Judge Neal Biggers handed down Dickie Scruggs fate calling his conduct reprehensible. Dickie Scruggs will serve five years in federal prison and pay a $250K fine.
Accounts from Sun Herald
Before sentencing, Scruggs told the judge, “I could not be more ashamed to be where I am today. I realized I was getting mixed up in it and I will go to my grave wondering why. I have disappointed everyone in my life – my wife, family and friends here to support me today. I deeply regret my conduct. It is a scar and a stain on my soul.”
…The judge concluded that the amount involved was $400k, although he said that was low. He concluded that Scruggs was a leader in the scheme, that he sent Balducci to talk to Judge Lackey, “starting a scheme to corrupt the integrity of the Lafayette County Circuit court whether money was involved at that stage or not.” There is “no doubt in the court’s mind that Scurggs was a leader, planner.” He noted that Backstrom did not make decisions on his own– he’d tell Balducci he would get back to them.
The court found reason to depart upward in the fine range. He required the defendant to pay the cost of his own incarceration and would impose that. The court stated, “Even though it may be a moot point, there is osme question in the court’s mind the court would like to inquire into acceptance of responsibility.”
NMC also reports that Keker asked for 30 days to get his affairs in order and that he serve in Pensacola (look out cellmate Paul Minor!).
Comments from Institute for Legal Reform
“Dickie Scruggs famously coined the phrase ‘magic jurisdictions’ – notorious local hot spots of trial lawyer influence where judges are ‘elected with verdict money’ and defendants find it ‘almost impossible to get a fair trial.’ While Mr. Scruggs made a living by tilting the legal odds in his favor, his sentence of five years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge proves there are some lines that cannot be crossed.
From Legal Newsline
The five-year sentence was the maximum allowed under Scruggs’ plea deal with federal prosecutors, who first alleged in November that Scruggs attempted to bribe Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey with $50,000 in exchange for a favorable ruling in a dispute with a former business partner over at least $26.5 million in attorneys fees.
Scruggs had asked for only a 2 1/2-year sentence, while federal prosecutors recommended all five years.
Biggers said he was “personally shocked” when he first heard of the case, a shock that was sustained when he first saw the Government’s evidence.
The harshness of the sentence — which includes a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and the price of his incarceration — can be traced to Scruggs’ motives. Biggers said there is a difference between a criminal stealing out of necessity and what Scruggs did.