Thursday, October 3, 2019

ACLU & Madison Co. Try to Seal Settlement

The ACLU and Madison County are trying to seal a settlement agreement in federal court.  The two sides recently settled a lawsuit over the use of roadblocks in Madison County.  The motion for protective order states:

3. The final Settlement Agreement and Apartment Incident Agreement both contain confidentiality provisions that provide that their terms and conditions shall be maintained in strict confidence and shall not be released to any person or entity who is not a party, except under specific circumstances set forth in each Agreement.

4. The final Settlement Agreement and Apartment Incident Agreement further provide
that the parties, jointly, will ask this Court to enter a separate Order providing for the confidentiality of both Agreements to prevent any of their contents to be released to anyone.

5. The parties, pursuant to the terms of the final Settlement Agreement, are jointly moving
this Court for the entry of a Consent Decree. This Decree will be a matter of public record. The
parties seek only to maintain the confidentiality of the contents of the final
Settlement Agreement and the Apartment Incident Agreement....

8. Due to the nature of the litigation between the parties, Defendants highly anticipate
that outside parties will attempt to obtain the contents of the final Settlement Agreement and the
Apartment Incident Agreement despite the parties’ determining that the contents of these
two Agreements shall remain confidential. Such attempt may be made through public records
requests under the Mississippi Public Records Act, as well as through other legal proceedings.
One of the documents recently submitted stated monetary damages are going to be paid to the plaintiffs.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves. 

Kingfish note: Uh-huh.  Let's get something straight.  Madison County officials work for the people.  That means they have a duty, no, a commandment to report their actions to the people they represent.  Period.  The citizens of Madison County have every right to know the terms of any settlement agreement in this case.  If the ACLU doesn't like it, too damn bad.  The ACLU knew it was suing a government body and that it had no expectation of privacy. They also have a right to know how much money is paid to the plaintiffs on their behalf. 

The Hinds County Chancery Court ruled several years ago in the Motorola case that settlement agreements by government bodies were public records.  The Ethics Commission ruled settlement agreements were public records and the Attorney General has opined so as well.  Alan Lange and other media outlets successfully challenged the sealing of a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit between Attorney General Jim Hood and State Farm more than ten years ago.

One lawyer for Madison County said he was more than happy to defend the protective order (by the hour, of course).  We shall see.


Anonymous said...

"If the ACLU doesn't like it, too damn bad."

WTF are you talking about? The motion was filed by the County. Quit trying to make the ACLU your whipping boy. If you've don't like it, don't vote for Randy Tucker.

Also, if Reeves agrees to seal it, guess what? It's sealed. Supremacy clause, sports fans.

Anonymous said...

It appears that the ACLU took Madison County to the woodshed-

Anonymous said...

either way it should not be matter who wants it sealed.

Anonymous said...

Thr ACLU released the hounds from NYU and Columbia on Madison County. Now the Sheriff's Dept. Will be the ACLU's bitch.

The sad thing is that the crime is endemic and this will make it harder to fight crime.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, 10:29, for shining light on FAKE NEWS about the ACLU.

In my opinion, all settlements should be public, filed in courthouse records, and reported by the media, regardless of whether they involve private citizens, corporations, governments or anything else. The ONLY legitimate reason to seal a settlement agreement should be to protect minors' privacy.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to wager that those paragons of liberal journalistic virtue, the Clarion-Ledger, Jackson Free Press and Mississippi Today say absolutely nothing about this fiasco.

Hell, Madison County is a conservative county. Ladd should be going ape-shit that they are trying to cover-up this settlement. ESPECIALLY since she's been dropping all this bluster of late about "tough-love accountability journalism" and transparency.

Here's a chance to belittle and demean Madison County and those liberal schmoes are whistling while looking the other way.

Bizzarroworld said...

Madison Co. should ask China to investigate the ACLU.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with @11:11 above. I certainly think this settlement agreement should be public, because this a government body, with elected officials, using taxpayer money. But if two private citizens sue each other, I don't think the settlement should have to be public. Because the public has no rights to put their nose in the business of a private citizen.

