Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Manners and Morals of Gulf Coast Lawyers and Judges

The recent events in Jones v. Scruggs (Katrina Group remainder) are most interesting. Judicial actions have taken place in Jones and other civil cases in the area involving Dick Scruggs which foretell or should foretell all sorts of interesting developments. I sure hope someone with a clever mind and a mind for digging beneath the pleasant surface of things is working on the matter -- with the intent of writing a true history of it or at least using it and speculations about it as the backdrop of a bit of fiction.

One observation -- the entire house of cards (the Katrina / State Farm litigation and the professional success of Dick Scruggs) is falling or has fallen as a result of the bribery entrapment of Dick Scruggs by Judge Henry Lackey, a Mississippi Circuit Court judge. That is to say, the main character in the story will be Judge Lackey.

Judge Lackey seems to be the local hero of the moment. He's riding real high right now and he knows it. His self-satisfaction was well apparent in his testimony the other day in the Jones case before Mississippi Circuit Judge Coleman.

I speculate there is a lot more to the story of Judge Lackey -- a whole lot more. I doubt he was the innocent he says he was in the bribery entrapment. He "professes too much." And much of what he says is simply unbelievable (to a person who has spent the last 38 years in the legal profession many of those years being years trying cases to judges (not to juries)).

The judge would like us to believe he was deeply troubled by his meeting with Tim Balducci in March, 2007. What he would have us believe does not ring true. I wonder whether he jumped on the opportunity presented by the stupidities and emotional weaknesses of his friend to pursue an agenda of his own, as some sort of crime fighter to bring down "the monster." He says he did not realize that Dick Scruggs was a monster until after he got involved. In his testimony the other day he threw that into the mix after catching himself saying he suspected Dick Scruggs was a monster he wanted to get at the time of his first meeting or shortly thereafter, before he went to the US Attorney.

I wonder did he become the agent for the government in the entrapment because the government wanted him to become the agent or did he become a government agent because he wanted to be a government agent for purposes of his own. And, if so, were those purposes really his purposes or was he pursuing the purposes of others, of a group, of some sort of gestalt which had become ascendant in a certain aspect of the legal/judicial community? Judges do not act on their own, they are consummate conformists. What wants to imagine as leadership is most often judicial expression of conformity.

There are a good number of people in Mississippi who would like to believe Judge Lackey is a great guy, a great leader. They, and the judge profess too much. I am suspicious. I wonder whether I am the only one.

Back to what I hope -- that someone with time on his or her hands and some investigatory and writing skills will tell the truth about the situation and will flesh out these strange and unusual characters who have popped up and who are popping up as the days progress in this bit of history of the manners and morals of the Gulf Coast legal/judicial system.