We learned yesterday that Joey Langston plead guilty to corruption charges. This included admitting to trying to influence a judge, with the help of Dickie Scruggs at times.
Scruggs and three of his law partners were indicted in November, but have pleaded not guilty. Tim Balducci, an attorney, has pleaded guilty and admitted to approaching Lafayette County Circuit Judge Lackey about a possible bride in exchange for a favorable ruling on a Hurricane Katrina legal-fees dispute.
I am not going to talk about all the legal dealings with this, because: 1- I am not an attorney and 2- there is already a ton of good information at Y’all Politics, Insurance Coverage Law Blog, Overlawyered, and FOLO.
But, let’s talk about Jim Hood and his connections to this (as the evidence seems to mounting everyday). I think its fair to say that Hood is so deep into a conflict of interest that he doesn’t know what to do. While obvious reform is needed, I seriously doubt Billy McCoy’s House will push any ethics legislation to put an end to this such as “Sunshine Legislation,” which is greatly detailed at the Look Under The Hood website. McCoy and his cronies,, of course, are also tied to Scruggs. Maybe the embarrassment that this is causing the state will force the House to act.
As for the Langston-Hood connection- see it here. From 2003 through 2007, Hood accepted over $112,000 from the Langston Law Firm. Unfortunately, Hood was never even mentioned in the Clarion-Ledger article about Langston. The next question is, will Hood give back these funds? Langston is no longer just indicted, he has now plead guilty which just took it to a whole new level. If Hood keeps this money, what does it say about the legal system and what does it say about the ethics of our current AG?
For all the hooting and hollering we heard from Jim Hood about Haley Barbour’s blind trust during the election year, I guess we know what Hood really thinks about the law. In two words- not much; he thinks about politics.
As for hope that Jim Hood might change; look at what he said during his inauguration speech last week about his priorities for the new term:
Hood said he’s looking forward to continuing his fight against cybercrime and those committed against the elderly and children. Hood said his office had also begun a new initiative targeting counterfeit products from overseas.
Hood said the products include counterfeit drugs, brake pads, contact lenses and lead-contaminated toys.
Are those good causes? Sure. Do they measure up to a corrupt legal system that began under former Attorney General Mike Moore and has been perfected by Jim Hood? Probably not.
As for the national media, I am still waiting for Tim Hamburger from Bloomberg to write an in-depth column about this they way he attacked Barbour; but I won’t hold my breath.
Filed under: Dickie Scruggs, Jim Hood, Joey Langston, Scruggs indictment