Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Convict that will not go away or... an analysis of Zach's legal jihad

Here is an email I came across about Zach Scruggs' efforts to reverse his conviction. It makes some rather penetrating observations about the convict and the trial in Oxford a few weeks ago. It is posted below for your review.

On August 18, 2010, Zach Scruggs filed a motion to overturn his guilty plea. Everywhere the word “bribery” would be, he had substituted the word “earwigging”. Zach’s plea agreement was, “Guilty Plea: The defendant agrees to waive indictment and to plead guilty under oath to a one-count Information, which charges misprision of a felony…” Zach’s 2010 motion states he pled guilty to misprision of a felony “for failing to report Timothy Balducci’s earwigging of Judge Henry Lackey…”

Since that date, several motions have been filed (listed below) and a hearing was held on 5/23/11-5/25/11. After the hearing, the Government filed its motion to dismiss Zach’s petition. Zach filed a reply brief and a memorandum. In his memorandum, he called the US Supreme Court’s decision in Bousley “illegal, incoherent, and unconstitutional.” The Bousley decision by the US Supreme Court is important because that decision states that Zach (or anyone in his position) has to show ‘actual innocence’ in order to have his guilty plea overturned. And that’s ‘actual innocence’ to all the charges in the original indictment against him.

The Government filed a memorandum and response on 6/17. Today, Zach filed another reply “to give Petitioner the final argument.”

One very important thing to note: according to that US Supreme Court decision that required Zach to prove ‘actual innocence’, you would think after filing motions for the last 8 months saying he was innocent, he would have taken the stand during that May hearing. He did not. The hearing lasted 3 days. He never took the stand and claimed, under oath, he was innocent. He never took the stand and subjected himself to questioning from the Government.

Unless everyone keeps filing motions, Judge Biggers should rule fairly quickly. That’s why I wanted to send this update to you, to give you a heads-up.

More from the Government’s filings (for those who are interested):
The Government has pulled no punches in their filings. From their last filing:

“Neither the law nor the facts favor Petitioner, so he has commissioned his attorneys to rewrite the history of this case, making everyone a bad guy except Petitioner.”

“During the pendency of this litigation, Petitioner has alleged that he was not in the room on November 1, 2007, when money was discussed, but on the other hand, if he was, he was ‘disengaged’ from the conversation. Now, Petitioner opines that he might have been on his ‘Blackberry.’”

The November 1st meeting is the one that took place in Sid Backstrom’s office, with Baldacci wearing a wire, handing over the order that they had paid for with the bribery attempt to the Judge, and talking about having to pay the judge more ‘sweet potatoes’. That’s why Zach is so intent on making the case that he was not in the room during that November meeting. Keep in mind that Balducci was wearing a wire during this meeting so there is audio of that meeting.

“In reality, the pleadings filed by Petitioner’s counsel have been consistently disingenuous - and in reality he pled guilty because the government offered him an extremely favorable plea agreement. By pleading guilty he received a government recommendation of probation, whereas a conviction on the original charges would have subjected him to a lengthy prison sentence. Petitioner was dismayed that the Court actually sentenced him to confinement”

“Petitioner indicates that ‘several’ witnesses testified contrary to Tim Balducci regarding whether Petitioner heard or understood the ‘sweet potatoes’ and ‘we’re payin’ for it’ comment. ‘Several’ implies at least more than two. Petitioner has apparently mistaken one witness who couldn’t remember what happened as ‘several’ witnesses who testified contrary to Balducci as to what happened behind closed doors in Backstrom’s office on November 1, 2007.”

During the May hearing, Tim Balducci testified to everything on that day in November: who was standing where, what each person was doing, who was in the room, etc. The Government also had the wire tap to play in court as well as a transcript of the wire tap. When Sid Backstrom was called to the stand and asked point blank if Zach was in the room, he would not give an answer other than---I feel like, from listening to the tape, that…. His answers on the stand would not confirm what Zach wanted him to say. Instead Backstrom testified that he couldn’t really remember and that he ‘felt’ like this and that.

“Although Petitioner offered no evidence of his personal impressions of anything, including the events of November 1, 2007, he makes the outrageous suggestion that he was looking at his Blackberry as he walked out of the office when Balducci made the ‘we’re payin’ for it’ comment. This assertion of conjecture with no basis in evidence is one of many and is an attempt to mislead the Court. There was not a scintilla of evidence presented at the hearing that supports the assertion that Petitioner was distracted by a Blackberry in Backstrom’s office on November 1, 2007. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is totally unsupported by the evidence.”

“In addition to the incredible ‘Blackberry’ claim, Petitioner repeatedly made assertions that only he could testify to.” The Government makes reference to some items from Zach’s latest motion: ‘It is quite clear that Petitioner had no particular need to be in Backstrom and Balducci’s discussion, but just happened to wander in the room’; ‘Petitioner was startled and his mind was on the move.’ The Government states, “Startled? Mind on the move? There is absolutely no evidence in the record to support these assertions.”

“Richard Scruggs has a proven affinity for tampering with judicial proceedings and his stipulated testimony is a failed attempt to exonerate his own son from criminal liability that has no credibility.”

Zach had said that he was going to bring his father in to testify on his behalf at the hearing. The Government said no problem, bring him in and put him on the stand, and he can’t pled the 5th. Zach then stated that his father would come into court but he could only be asked about very specific things relating to Zach’s innocence. Days before the hearing, one of Zach’s lawyers cancelled bringing Dickie in. Instead, Dickie wrote a note to the court talking about his innocent son. That is what the Government is referring to in this statement.

