Motorhome Diaries Crew in Court

Monday, September 14th, 2009

The three members of the Motorhome Diaries crew who were arrested a few months ago in Jones County, Mississippi recently had their first court appearance. Tom Schornhorst, a Fourth Amendment expert and professor emeritus at the Indiana University School of Law is representing them pro bono, and has an interesting write-up of what happened. In short, the case against them looks pretty thin.

Here’s a bit of an odd coincidence: Schornhorst found out about the case via my personal blog, The Agitator. One of the other lawyers helping out with their case is former Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Dale Danks. Danks also happens to be the private attorney of embattled Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne. interviewed the Motorhome Diaries guys twice, once before they began their cross-country trek, and again about midway through their adventures.

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27 Responses to “Motorhome Diaries Crew in Court”

  1. #1 |  Mario | 

    Professor Schornhorst, I won’t speak for everyone who reads this blog, but on behalf of what I presume are a good number of us, thank you.

  2. #2 |  Zargon | 

    Interesting stuff, but nothing surprising.

    Police fuck with some commoners because said commoners decline to act like slaves before their masters.

    Since there’s some attention on the case, the amount of losses and humiliation they’ll have to endure will be somewhat less (they’ll not be convicted of anything, but they already did some jail time, they’ll have to show up for court, deal with all that property damage and not be compensated for any of the above), and this will be held up as a shining example of the justice system working.

    Of course, if they hadn’t the good fortune of people noticing, their losses and humiliation would be multiplied several times over by getting convicted of whatever crimes disrespect of authority passes for these days.

  3. #3 |  BamBam | 

    I’d be afraid if Danks was my attorney. If he’s willing to defend Haynes, then all bet are off for your safety.

  4. #4 |  PeeDub | 

    I wouldn’t necessarily put Haynes and his lawyer in the same boat. Lawyers are paid by their clients; they don’t necessarily go out for beers with them.

  5. #5 |  William Pearson | 

    The more I learn about the case, the more Jones County Sheriff’s Department looks like a sadistic band of highwaymen. The MHD crew was stopped, assaulted, and robbed. Any other account or justification is simply propaganda.

  6. #6 |  BamBam | 

    Haynes is obviously corrupt to the root. You cannot be a person of integrity and strong moral fiber and defend this man, and fall back on “hey dude, it’s just a job I’m paid to do”.

  7. #7 |  BamBam | 

    BTW cops use the same argument of “hey dude, it’s just a job i’m paid to do” but add “it’s the law, i’m paid to uphold the law, if you don’t like the law then get it changed”. This argument falls apart immediately with a real world example such as “it was illegal for blacks to frequent white restaurants, was your argument valid then?” You can cite many examples, but bottom line is one has a moral obligation (if they give a shit about anything) to judge what they are doing to collect their cash money.

  8. #8 |  PeeDub | 

    Defend him? Or legally defend him?

    I think you probably don’t understand how the legal system works is supposed to work.

    My “win the lottery” job (i.e. what would I do if I won the lottery) would be a public defender, or something bigger in scope. There are a ton of those guys I wouldn’t “defend”, but I would certainly legally defend them to the fullest.

  9. #9 |  SusanK | 

    @ BamBam (#5)
    The same could be said for the MHD crew – obviously corrupt to the root. Who drives around the country in a motor home without drugs?
    My thought on the lawyer – if he’s willing to represent Haynes, he’s not afraid of a challenge.

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Isn’t there a saying “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.” Meaning that a conviction can be avoided, but the pigs still can drag you thru the process which costs time, money, and aggrevation.

    Until I see a conviction of the pigs for roughing up an innocent citizen, I stand unmoved from the premise that we’re cattle.

  11. #11 |  PeeDub | 

    Possibly his lawyer has a moral obligation to see that rights are preserved, whoever is being defended, such as Alan Dershowitz. I don’t know. He *could* be a giant paycheck douchebag. I also don’t know that.

  12. #12 |  pegr | 

    This will sail through court so fast, it’ll be a big disappointment. Judges are political figures, and this case has nothing but “lose” all over it (for the sheriff, that is). The judge, wanting no (excrement) to stick to his boots, will give it the heave-ho.

