Reflections on the Dickie Scruggs Saga

One of the things that has struck me about the defendants’ plea colloquy is that several of them have wanted to weigh in and lessen their culpability (see here, Zach’s plea transcript, p.15-16, and here, Dickie’s plea transcript and his famous earwig comment, p. 15). Generally, statements by defendants in mitigation are not made until sentencing, and even then that can be a dangerous tact because here the defendants are entering pleas to some of the most serious offenses, bribing a judicial official, and straining at gnats at the plea is not cottoned to by district court judges.

I was fundamentally surprised at three things in the pretrial motions practice in this case: (1) that more attacks were not raised by defense counsel against the wiretaps (there is an entire body of Title III litigation out there); (2) the shrill, overblown writing style of the defendants’ motions that, (3) was very effectively countered in direct, succinct writing that highlighted the nits at which the defendants were picking and the substantial, and fundamentally wrong conduct the defendants were engaged in.

Finally, I was extremely surprised at Dickie Scruggs’ guilty plea, particularly because the plea agreement, p.10, does not protect him from additional criminal investigations that, plainly, are ongoing.

Federal Criminal Defense Blog
3/24/8

hattip – Rossmiller