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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More Solomon Osborne and other bafflements in the 6/18/09 Supreme Court decision list

There are four decisions out on the Mississippi Supreme Court’s list today.  Two involve former Leflore County Court judge and youth court judge Solomon Osborne.  Acting the part of a vampire killer with the appropriate oaken stake the Court refuses to accept his resignation as a bar to action, and removes him from office in one case.  Justice Kitchens (joined by Dickinson) dissents because they think Osborne’s (mis)conduct on this occasion does not support the punishment.  If the best Solomon Osborne can do, though, is the opening of Justice Kitchen’s dissent, he’s pretty pathetic:

Today’s post-resignation removal of former County Court Judge Solomon C. Osborne perhaps marks the end of this Court’s oft-repeated and, unfortunately, ineffectual attempts to entreat him to conform his behavior to the high ethical standards to which our state’s judicial officials are properly held. Judge Osborne’s continuing presence on the dockets of the Commission on Judicial Performance and of this Court has been largely of his own making.

In the other Osborne case, the Supreme Court declined to change its mind about the speech and first amendment issues raised when the Judicial Performance Commission went after him for remarks at a political meeting.  Rehearing is denied, and Justices Kitchens and Dickinson eloquently dissent.  I stated my views of all that when this opinion was first issued several months ago.

The other two cases are hard to categorize and harder to stay focused on.  The court reverses Judge Yerger for going overboard in striking a plaintiff’s medical bills, and entreats the trial court on remand to go easier on the plaintiff about striking his expert; Justices Graves and Kitchens, concurring, tell the trial court that the defense has to move to compel before he can seek sanctions.

The other is an incredibly long-running war between John Deere, a local dealer, a farmer, and a bank over a defective combine, payments owed on it, and more, involving multiple state and federal court actions, res judicata, and general confusion– Justice Dickinson notes that at one point, faced with one round of this, the Fifth Circuit was “clearly baffled.”  There’s a lot of fine-grinding-of-the-mills over res judicata issues, and with Dickinson saying that there is no bar, and Justice Graves (joined by Kitchens) saying there is.  To the extent I, too, am not baffled by all this, I found it easier to follow and go along with Justice Dickinson’s logic in the majority opinion.

Update: Rewrote sentence beginning with the word “pathetic” just before quote because it was ambiguous and mis-attributed the quote.

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