“Ashley Young had a magical, but selective, memory of every detail of one particular day but could not remember even one of her college courses during the same time period and refused to simply admit that the November 1st tape contains the obvious sound of a door closing.”

During the hearing, after Balducci had testified to every detail from that November meeting, and Backstrom had said he didn’t really remember or he ‘felt’ like this or that, Zach called Ashley Young to the stand. She worked for Scruggs’ law firm while she was in school. She testified that she interrupted their meeting on that day and Zach left the room to take a phone call (meaning, he never heard about the ‘sweet potatoes’ or the order that they had paid for). Government had asked her if anyone had been in touch with her about what to remember. She said no. He then stated that she worked for the Scruggs while she was in school earning a degree. She said yes. He asked her what classes she was taking and she said she couldn’t remember. Government then said, you were in college taking classes towards a degree and can’t remember them but you somehow remember 1 specific day, the Scruggs office, with all the details, that took place 4 years ago?

History (Motions/Orders filed):
08-18-10, Motion to set aside verdict
09-16-10, Order Requiring Government to File Response
11-02-10, Government response
11-09-10, Zach reply to Government response
02-14-11, Zach motion to allow discovery
02-16-11, Judge order-no discovery
03-02-11, Zach Motion to Reconsider Order Disallowing Discovery
03-03-11, Government response to Zach discovery request
03-03-11, Zach response to Government response to discovery request
03-04-11, Zach motion to allow depositions
03-07-11, Order requiring Government to file response on depositions
03-11-11, Government response to depositions
03-14-11, Zach response to Government response
03-16-11, Order from judge regarding depositions
03-21-11, Zach motion to reset hearing date
03-21-11, Government response to Zach motion to move date
03-28-11, Order moving hearing date
04-14-11, Zach motion to disqualify Bob Norman
04-28-11, Government response to motion to disqualify Norman
05-02-11, Zach motion for writ of habeas corpus (bring Dickie in)
05-03-11, Zack reply to Government re disqualify Norman
05-04-11, Government response to Zach motion for summary judgment
05-09-11, Hearing
05-11-11, Order from Judge, disqualify Norman
05-12-11, Zach Statement Concerning Dickie’s Testimony
05-13-11, Order, partial summary judgment and Dickie coming in
05-18-11, Order, Request for Dickie rescinded
05-19-11, Zach motion for partial reconsideration of summary judgment
05-23-11, Hearing
05-26-11, Government motion to dismiss
06-08-11, Zach replies
06-17-11, Government memorandum and response
06-21-11, Zach motion to file reply in opposition to Gov. motion to dismiss


Anonymous said...

He needs to just let this go and move on. Does he not have anything better to do? If this is all an attempt to clear his name (which to me is impossible) Zach needs to restrategize. I know I'm not the first to suggest this but he would be much more effective at "improving" his name by showing first some responsability and remorse, then a willingness to put this behind him and create something positive in his life. MS is a forgiving people under reasonable circumstances but dang...I'm just over the legal fit-throwing, arrogance, and reluctance to face the facts. Move on, Mr. Scruggs, before you wear through the few remaining threads of care people may have for you.

J. Kev said...

The Plaintiff's bar ran this state like the mafia for 30+ years, to the point that the really rich ones began thinking the rules didn't apply to them. That's what led to the fall of Minor, Scruggs, et. al., and this analysis shows Zach is still captive to that mentality.

He should focus on financing movies (I'm serious), where he has means & opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Where is he now anyway- back in Oxford? He should long be out of jail unless I missed something (highly possible.)

Anonymous said...

He lives in Oxford with his wife and children.

Anonymous said...

embarrassed that i sent him a case once...

Anonymous said...

I'm a plaintiffs lawyer and proud of it because I work my ass off for people and businesses that deserve some justice. And I'm your best friend when you need me. Don't lump the majority of plaintiffs lawyers who are honest and hard working in with a bunch of crooks like the Scruggs. Good riddance to them!

Anonymous said...

@2:11- here, here!

I work for plaintiffs exclusively now, as I have most of my career, and I could list any number of careers that would require less work, less stress and less 24 hour obsession than what we do.

I don't have much of an opinion on the Scruggs mess that hasn't been stated a hundred times already, other than to note that it seems that home grown Mississippians who make it to the big time tend to fly a little too close to the sun; i.e., Scruggs, Ebbers and his crew.

Either way, keep working hard. Everybody on here who slams lawyers (and Plaintiff's lawyers in particular) calls one of them their own; and those who've not needed a Plaintiff's advocate before change their tune quickly when they need one.

Andrew M. Newcomb

Anonymous said...

You do realize that the Government filed their response two days late, right? If Zach had done that Judge Biggers would have dismissed the whole case. How is it that the Government can get away with skirting the law, again and again! Also, you missed the government's one page response filed Tuesday.

Shadowfax said...

Federal Judge Keady, circa '76, took away our rights to expect labor and crontition from prisoners and made it possible for every convict to spend hours, days, months in the law library building their individual house of cards. The Scruggs boys are no different in this regard from a tenth grade dropout claiming he was wrongly convicted of robbing the five and dime. Maybe after about five years of working as a 'runner' for an honest firm, they'll both have a 'come to Jesus' and lead a straight life.

Shadowfax said...

Holy Moley! Did I say 'crontition'?

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS