“It’s a sad day,” was what some in the Mississippi court room commented as Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter joined All the King’s Men. It was the sound of a Greek Chorus as Judge DeLaughter pleaded guilty to federal obstruction of justice. This was in connection with a dispute in which Dickie Scruggs was involved.
Associated Press’s Shelia Byrd covered this tragic downfall of a civil rights hero. It was Judge DeLaughter who became a national icon when he helped prosecute Bryon De La Beckwith. That prosecution put closure on the murder of Medgar Evers. Scruggs is now in prison. The Judge could be joining him for as much as 20 years. Byrd reports that prosecutors recommend that the sentence be about 18 months.
According to prosecutors, what corrupted Judge DeLaughter was the lure of a federal judgeship. The hunger for more seems to be the cardinal sin among American professionals. In this situation it was not more money per se. It was more power, influence, and status.
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