    To make anything stick to the sheriff, they are going to have to sue in federal court, and that will be tough. Their “free” lawyers may decide to run out of free time then.

  13. #13 |  Frank | 

    Mississippi exists so that those of us in West Virginia have someone to look down on.

  14. #14 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    MHD? trial?
    I thought they dropped charges on that stupid case.
    WHat are they gonna stick them with? Possession of beer?

  15. #15 |  BamBam | 

    “Who drives in a motorhome and doesn’t have drugs?” Obviously you’re trolling with such a statement. Next.

  16. #16 |  Mike | 

    “Haynes is obviously corrupt to the root. You cannot be a person of integrity and strong moral fiber and defend this man, and fall back on “hey dude, it’s just a job I’m paid to do”.”

    I think Haynes is probably corrupt to the root as well, however I completely disagree with this statement. Doesn’t the ACLU do this kind of stuff all the time? Can you not represent the KKK in a 1st ammendment case and not be sleazy? For that matter I thought a Lawyer was somewhat ethically obligated to keep clients that they take on.

    Heck it wouldn’t completely surprise me if Danks is on the case specifically because he also found out through the Agitator and this is as close as he could legally come (without ethics violations) to saying he supports Radley’s work.

  17. #17 |  tb | 


    I hear that quite frequently here in Alabama. But, you know, sub AL for WV…

  18. #18 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Haynes is a despicable piece of garbage. However, if I can ensure that despicable pieces of garbage have rights, I can know that my rights are safe.

  19. #19 |  Tokin42 | 

    So all the video has either been misplaced or erased, color me surprised.

  20. #20 |  Wavemancali | 


    I think Larry Flint is a degenerate asshole, but I’m certainly glad his lawyer defended him. I don’t read Hustler, but I’m smart enough to know that his case protected my right to free speech.

    You don’t have to like the person being defended to uphold the idea that in order for justice to exist, everyone has the right to a lawyer.

  21. #21 |  bob42 | 

    Before their trial began, the state benevolently offered a plea bargain that would have dropped the remaining trumped up charges and return the ransom the trio paid to continue their trip, IF they agreed not to pursue the matter any further.


    Memo to Sheriff Hodge and his power tripping badged buffoons:

    “You’re in a heap of trouble, son.

    Prior to their trial, the MHD guys spent about a week in the area, meeting and chatting with residents. Apparently more than a few people have had encounters with Hodge’s nut jobs. This website was created to document and share them.

  22. #22 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Ack, I accidentally hit the wrong button on bob42’s post above. Please mod him up.

  23. #23 |  Big Chief | 

    One thing to note about Danks. He may be Haynes attorney, but I bet he doesn’t do it pro bono like he is for MHD. I gotta think doing this pro bono speaks far more about him than who he takes as paying clients.

  24. #24 |  Steve Verdon | 


    Haynes is obviously corrupt to the root. You cannot be a person of integrity and strong moral fiber and defend this man, and fall back on “hey dude, it’s just a job I’m paid to do”.

    As much as I want to say, “Right!” I can’t. I can’t because I imagine there are many defendants where people often say the same things. That guy executed by the State of Texas for alleged torching his house and children? Not exactly a swell guy, but most likely innocent of the crimes he was executed for.

    One of the problems with defending freedoms is that you often have to defend the freedoms of those who are less than our ideals as citizens. Why? Because it is this group of people that are most easily abused early on, then as the abuse spreads we wish that we’d stopped it sooner.

  25. #25 |  Nipplemancer | 

    i’m with big cheif on this one. judge him by his pro bono clients, not the suckers who are paying him.

  26. #26 |  Mario | 

    Wavemancali @ 20

    I think Larry Flint is a degenerate asshole…

    Please don’t take this as a dig against everybody in law enforcement, but if the degenerate assholes who currently hide behind a badge or a D.A.’s credential instead peddled porn, this would be a better country.

  27. #27 |  TGGP | 

    From being mayor to assistant pro-bono defense lawyer? Does the judge also have to address him as “your honor” or “the honorable”?