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.


Amending the Constitution, Citizens United, and the First Amendment

Here’s the text of the proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United:

Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence […]

How Judge Davidson shot down Dickie Scruggs’s First Amendment argument

I think the upshot of Judge Davidson’s ruling today on Dickie Scruggs’s petition to set aside his guilty plea in Scruggs II is pretty simple:  “Well, you’re going to lose, but I’ll give you a hearing first.”  And that seems a reasonable response.

The opinion is primarily a response to Scruggs’s motion for judgment […]

Judge Davidson: Scruggs brief writer’s word “substitution… is not innocuous.”

Judge Davidson has ruled on Dickie Scruggs’s motion for a judgment on the pleadings, in which Scruggs asserted his conduct with regard to Judge DeLaughter was protected by the First Amendment.

He also rules that there will be an evidentiary hearing about Scruggs’s alleged innocence.

In doing so, Judge Davidson tosses a nice dart at […]

The Government is not impressed with Scruggs’s argument that judicial bribery has 1st Amendment protection

Dickie Scruggs’s lawyers filed a motion for a judgment on the pleadings, saying that the scheme to illegally influence Judge DeLaughter was protected by the First Amendment.  I wrote about the motion here.

The Government responds with about the same level of ridicule that Anderson used in commenting on the motion:

For the petitioner […]

Tennessee bumper sticker statute: Not new but still bullshit

For some time now, Tennessee has had a law banning bumper stickers that are “obscene” or “patently offensive,” both of which are defined in ways I found pretty vague and troubling (“Patently offensive” means that which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in describing or representing such matters”).  Here lately, the legislature has […]

Imposing “attend church” as a condition of bail?! Also, a question about sanctioning judges

I’ve an observation and a question about a Judicial Performance case the Mississippi Supreme Court decided today.

First, there’s this, from the facts:

In April 2006, Judge Dearman presided over the initial appearance of Philipe D. White, who was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, cocaine base. Judge Dearman set White’s […]

Man indicted for handing out jury nullification pamphlets at the courthouse

Yet another First Amendment question, this time involving a pamphleteer.

Julian Heicklen is a retired professor of Chemistry at Penn State.  He is given to eccentric expressions of his libertarian beliefs– e.g. smoking pot at the gates of Penn State once a week because he does not believe it should be criminalized (although, he […]

Danny Lampley and the Sword of Damocles

I’ve got the order now on which Judge Littlejohn released Danny Lampley yesterday after first jailing him for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance.

It would make me nervous to be the subject of this order; being peremptorily jailed is not the kind of thing I’d want hanging out there “in abeyance.”


Old Times There are Not Forgotten: Judge Littlejohn as prosecutor

The incarceration of Danny Lampley over compelled speech was not Judge Littlejohn’s first trip over the First Amendment.  A reader sent in a Fifth Circuit opinion in Ealy v. Littlejohn, 569 F.2d 219 (5th Cir. 1978), by Judge John R. Brown, who was one of the Fifth Circuit’s Unlikely Heroes written about by Jack Bass:


My reaction to Eugene Volokh’s post about Justice Graves and judicial free speech cases

Anderson has picked up on a national law-blogger, Eugene Volokh, writing about Justice Graves and his nomination to the Fifth Circuit, focusing on three judicial performance opinions that involved whether judges could be sanctioned for speech.  The point of Volokh’s post is that he thinks Justice Graves’s votes are inconsistent and proposes that Justice […]