The Hattiesburg American, 10/29/8

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz said it is his personal experiences in the state’s judicial system that gives him a unique perspective most judges lack.

“I know how important it is to have a trial by jury,” Diaz told the Hattiesburg American editorial board Tuesday. “I know what it’s like for an individual to have their entire life wrapped in legal proceedings.”

Diaz, 48, was acquitted in two federal trials in 2005 and 2006 – the first for bribery and the second for tax evasion. He was indicted in 2003 along with two other Gulf Coast judges and attorney Paul Minor, who was accused of bribing all three judges. Diaz was found innocent of all charges.

“I have the distinction of being the first Mississippi Supreme Court judge to be indicted and tried,” he said.