October 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
Of all the sad aspects of the Scruggs saga, the one that most troubles me is the chain of events that led to the downfall of Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter. Up to now, what we have known of his culpability could be gleaned from his own guilty plea and from reading between the lines of other disclosures. Ed Peters’ involvement, and how he interacted with DeLaughter, has been left mostly to conjecture and street gossip.
Thanks to motions filed by Scruggs in federal court, however, Peters’ grand jury testimony, or a portion of it, has been unsealed, and you can read for yourself the sordid details. Tom Freeland has summarized it, and has another post about it. You can read Peters’ testimony for yourself here and here. Freeland followed up with another couple of posts that you can find on his blog.
Philip Thomas has a post questioning why Peters has never been prosecuted in state court.
Some had considered DeLaughter a sort of wunderkind of the bench. They expected special things of him after he stepped out of the role as prosecutor of Byron De la Beckwith into a circuit judgeship. But he was a long-time associate of Ed Peters, the Hinds County DA, and he allowed himself to be in a position to be influenced by Peters. Peters took advantage of the cozy relationship to demand hefty fees from clients who expected him to influence the circuit judge. Peters’ testimony reveals how they did it.
It still turns my stomach to read this stuff, but it’s important for us to know and understand how this unfolded so that we can take measures to ensure that it will never happen again.
December 30, 2010 § 2 Comments
Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger yesterday dismissed with prejudice Eaton Corporation’s lawsuit against Jeffery Frisby, et al., based on a finding that counsel for Eaton knew that Ed Peters was clandestinely attempting to influence the then trial judge, Bobby DeLaughter, and sanctioned Peters’ actions for their client’s benefit.
Judge Yerger found that dismissal of the billion-dollar suit was necessary to protect the integrity of the judicial system. Philip Thomas comments on it here, with links to much more information on the suit. Tom Freeland adds his thoughts here.
The demise of Eaton’s suit is collateral damage from the Scruggs judicial scandal, which shed the light of day on Ed Peters’ activities vis a vis Judge DeLaughter in Scruggs’ legal battle with the Wilson law firm and gave reason to scrutinize his actions in Eaton. If Balducci’s efforts to corrupt Judge Lackey had succeeded or never been reported, what is the likelihood that the improprieties in Eaton would ever have been uncovered? And if Peters had gone undetected, would the defendants have suffered a billion-dollar miscarriage of justice? Thankfully, we will never know for sure.