Appeals court asked to toss guilty plea by Zach Scruggs

A former Mississippi attorney asked a federal appeals court Monday to vacate his 2008 guilty plea in a judicial bribery case that also resulted in a prison sentence for his once-powerful father and law partner, plaintiffs’ lawyer Dickie Scruggs.

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans didn’t immediately rule after hearing arguments in the case against Zach Scruggs, who served a 14-month prison sentence, lost his law license and paid a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to misprision of a felony, or failing to report a crime.

Scruggs argued his guilty plea should be thrown out because his conduct didn’t constitute a crime in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that an anti-fraud law was improperly used to help convict former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling.

Clarion Ledger
7/9/12