Professor Matt Steffe of Mississippi College School of Law tells Mitchell, “I would feel physically ill if Judge DeLaughter were implicated in all of this,” arguing that what’s been described so far “is not evidence, in and of itself, of a crime. It’s certainly irregular, but there may be an explanation for it. If that’s all the evidence, then my opinion is they don’t have enough evidence to go forward.”
Mitchell also touches base with Aaron Condon, professor emeritus at Ole Miss Law, who recalls Bobby DeLaughter and Dickie Scruggs as students: “Dickie was a very good student, but not the best. He was the kind of student you’d think would make a good lawyer. I hope none of them are involved.” As far as DeLaughter’s sharing his proposed order with the Peters-Langston-Balducci-Patterson cabal — well, that doesn’t seem to strike Condon as necessarily improper or illegal: “Conferring with colleagues or acquaintances is a fairly routine thing to do.” He does, however, allow that any judge doing so “ought to advise the parties as to who he’s talking to and get their permission to do that.”
Prof. Condon’s sign-off statement to Jerry Mitchell may begin to explain more than he means to. “There is not a lawyer in the state, whether he bribes judges or doesn’t, that doesn’t know it’s illegal,” he says (emph. mine). Not exactly confidence-inspiring, is it? But his next sentence makes me actively queasy: “What it should do is open the eyes of those who are of ‘briberous’ disposition that it’s dangerous and you can get caught if you try to bribe the wrong judge.”
Y’all, tell me I’m misreading the professor’s drift. If “Take care who you bribe” is the schooling that Ole Miss Law provides its students, no wonder so many of them are now men aimed at prison.