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CL – Lawyers champion judicial...

CL – Lawyers champion judicial reforms

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 20, 2008

Lawyers champion judicial reforms

Some questioned whether the state bar has done enough to combat corruption.

Adam Kilgore, general counsel for the bar, responded that the bar’s function is to investigate complaints when they’re filed and to take disciplinary action when needed.

Lawyer Scott Newton, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, said he’s not sure the bar could have done anything because the alleged bribery took place secretly.

“We hope and pray what’s going on now out of Oxford are isolated incidents,” said Bobby Bailess of Vicksburg, president of the Mississippi Bar.

He had no clue anything like this was happening, he said. “I’m shocked. I’m disappointed. I’m angry. The practice of law is a privilege.”

Drinkwater suggested a commission be created and funded by lawmakers that would review the entire judicial structure for possible reform. “Sometimes I think it’s easier for legislators to react to the report of a commission rather than independently look at it,” he said.

But others say such a commission would be influenced by the person making the appointments. “It would be controlled by politics,” said Joey Diaz, president of the Mississippi Association for Justice, formerly known as the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association.

Clarion Ledger

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This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.