The Clarion-Ledger, 2/23/9

Complaints against judges in Mississippi are on the rise.

And the head of the state’s judicial watchdog group attributes part of the 2008 increase to fallout from the burgeoning judicial bribery scandal in Mississippi.

“We saw an increase across the board,” said Brant Brantley, executive director of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. “I think a reason for that is the adverse publicity the judiciary has received with the federal judicial bribery scandal case.”

It has “put the judiciary in the spotlight – not in a good way,” Brantley said, referring to the prosecution of former prominent Mississippi trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs, who drew a maximum five-year sentence in June after pleading guilty to scheming to pay a judge $40,000 for a favorable ruling in a dispute over $26 million in legal fees.