation was pending when she began her employment and was not resolved as of the date she left the firm…

If a waiver is not received from all parties and all counsel, this Notice and any responses will be kept under seal by the clerk and not shown to the judge, nor will the judge be informed of the identity of any party or lawyer who declined to waive the disqualification. If the disqualification is not waived, the case will be reassigned to another judge.

Apparently waivers were not received from all parties as Judge Aycock recused and issued a related Order dated October 15, 2009. Continue reading “Recuse in the Scruggs news”