As Langston nears release, home appears a lot like jail

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Former attorney Joey Langston may be headed home soon from prison for house detention in Booneville, but he’ll abide by all the rules as if he were in the transition of a halfway house.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills recently amended Langston’s 36-month sentence to reward his government assistance in the 2007 prosecution of Langston’s former client, Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Oxford, and others alleged to have been involved in one or more judicial bribery schemes.
“Home detention is still an extension of a half-way house,” said Leslie Castro of Miami, Fla., a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which supervises federal prisoners’ release and transition to free-world society.
Usually, before a federal prisoner is released, the prisoner spends four to six months in a BOP halfway house that’s as close to home as feasible.
Many prisoners from north Mississippi are assigned to a Tupelo facility.
Unless the person has significant health problems, he or she must work and then return to the facility at night. The halfway house usually receives a percentage of the prisoner’s gross salary.
In Langston’s case, Mills’ order states, the 53-year-old former lawyer doesn’t need help with getting a job or finding a place to live.
“Such goals are unnecessary in this case,” it reads.
Tony Farese, Langston’s attorney, said Langston will have work, but he declined to say what he will be doing.
Langston has less than two weeks to spend in the Federal Prison Camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., then he’ll be transferred to home detention on an electronic monitor, which he’ll pay for. His official release date is Nov. 25, then he’ll be on supervised release for three years.
Langston was one of Mississippi’s most successful plaintiffs’ lawyers before Jan. 7, 2008, when he pleaded guilty to his part in financing a scheme through former Hinds District Attorney Ed Peters to improperly influence then-Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter.
DeLaughter was the presiding judge in a lawsuit against Scruggs and others over legal fees from a national asbestos lawsuit.
DeLaughter maintains he was never bribed, but he pleaded guilty in early 2009 to lying to the FBI about conversations with Peters.
Peters got immunity from prosecution in exchange for government cooperation.
DeLaughter is due for release from a New Orleans half-way house April 23.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.