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Monday, January 11, 2010

Another Lying Judge Sent Off To Prison

<Another Lying Judge Sent Off To Prison
The Connecticut Law Journal by Karen Lee Torre - January 11, 2010

Last week saw another disgraced judge handcuffed. Judge Bobby DeLaughter, a former Mississippi prosecutor, and the latest judge or lawyer to fall in connection with the inherently corrupt mass tort litigation (shakedown) industry involving tobacco and asbestos claims, went to federal prison. In the 1990s, DeLaughter achieved fame as a “civil rights hero” for getting Byron de la Beckwith finally convicted for the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. DeLaughter later became a judge. There were books written by and about DeLaughter, and his trial feat was dramatized in the movie “Ghosts of Mississippi.” The “civil rights hero” would not respect the basic rights of lawyers and litigants to have an honest judge. DeLaughter isn’t alone; he follows two other of Mississippi judges imprisoned in connection with shady, behind-the-scenes collusions in similar litigations. The year 2009 also saw two Pennsylvania judges plead guilty in federal court upon facing a host of charges for throwing rulings to one side in a big case. They got caught lying about it and face enormous prison time.

Then we saw U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent, of Texas, indicted in an unusual case of a court employee who complained of his repeated sexual advances. What hung Kent was his like decision to minimize (that is, lie about) the extent of his contact with the woman to judicial council investigators. Charges of obstructing justice were piled on. Judicial officials also noticed a pattern of Kent taking assignments on cases involving an attorney who was a close friend. They yanked the cases and reassigned them to other federal judges. Kent was locked up. Kent modeled himself after U.S. District Judge Walter L. Nixon Jr., who lied to federal investigators and a grand jury in the 1980s when he denied that he discussed a criminal case involving a businessman’s son with a prosecutor and the businessman. Off to prison he went. And there are others. Didn’t anybody learn from Martha Stewart?

DeLaughter’s indictment is interesting. He never sought or took a dime. But his friend, former prosecutor Ed Peters, took big money as a “consultant” to the defense lawyers in a mega-fee dispute case before DeLaughter. Peters served as conduit for the defense lawyers to communicate with DeLaughter. Since Peters was a friend, he could provide the cover for the lawyers’ telegraphing their signals to the judge. They needed an advantageous scheduling order. They got it. DeLaughter timed preliminary rulings to suit their strategy. Crafty, he didn’t make it stink too much. His merits ruling did not relieve defendants from liability but merely minimized it. Notably, there was no allegation that his rulings were incorrect on the law. DeLaughter might have been willing to appear to be granting favors when he really wasn’t. He allegedly went along to curry political favor with bar heavyweights necessary to gain appointment to the federal bench. But when asked by investigators whether he ever spoke to his friend Peters regarding the subject matter of that lawsuit, DeLaughter said “no.” For that, he was charged with obstruction of justice and jailed. Bizarre is the charge against one of the lawyers who arranged for a colleague to file an appearance in the case to facilitate and provide cover for the influence peddling. For depositing the appearance in the post office box, he was charged with mail fraud. These jailed judges were also charged with depriving the public of the honest services of a judge. What a depressing spectacle – a judge brought into court in shackles. In a twist, the son of Byron de la Beckwith attended DeLaughter’s sentencing and watched justice come round again. All these judges assumed they could evade detection or lie when asked a question. But it doesn’t take much. A guilt-ridden associate, a court clerk whispering in another’s ear, a morally offended law clerk, a secretary, or just a rat like Peters who saved himself by turning on his friend. For striking such a ghastly blow to public confidence in the courts, they should have gotten life behind bars. Karen Lee Torre, a New Haven trial lawyer, litigates civil rights issues in the federal courts. Her e-mail address is


not surprised but saddened said...

Life sure is strange. We see more and more judges going to jail at the same time we learn more each day of the horrors of how many innocent people have been falsely imprisoned.

Anonymous said...

What are the Feds waiting for in NY? We should have a judge a day sent to jail along with their lawyer buddies. Should we ask Chuck in the Senate, or Holder in Justice, or Cuomo in NY, how much does protection cost?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Still waiting for the news on Nicolai and Scarpino.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The last 2 sentences of this article are the easy methods the feds need to obtain all the information imaginable to indict OCA....and as you see...the FEDS refuse to participate.
I know that the feds were informed that those particular employee titles have:
1) tonso information
2) moral weakness to spill their guts if agents would even just request.
3) as cowards that are praised and promoted within OCA's employee elite, the feds could use these OCA tactics , and therefore promise even simple rewards... and quickly wrap up this judicial corruption case in a NY week!

Cowards abound in the courts and esp. at the supervisory/judicial level, making the NY judiciary the most repulsive and violent place to work in America.

Correcting corruption is always one thing..keeping it from seeping back in, is the most difficult. Most government employees that expose the corruption, only care if the first part is addressed...and never worry when or who will handle the seeping.

This is why we have so much continuous corruption in America and of concern for our "furture' America......even though every person who could correct this monster judiciary, has children and family that will suffer from the worst part...the second and most deadly round.

Anonymous said...

don't you think the FEDS would have to put to many of them in jail, all of this has been going on for decades.......
they should just put FEDS in our courthouses, Atty Grievance, CJC and end the corruption in a week..with a dual citizens complaint bureau on lawyers judges and public officials...........
they would all have to stop the insanity or jail.......

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2
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