Miss. judge's downfall called tragic

Jan. 4, 2010 at 2:41 PM
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JACKSON, Miss., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The fall of a former Mississippi prosecutor and judge who was convicted of corruption is a tragic tale, a legal expert says.

Matt Steffey, a professor at Mississippi College School of Law, told Monday's Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger that the fate of Bobby DeLaughter is sad because, despite his conviction on obstruction of justice charges, he was still a good public servant.

DeLaughter, who as an assistant prosecutor played a key role in obtaining a 1994 conviction against Byron De La Beckwith for the 1963 civil rights-era assassination of Medgar Evers, was set to begin an 18-month prison sentence Monday, the newspaper said.

"It's tragic for him, tragic for his family and tragic for our state," Steffey told the newspaper. "People do things that are very good and very bad. We either try to minimize the bad things or minimize the good things. Neither one of those things is good. Fundamentally Bobby DeLaughter is a good public servant who made some serious criminal mistakes."

The Clarion-Ledger said DeLaughter stepped down as a Hinds County, Miss., circuit judge in July after pleading guilty in a corruption investigation involving multimillionaire former lawyer Dickie Scruggs.

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