Thoughts on the DeLaughter Guilty Plea

If DeLaughter wants to truly make amends he should publicly come clean on any and all impropriety involving he and Ed Peters. It’s hard to believe that DeLaughter and Peters got caught on the only case that they ever improperly conspired on. And while I am sure that DeLaughter still maintains that he didn’t conspire with Peters in Scruggs v. Wilson, it is clear that at a minimum he allowed himself to be controlled by Peters. DeLaughter should publicly disclose every case that he and Peters discussed while DeLaughter was a judge. The files of those cases should be examined for any unusual rulings.

The judicial bribery scandal has been a huge black eye for the Mississippi judicial system including the lawyers and judges in that system. If DeLaughter’s plea brings the scandal to a close neither the public nor the legal community will believe that all the bad actors and illegal conduct has been exposed. So far the only person to publicly come clean is Tim Balducci and that is only because someone obtained a copy of his deposition in the Eaton v. Frisby case that was supposed to be sealed. We hear that all the lawyers in jail and Peters (who should be in jail) are cooperating with the government. But that does little to restore the public’s faith in the judicial system because the government does not publicly disclose its investigation, which proceeds at a glacial pace. We need depositions or similar mechanisms to force all the principals in the Lackey and DeLaughter bribery scandals to publicly disclose everything that they know. If there are other lawyers or judges who committed illegal conduct, then they should be exposed, prosecuted and disbarred. We do not need this thing ending without knowing whether this was the tip of the iceberg or the whole iceberg.

Phillip Thomas
MS Litigation Review