BREAKING: Mississippi Supreme Court Censors Dissenting Opinion | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

BREAKING: Mississippi Supreme Court Censors Dissenting Opinion

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Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz spoke at a forum on political prosecutions last week.

The Mississippi Supreme Court censored the dissenting opinion (PDF, 456 KB) of Justice Oliver Diaz yesterday, a possibly "unprecedented" move "in the history of American jurisprudence," according to Diaz.

"Never before has a majority voted to prohibit a dissent in Mississippi," Diaz said Thursday night. "I've never seen it happen, and I don't think it ever has."

Diaz dissented on the Supreme Court's ruling on a motion in a wrongful death suit brought by the family members of Billy Pettigrew against the Mississippi State Veterans Affairs Board. The case is before Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green.

The MSVAF filed a motion to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations, but the court rejected the motion. They then appealed the motion to the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court's ruling.

Diaz' dissent contains no outright attack on the Supreme Court or its members, merely citing a list of case law supporting an alternative reason to reject the motion. Diaz said he was not clear why the court voted to order the court clerk not to file his dissent with the case file.

Former Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae said he was appalled at the court's decision, which he claimed undermined democracy.

"There is no authority to censor a Supreme Court judge's ruling or clarification of his vote if he decides to publish it. You cannot muzzle a Supreme Court justice vote. He or she has a right to express their opinion on it," McRae said. "To limit what a justice says would be simply muzzling free speech and his right to explain his decision to his constituents."

Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Smith did not return calls.

Previous Comments

ID
133470
Comment

I turning in my law license. Where there is no justice there is no peace, democracy or decency.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-08-22T14:07:26-06:00
ID
133478
Comment

Our Supreme Court is a piece of work, especially that chief justice. Talk about activist judges who believe they are there to legislate from the bench.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-08-22T15:29:38-06:00
ID
133481
Comment

A good man is running against him who I hope will succeed in sending him to the house for some very needed rest and distance from the rest of us. If I"m not mistaken Mr. Smith is from Louisville to boot.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-08-22T15:40:32-06:00
ID
133486
Comment

The Mississippi Supreme Court didn't exactly "uphold" the trial court's ruling. They dismissed the appeal as improvidently granted which has the effect of letting the trial court's ruling stand but postpones the issue for another day. In previously granting the interlocutory appeal, one might assume they did so in order to reverse the trial court's ruling but, for whatever reason, they decided not to decide the issue.

Author
Jennifer2
Date
2008-08-22T16:07:16-06:00
ID
133621
Comment

Help....I am confused. I read the above article to say that the "MSVAF filed a motion to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations, but the (lower?)court rejected the motion. They then appealed the motion to the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court's ruling." I'm no lawyer, but if 1) The "lower court" is Tommy Green and the Hinds County Circuit Court, and if 2) Tommy Green and the Hinds County Circuit Court (lower court) REJECTED the request for a dismissal based on the expiration of the statute of limitations, and if 3) The Supreme Court UPHELD the "lower courts" decision (rejection)of the appeal to dismiss...then 4) The Supreme Court agrees with Tommy Green's "lower court" decision and the motion to dismiss is UPHELD Have I missed something?

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-08-26T14:36:46-06:00
ID
133622
Comment

You did dramatically miss the spelling of Judge Tomie Green's name. ;-) I'll leave the other answers to Adam, or someone who knows this case better than I do.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-08-26T14:39:25-06:00
ID
133623
Comment

OOOoooppps.. Please correct line 4 to read 4-revised) The Supreme Court agrees with Tommy Green's "lower court" decision and MSVAF motion to dismiss is still REJECTED

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-08-26T14:42:01-06:00
ID
133625
Comment

Casual, now we're confused. Are you challenging something said in the article? If so, get to the point and ask the question. Adam has factchecked this piece, and the "lower court" language, and everything seems kosher. Or, are you withdrawing your question? Spell it out for us. It's Tuesday (press day), and we're too busy to try to read your mind.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-08-26T15:06:03-06:00
ID
133627
Comment

According to my reading of the article the Supreme court agreed with the lower courts ruling to REJECT the motion to dismiss the case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. So did the supreme court refuse to accept the alternate case law Diaz cited to SUPPORT the REJECTION of the motion to dismiss? Or did the supreme court refuse to accept the alternative case law Diaz cited to OPPOSE the UPHOLDING of the motion to dismiss?

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-08-26T16:17:58-06:00
ID
133629
Comment

Adam's gone, but I'll get him to look at your question tomorrow. I do know that he checked the facts exactly as it's written more than once.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-08-26T16:23:01-06:00
ID
133635
Comment

The Supreme Court ended up refusing to take the case so they didn't express an opinion one way or another. Tomie Green's ruling (which one would have to assume rejected the defendant's argument that the case should be dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired) stands for now. Should plaintiff win in the end, the defendant can still challenge the SOL ruling on appeal.

Author
Jennifer2
Date
2008-08-26T17:31:58-06:00

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