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

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Mike Moore enters appearance for Zach Scruggs…

That’s real news, and it’s going to make for an interesting hearing given how the last ones went.

He waved his magic gavel and, POOF, thousands of acres disappeared from Sunflower County

I knew Judge Keady was a particularly powerful federal judge, but had no idea how powerful until I read this headline (same heading in both the Oxford Eagle and the Clarion Ledger versions of this Jack Elliott story):

Parchman farm disappeared after Gates

Headline aside, the story is a good quick overview of the historic prison litigation that just ended.  One aside, though:  The shut down of the farms was not, as I understand it, directly imposed by the litigation; it was a decision made by the state at about the same time and related to the decision.    I may be remembering this in error, though.

Here’s some of the story:

Nazareth Gates is not as well known in Mississippi as, say, the late Jake Ayers Sr. He should be.

It was Ayers’ landmark lawsuit in 1975 that forced Mississippi to confess it had failed to financially support the three historic black universities as it should. The state has spent millions rectifying its mistake.

Equally, Gates, as the lead plaintiff in 1971 in a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorney Roy Haber, brought about an end to the trusty system and inmates abuses at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Also, over the next 40 years, the state of Mississippi spent millions of dollars overhauling its corrections system.

“There’s no question that the federal courts had to get involved,” said Don Cabana, a former Parchman superintendent and former corrections commissioner. “Things at Parchman had been neglected for decades … just ignored … not just the condition of the physical plant but the treatment of inmates.”

Continue reading He waved his magic gavel and, POOF, thousands of acres disappeared from Sunflower County

William Reed seeks to disappear in United States v. Scruggs

In the ongoing lawyering musical chairs that has been United States v. Scruggs from virtually day one, Jackson lawyer William Reed has moved to withdraw, noting

pre-existing professional commitments preclude continued participation in this case.  David Zachary Scruggs consents to the withdrawal and will continue to be represented by his other counsel of record.

This provides [...]

How the New York Times paywall works, and what that means for readers of this blog.

The New York Times paywall has just gone up.  It’s odd and complicated, and is sort of explained on this FAQ, although I think you’ll get what you need from my description, below.

I’ve decided to go ahead and make the plunge so I’ll be able to continue to troll the Times for links [...]

Tuesday Morning Various

John T. Edge was asked by the website Kevin’s Barbecue Joints to name his favorites.  The ones I know– Payne’s and Cozy Corner in Memphis, B.E. Scott’s in Lexington, Tennessee, Craig’s in DeVall’s Bluff, Arkansas– are all on my short list of favorites, several are on my short list of places I want [...]

Politico story about Governor Barbour’s statement about the civil war

There’s an article on Politico by Robert McElvaine, history professor at Millsaps, remarks from Governor Barbour about the Civil War.  The key quote:

But he has now made a forthright declaration about the events swirling around what some Southerners still call the War of Northern Aggression. “Slavery was the primary, central, cause of secession,” [...]

Judge Biggers reschedules Zach Scruggs hearing for May 23rd

Zach Scruggs moved to continue the hearing on his effort to set aside his plea.  Judge Biggers has granted the motion and rescheduled the hearing for May 23rd.

Here’s the order.

More Blog Tweaks and Some Questions

After a suggestion from sop81_1 of the slabbed blog (which is apparently about to become both an entity and a domain of its own, which is a lot for a blog), I checked out the jetpack plugin for this blog, which allowed me to add some features:

It makes sharing blog posts easier, and [...]

B is for Basil assaulted by bears

I’m wondering if we’re about to see another Edward Gorey resurgence, something that seems to come along every ten years or so.

He published small illustrated books beginning in the 50s; at the time (pre-graphic novels), they looked like children’s books.  Really macabre children’s books.

There’s an exhibit I read about on this [...]

Blog tweaks

I’ve been trying to figure out why the edit comments feature didn’t work. It may be fixed (I hope so).

I’m using a plugin called WP Ajax Edit Comments, which worked like a charm for a long time but (apparently through a dispute with WordPerfect about upgrades) got disabled. The dispute has been resolved, [...]