DeLaughter still in custody, but ‘in transit’

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Former Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter may be one step closer to home from an 18-month prison term.
DeLaughter, 56, of Terry pleaded guilty July 30, 2009, to one count that he lied to the FBI in a case prosecutors dubbed “Scruggs II.”
In that case, the government alleged that then-Oxford attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and others bribed DeLaughter for a ruling in the legal-fees lawsuit Wilson v. Scruggs, which the judge presided over.
Ed Peters, DeLaughter’s mentor and former Hinds County district attorney, was hired for $1 million to be a local go-between by then-Booneville attorney Joey Langston, who represented Scruggs.
Facing a five-count indictment, DeLaughter pleaded guilty to one count – that he lied about illegal case-related conversations with Peters.
For his plea, DeLaughter agreed to an 18-month sentence and has been serving his time at a facility in McCreary, Ky.
Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website listed DeLaughter as “in transit,” four months out from his April 23 release date.
Typically, “in transit” means a prisoner is being moved to another facility. Often, a federal prisoner is moved to less restrictive custody four-to-six months from release to become more acclimated.
A BOP spokesman declined to provide specifics about the change of status, but several months ago when two other Scruggs-related defendants – Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson – were moved from federal prisons, the BOP said they usually place inmates at a halfway house nearest their home.
Mississippi’s halfway facilities are in Tupelo, Hattiesburg and Jackson.
Halfway house residents usually work during the day and return to the facility at night while still in federal custody.
When DeLaughter pleaded guilty, the government dismissed four other charges against him, including his corruption. He insisted he was never bribed.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.