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.


How many ways can one say they are wrong: Judge Dennis unmistakably and clearly dissents

The Fifth Circuit denied en banc review in the Texas abortion restriction case.  As Anderson points out, Judge Dennis dissents eloquently and at length.  He also finds many ways to call the panel opinion wrong.  Just in the first eight (of 62) pages, there are these snippets:

…the panel opinion flouts the Supreme Court’s decision…

The […]

Judge Jolly to lawyer: “[Y]ou need to learn how to argue in the Fifth Circuit.” Lawyer: “… I think I know a little bit about federal courts. Go ahead and tell me, though.”

Fireworks between Judge Jolly and attorney David Broussard in the Fifth Circuit oral argument in Thomas Roque v. Natchitoches Parish School Bd. 

You can listen to the whole thing

the oral argument recording is online

It has been highlighted by Above the Law.

The case involves an applicant for a school superintendent position.  It’s an […]

“it would be tooth-fairy odd … in the absence of a quid pro quo.” Notes on Dickie Scruggs’s Fifth Circuit Appeal, Part 3

The record makes manifest that the petitioner passed out search warrants like popsicles in July to a person whom he knew had no legitimate use for them. Common sense strongly suggests that the petitioner—who risked his reputation, his job, and his liberty by conspiring with Fosher—must have received some sort of emolument to make […]

“Defendants all over the country were raising these kinds of claims.” Notes on Dickie Scruggs’s Fifth Circuit Appeal, Part 2

This is the second of three posts about Dickie Scruggs’s Fifth Circuit appeal of the denial of relief from his guilty plea to bribery of Judge DeLaughter.  Part one is here.

Dickie Scruggs’s Fifth Circuit appeal is about the case involving Bobby DeLaughter.  The question on appeal is, essentially, whether admittedly corrupt or unethical contact with […]

“The silence of the Information” and “ethically nefarious acts”: Notes on Dickie Scruggs’s Fifth Circuit appeal, Part 1

The eight paragraphs of the Information speak for themselves. So does the silence of the Information.

Concededly, the Superseding Information recites ethically nefarious acts.

-US v. Scruggs, Fifth Circuit reply brief of the Appellant

There’s no particular significance to the quoted first quoted passage, except that the strange poetics of the sentence, “So […]

Fifth Circuit affirms Zach Scruggs’s appeal

The Government wins.

Higginbotham wrote the opinion.  It has a long statement of facts, including twice stating that Backstrom lied under oath about conversations with Balducci (and, in doing so, accepting Balducci’s account).  These statements are not couched in terms of the scope of review but more as factual observation– the court notes that […]

Zach Scruggs oral argument in the Fifth Circuit this morning

As I write this, Zach Scruggs’s oral argument is finishing up in the en banc courtroom at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, before a panel of  Judges Jolly, Higgenbotham, and Dennis.

The Clarion Ledger states that the Daily Journal reported that  “some court-watchers say the Fifth Circuit of Appeals is interested […]

There isn’t much coordinating going on between those coordinate branches

Anderson has an account of a Fifth Circuit argument that is stunning.

Having heard a news report, Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit concluded that President Obama was saying that the courts could not hold a statute unconstitutional and demanded a Justice Department lawyer answer for this.  Not satisfied when the lawyer cited […]

Zach Scruggs Fifth Circuit brief is up on YallPolitics

Alan Lange has posted Zach Scruggs’s Brief of Appellant in the Fifth Circuit on YallPolitics.  I’ve skimmed a large part but not yet given it a careful read.  He devotes the vast majority of its length on Skilling and actual innocence (which certainly is a wise use of pages) but keeps a few pages […]

About the newly confirmed Fifth Circuit Judge in New Orleans…

… 28 year Ass’t US Attorney Stephen Higginson, who has impressive credentials (he’s been doing the US Attorney in New Orleans’s appellate work for a long time, graduated cum laude from Harvard and Yale Law School, was on the law review at Yale, had both Democrat Landrieu and Republican Vitter’s support, etc…).

The Times Picayune […]