Appeals courts set to consider Scruggs cases

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Zach and Dickie Scruggs’ criminal convictions are moving along in the federal appeals chain.
The U.S. Supreme Court will discuss Feb. 15 whether to hear Zach Scruggs’ appeal from a 2008 guilty plea that he knew about a colleague’s illegal conversation with the judge presiding over a lawsuit against him and others.
Zach appeals the decision from the 5th Circuit, which last October upheld his conviction from the Northern District of Mississippi.
Attorneys for his father, Richard F. “Dickie” Scruggs, will present oral arguments on his behalf March 4 before the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.
Dickie Scruggs of Oxford is appealing his 2009 conviction in a judicial bribery scheme allegedly aimed at Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter, also presiding over a lawsuit against the Scruggses and others.
He insists it was protected “political speech” and not a bribe when he had someone tell DeLaughter he supported him for a federal judgeship.
Zach Scruggs, who served a 14-month prison sentence, insists he is innocent of what he pleaded guilty to. He also says that because of a 2010 Supreme Court decision, that crime isn’t even a crime anymore.
The Scruggses, then high-powered Oxford lawyers, and three others were swept up in a 2007 judicial bribery scandal in which everyone pleaded guilty and went to prison.
Dickie Scruggs completed his jail time on the first indictment and is free on bond while he awaits the 5th Circuit’s decision relating to the second case.
All the lawyers lost their licenses to practice law.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com