Friday, June 10, 2011

Mississippi High Court: Judge Misused Contempt Powers Against Lawyer Who Refused To Say Pledge

In Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Littlejohn, (MS Sup. Ct., June 9, 2011), the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the public reprimand and assessment of $100 costs on a chancery court judge for misusing his powers of contempt.  Judge Talmadge Littlejohn ordered attorney Danny Lampley arrested for contempt when Lampley stood quietly and did not join in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance led by the judge.  According to the Clarion (MS) Ledger's report on yesterday's decision,  Lampley was held in jail for almost 5 hours. Judge Littlejohn admitted to the Judicial Performance Commission that his action violated Lampley's 1st Amendment rights and Littlejohn has agreed to change the way in which he leads the Pledge of Allegiance in the future. He will respect the rights of anyone who chooses not to join in the recitation.