Some crazy stuff went down in Mississippi today that has lawyers in Mississippi up in arms. My friend Lotus over at Folo blog does a good job summarizing the situation:How bizarre! I've never heard of anything like this -- at least not in America."There was a strange event at the Mississippi Supreme Court today. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the story, which we have courtesy of Patsy Brumfeld of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal this evening. Here’s how her story began:Something unusual happened Thursday at the Mississippi Supreme Court.She goes on to note that Chief Justice Smith and justices Waller, Carlson, Dickinson and Randolph voted to prevent the publication of Justice Diaz’s dissent, and that her paper was seeking the documents on the case through the state public records act."
It may be the first time a majority of the justices voted to prohibit a colleague from publishing a dissent in a case.
In other words, Presiding Justice Oliver Diaz of Ocean Springs disagreed with a court decision and wanted to write about it. His fellow judges said, no, he couldn’t and they apparently stopped the court clerk from filing Diaz’s statement into the record.
Fortunately for us, Larisa is perfectly situated to provide some relevant context on this story:
Yes, you read that correctly. A dissenting opinion is censored from the public record. Why? I have no idea. But, one thing you need to remember, Oliver Diaz has been one of the judges targeted by political prosecutions. He was twice - not once - twice indicted and put on trial along with attorney Paul Minor and judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield. The Rove machine at the DOJ claimed that Diaz was accepting bribes from Minor, despite the FACT that Diaz recused himself from any and all cases relating to Paul Minor - who has been his longtime friend and now guaranteed a loan for him. All four were acquitted - Diaz on all the charges and Minor, Teel and Whitfield on most of the charges - the first trial around. Then all four were indicted and tried again - just in time for the elections. Diaz was again acquitted. The other three were not so lucky, all landing with convictions and stiff prison sentences.Think about this for a moment: Think about how devastating a dissenting opinion must be, if it cannot even be read into the public record.
What else you may not know (unless you are religiously following my reporting on this) is that of the 4, three were targets of arson and break-ins and an attorney for one of the judges was burglarized three times. In all three cases, only documents were taken and/or looked through - no valuables.
Given this context, the latest in relation to Diaz is indeed suspicious.
See my investigative series on the political prosecutions in the south, in particular those installments that relate to Mississippi:
Part Three – Running Elections from the White House
Part Four – How Bush pick helped prosecute top Democrat-backed judge
Part V: Mississippi Justice: Bush US Attorney targeted my wife, supporters and friend
Part VI: Break-ins plague targets of US Attorneys
Justice Department investigating two US Attorneys for political prosecution
Part VII: Justice for Sale: How Big Tobacco and the GOP teamed up to crush Democrats in the South
Then click those links, and read all about how the Republicans are trying not just to defeat the Democrats, but to eliminate all political opposition, by any means available, beginning in the Deep South.
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