This settlement however should absolutely be public.

Anonymous said...

First, ALL settlement agreements should not be public. If that were the default rule, then there would be far less disputes resolved short of a trial, which would swamp the judiciary and clog the dockets. But ALL settlement agreements involving injunctive relief and/or the expenditure of public funds should definitely be public record. While I don't give a shit about what Allstate paid to settle a fender bender, what my tax dollars are being used for and what agreements a government entered into to govern its conduct are critically relevant to a free society. Allowing a settlement agreement like this to remain cloaked under seal invites a host of problems down the road, aside from the obvious fact that the public has an interest in it. In the future, the board of supervisors could go into executive session to discuss matters related to the confidential settlement agreement and take significant actions outside of public scrutiny under the ruse that it is doing so under the terms of the secret agreement. It's complete bullshit. Also, why is it that Mike Wallace and Wise Carter seem to have their hands on all of these secret agreements? That guy is the most overrated lawyer in Mississippi who charges outlandish rates. And he's a complete asshole to boot.

Anonymous said...

DAMN MHB, where the hell are you? You should be alerting every resident of Madison about this outrage.

Anonymous said...

The slimeball Republicans of Madison County speaking out of both sides of their mouths! Who is truly surprised?

Anonymous said...

The ACLU, SPCA, Black Life Matter & all other civil right organizations are a shake down racket using race baiting tactics to extort money from anyone who has money. The United States is imploding within itself! Long live the New World Order!

Anonymous said...

@10:29 & @11:11 Cheerleaders, is it fake news that the ACLU is not disputing nor opposed to the motion to seal?

Anonymous said...

No side of this dispute should want this sealed. ACLU and P.D. agreeing to keep secrets, does not serve the citizens they both claim to protect.

Anonymous said...

I have been stopped at Madison County roadblocks on Yandell Road numerous times. I consider them to be a "taking" of my precious time without compensation. That being said, I believe that the roadblocks discriminated against anyone without a badge. Too bad the lawsuit was not on behalf of all citizens of the county and that the ACLU will not be refunding any settlement monies.

Anonymous said...

The Fake Antifa-Baltimore Crowd continues to rule this country.

As a society, we are in a shit-heap and Madison County is on the verge of welcoming it's third landfill.

Lumumbula Senior might have been right! This state will become the Republic of New Afrika.

Anonymous said...

12:35...You can't be serious. A legal sobriety checkpoint road block is a 'taking of your time'. You stupid dolt! Tell it to the mothers and dads sitting in the ER waiting room while surgeons are waiting on your/my child hit by a drunk driver. Taking your time without compensation my ass! You 'Precious' Dolt.

Anonymous said...

what a great pick the ole' misserites got for their chancellor!! har-de-har-har.

Anonymous said...

Why did high Sheriff Randy Tucker want it sealed?

He has nothing to hide.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of any reason for sealing this information. Can someone with legal background tell us why these things are sealed? What purpose is served?

(please hold the guesses from the cheap seats)

Anonymous said...

Clarion Ledger picked this up.

Madison County is the party wanting to keep the settlement a secret.

ACLU did not request this.

Anonymous said...

Let’s look at the optics, and ask who has the most to lose? Objectively and obviously both parties have something to hide, but the Madison County SO would be drained financially if they kept going toe to toe with the ACLU.

Anonymous said...

First, it was not (and would not be) the Sheriff who proposed that anything be sealed. That's the work and strategy of an attorney(s). People named in a lawsuit are not at that pay grade.

Second, Madison County SO was not defending this lawsuit. The county of Madison was. They pissed away more money on Rudy Warnock over the past ten years than it would have cost to defend the lawsuit. But, you cut your losses and move on.

There are way plenty of real and current criminals wearing nice loafers and diamond earrings in Canton for the justice system to be fiddle farting around with cops stopping people who need to be stopped.

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