By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Richard “Dickie” Scruggs asked the federal court for release from prison while the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals considers his second conviction.
Attorneys for Scruggs, 66, wrote that the former Oxford litigator is due for release from his first sentence on Nov. 6, and that granting bail before more prison time is tacked on for the second conviction poses no risk and avoids “a complete miscarriage of justice.”
Scruggs is completing his five-year sentence for a 2007 guilty plea to a scheme to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City.
The remainder of the second sentence – about two years – comes from a 2009 guilty plea to improperly influencing Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter of Hinds County, who presided over a legal-fees lawsuit against Scruggs.
His attorneys said he hasn’t begun serving the remainder of that sentence, for which they insist he is innocent.
“Thus, pragmatically,” they write, “the question is not whether to continue punishing (Scruggs) for this crime, it is whether to start.”
If he were allowed bail, they said he also could get medical attention, at his own expense, for a condition causing his right hand to contract and for a malignant cancer lesion on his forehead, both reportedly worsened without treatment because his Montgomery, Ala., prison camp is without a doctor.
In the DeLaughter case, Scruggs insisted his support of the judge’s ambitions for a federal judgeship were not bribery but protected political speech.
If his claims ultimately are denied by the 5th Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court, the motion stated, “he can always return to prison.”
“If he is denied bail,” but has his conviction overturned, it read, “those days of wrongful imprisonment can never be given back.”