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DJ EDITORIAL: Legal reform

DJ EDITORIAL: Legal reform

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 27, 2008

EDITORIAL: Legal reform

Several levels of response are needed:

– An explanation for the lack of investigative initiative by the office of the Mississippi attorney general and local district attorneys in the Scruggs-related cases and previous criminal prosecution of judicial corruption on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, also initiated and moved forward by federal prosecutors.

– A thorough examination of the practice of outsourcing of cases by the office of the attorney general to private-sector law firms, especially to major campaign contributors. Langston, in one prominent example, was hired by Attorney General Jim Hood to recover funds owed Mississippi by the former MCI telecommunications giant. The state received a settlement of $114 million. Langston, a major contributor to Hood’s political campaigns, was paid $14 million by court agreement.

Earlier, in the tenure of former Attorney General Mike Moore, Scruggs, in behalf of the state, sued Big Tobacco for reimbursement of state funds spent treating tobacco-linked illness among indigents.

That landmark outcome won a multi-billion settlement for Mississippi, other states – and it paid Scruggs $800 million for his work, by court agreement.

Scruggs was closely, politically linked to Moore, as he is to Hood.

These practices take on a much more troublesome appearance with the revelation of alleged corruption that had to be uncovered by federal rather than state authorities.

NE MS Daily Journal

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This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.