I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

Missing Posts: If you have a link to a post that's not here or are looking for posts from Summer of 2010, check this page.


Patsy Brumfield asks “Quo vadis” and Jimmie Gates recounts DeLaughters and Peters in Kirk v. Pope

Patsy Brumfield and Jimmie Gates have day-of-the-plea DeLaughter stories.

In the Daily Journal, Patsy Brumfield asks “What’s next,” focusing largely on what’s going to happen in Wilson v. Scruggs. She writes:

– Will anyone else be indicted in this case?

– Will this second judicial bribery case in north Mississippi be the last related […]

The resemblance had not occurred to me

“Mississippi Totally Looks Like Bart Simpson”

h/t Scott Barretta on Facebook.

News Reports of DeLaughter’s Guilty Plea

Jerry Mitchell’s story in today’s Clarion Ledger has a summary of the case and DeLaughter’s career, along with quotes from and from Charles Merkel.  From Myrlie Evers-Williams:

“It just makes me sick,” she said. “I’m devastated by the turn of events. I don’t know what to say. Bobby will always have a special place […]

Harold McGee comes out strongly for eating green tomatoes

Food-and-science expert Harold McGee, in his Curious Cook column in the New York Times, investigates the (apparent) myth of the poisonous nature of tomato leaves in his current column.  In doing so, he comes out for eating green tomatoes in a big way:

The researchers found that both tomatine-rich green tomatoes and purified tomatine […]

Charles Eagles Book about Integration at Ole Miss out August 1st

Charles Eagles, historian at the University of Mississippi is coming out with on August 1st, published by University of North Carolina Press.  There’s going to be a reading for the book at Square Books in late September.

Since I first heard he was working about it well over a decade ago, I have been […]

Judge DeLaughter to Change Plea to Guilty to Count 5 (lie to the FBI) of the Indictment

Change of plea set before Judge Davidson on Thursday in Aberdeen Mississippi, according to PACER.  Here’s the Notice of Change Plea Hearing.

Also on PACER, there’s a notice that there was a short conference call with Judge Davidson, Bob Norman, and Tom Durkin this afternoon.  It was pretty clearly connected.  Here’s the docket entry […]

Kingfish gets the facts of the Heather Spencer murder

In September of 2007, George Bell brutally murdered Heather Spencer in his mother’s home in Jackson.  Kingfish at Jackson Jambalaya has been raising serious questions about this case since I’ve been aware of his blog.

Specifically, he’s had serious suspicions of the dropping of accessory to murder charges against Bell’s mother, Robbie Bell.  Today, […]

Does the docket in the Pickering divorce provide any clues as to what went down?

The Mississippi Electronic Courts filing system has just gone online, for one court system– Madison County Chancery.  That’s pretty interesting timing, because a case in that court has made national news this week– Pickering v. Pickering, which is Chip Pickering’s divorce case.  Anyone– or at least anyone with a law license– can set up an account and peruse the docket.  I think even non-lawyers can set up an account without filing privileges.  It’s driven by the same software as PACER and so will seem quite familiar to lawyers.  You can start out here.

Oh, and about the Pickering case.  There’s a good news/bad news aspect.  The good news is that the docket is visible and available.  The bad news is that it’s under seal by agreement.  But I’ve copied the docket, below, and I can make an interesting gloss on some of it; you can piece together some of the story about the diaries and the chancery court orders from the entries.

  • The case began as an irreconcilable differences complaint by Mr. Pickering against Mrs. Pickering in July of last year.  Such a divorce requires her consent.  A hearing was set on it, and then a motion to dismiss filed by her in June of this year.
  • He immediately filed (on June 12th) a motion to amend the complaint.  I’m going to surmise that he wanted to ask for a divorce for grounds.  A hearing was set for June 22nd.
  • On June 15th, a motion to appoint a special master was filed. It’s not said who filed it, but later entries make it clear that this was where Chip Pickering first raised the issue about how Leisha Pickering got his diaries.  This motion got added to the June 22nd hearing.
  • On June 22nd, the court appointed a special master.  The next day, Chip filed an amended complaint.  While there is no order authorizing him to do so, it’s reasonable to surmise he got his motion to amend granted June 22nd.  Note three later orders were entered by the judge.
  • On June 29th, Chip Pickering filed a “Motion to disqualify Defendant’s attorney, require documents to be returned, restrain any future use of documents and award attorneys’ fees by Charles Willis Pickering, Jr.”  It is unclear if this is addressed at both of Mrs. Pickering’s attorneys– it’s clearly addressed at Ruth Johnson, who has been in news stories about it, but there has been no mention of Mrs. Pickering’s other attorney, William Wright.
  • On June 30th , the Special Master filed a “Report and Recommendations Regarding Motion to Compel Return of Documents, for Disqualification of Defendant’s Counsel, and Imposition of Appropriate Sentence.”  [ I really tripped over the word “sentence” in this entry.  Sentence?]
  • On July 1st, Mrs. Pickering filed a “Motion for Findings by the Court and Continuance.”  The next day, Mr. Pickering filed a motion to “compel return of documents, for disqualification of counsel, for imposition of appropriate counsel, and for other relief.”   That same day, Mrs. Pickering’s lawyer filed a joint motion to withdraw as counsel.  Again, it’s unclear whether this involved William Wright.  The day after that, an order allowing Ruth Johnson to withdraw was entered.
  • Four days later (July 7th) the chancellor entered 3 orders.
  • On July 17th, the chancery court got notice of Judge Coleman’s TRO.  On July 23rd a motion was filed to provide Judge Coleman with the special master’s report.  I’m going to presume this was done by Mr. Pickering so he could tell the judge about whatever misconduct had resulted in the disqualification of Mrs. Pickering’s lawyer and the order to return the documents.  On July 24th, the chancellor entered an order to allow Judge Coleman’s en camera review of the report and recommendation.

That’s all we can tell from the docket.  The entire docket is printed below the fold in case anyone can glean more from it than I can.

Continue reading Does the docket in the Pickering divorce provide any clues as to what went down?

Nunnelee takes steps to run for 1st Congressional seat

The Daily Journal is reporting thatState Senator Alan Nunnelee has filed a statement of candidacy and a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission as steps toward running for the 1st Congressional District seat, which is presently held by Travis Childers.

Pertinently, this morning Jim Craig at Ipse Blogit asked how Nunnelee will […]

Judge Davidson’s motion-docket-clearing-Friday, part two of two

There were two more orders from Judge Davidson on Friday.  One order deals with production of grand jury material.  DeLaughter has made a series of efforts to get grand jury material before trial.  Judge Davidson entered an order that grand jury testimony does not have to be produced under the Jencks act until after […]