Give Thanks for Your Freedom, Son, Or I’m Sending You to Jail

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I have a feeling this story will soon be national news. From the NMissCommentor, a legal blog in Mississippi:

[Attorney] Danny Lampley . . . was jailed by Chancery Court Judge Littlejohn in Tupelo for failing to recite the pledge of allegiance in open court today.  Danny was one of the local lawyers who represented the plaintiff in the Pontotoc school prayer case years ago, working with the ACLU and People for the American Way.

I’m informed that Danny rose and was respectful, but did not recite the pledge…

The order incarcerating him provides:

BE IT REMEMBERED, this date, the Court having ordered all present in the courtroom to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegience, and having found that Danny Lampley, Attorney at Law, failed and refused to do so, finds said Danny Lampley to be in criminal contempt of court.

The order states that for this, Danny Lampley “is hereby ordered to be incaraerated in that Lee County jail.” The order continues:

IT IS FURTHER ORDED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED, that Danny Lampley shall purge himself of said criminal contempt by complying with the order of this Court by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court.

I’d say it’s time Judge Littlejohn turned in his robe. This is just astonishingly ignorant, arrogant, and thuggish. Oh, and illegal. It’s also way illegal. Like, not even close.


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85 Responses to “Give Thanks for Your Freedom, Son, Or I’m Sending You to Jail”

  1. #1 |  rumpole | 

    @John Jenkins:
    Well said. And it’s the fact that it’s a well-established right is what might strip those that executed the order of their qualified immunity. (I think this is a tougher case, as although the judge is wrong, there’s a process to correct it–appeal, not lawsuits.). There has got to be a way to get his imprisonment into federal court.

  2. #2 |  Chris in AL | 

    I lived in Tupelo for many years. My parents are still there (though I don’t know why). And I lived in Pontotoc when that previous case was going on. This surprises me not at all. One might think that in this day and age something like this can’t happen. But let me assure you that Mississippi is NOT in this day and age. It is like Little House on the Prairie, but with pick up trucks.

  3. #3 |  SpecKK | 

    After a friends suggestion, I stand and pledge allegiance to the constitution.

    An alternative pledge to uphold the principles associated with practicing law and the civil system should be made available when someone refuses to support unconstitutional statism like this.

  4. #4 |  John Jenkins | 

    The judge’s absolute immunity does *not* protect him from criminal prosecutions, only from civil liability. He could still be charged with a criminal civil rights violation, but it’s unlikely here.

  5. #5 |  Bookerdann | 

    Note that the lawyer wasn’t jailed for not pledging allegiance to the United States of America. He was jailed for not pledging allergenic to the FLAG of the United States of America. Maybe the judge should be jailed for forcing people to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth instead of their country.

    All that’s missing is the banjo music and Ned Beatty squealing like a pig.

  6. #6 |  Rebecca | 

    I live in Mississippi and I am appalled by this Judge’s action. I would also like to say that there are people like this all over this country, not just in Mississippi. I know there are a lot of reasons to hate on my state but I wish everyone would realize that there are a LOT of us here who do not and will not ever stand for what people like this Judge represent. Just sayin’. We aren’t all bastards down here and not all bastards live in Mississippi.

  7. #7 |  Sky | 

    #35 wrote “Out of curiosity what do you think is illegal about this order?”

    That you even need to ask speaks VOLUMES!

    #37 wrote “Already ten people have been misled to vote on some judge called Kitchens.”

    It wasn’t an attempt to mislead. While I was there I also voted on Kitchens (who happens to be a Judge referenced in several articles by the Agitator) and I copy/pasted the last link I used. Kitchens should also be disbarred

  8. #8 |  JS | 

    Sky “#35 wrote “Out of curiosity what do you think is illegal about this order?”

    That you even need to ask speaks VOLUMES!”

    Then include me too because I didn’t know it was illegal or why. I’m not a lawyer and I’ve learned a lot since I started reading this blog from the commenters, but I didn’t know why it was illegal.

  9. #9 |  Sky | 

    Just as the government can’t force someone to pray they can’t force you to pledge your allegiance to any country.

  10. #10 |  Kevin3% | 

    #57 JS:

    That is the point. It is not illegal!!!

    This black robed criminal is so full of himself and so drunk with his power that he thinks he can demand anything and woe be unto anyone who disagrees.

    Just because a cop, a prosecutor, a judge says something is illegal does not make it so. This blog is replete with examples of agents of the state lying, using intimidation and coercion to get their way.

    None of it makes any of their actions legal.

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    I hate to admit it but I didn’t know that.

  12. #12 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “This black robed criminal is so full of himself and so drunk with his power that he thinks he can demand anything and woe be unto anyone who disagrees.”

    Get off your high horse, Kevin. The Judge has a hard job to do
    and the first step toward directing fair and proper court proceedings is order. Order in the Court.

    The Pledge of Allegiance is part of that protocol. The attorney is an Officer of the Court and has an Affirmative Duty to comply with protocol.
    Or maybe prefer you prefer screaming and kicking in the aisles, such as you often see in Communist regimes, where indoctrination is compulsory.

  13. #13 |  John Jenkins | 

    @Kevin: I am not sure using pronouns is helping you here. The chancellor’s order is facially invalid and illegal.

  14. #14 |  John Jenkins | 

    @Yizmo: Your statement of the law is incorrect. If the attorney had actively disrupted the saying of the pledge, or disrupted court proceedings in some other way, then a finding of contempt might be supportable. However, a finding of contempt for simply failing to recite the pledge is facially unconstitutional and invalid. Judicial officers are not free from constitutional restraints, even with the broad authority they are often given to regulate conduct in the courtroom.

  15. #15 |  GT | 

    @JohnJenkins: you wrote “I can’t believe any deputy executed it”… are you out of your mind? There has never been a tyranny that has not been aided by badge-wearing whip-kissing thug-drones.

    In fact, it’s the one constant of politics: without a cadre of thugs to enforce the political class’s whims, living by the ‘political means’ (force and fraud) is impossible.

    Thug-drones opened fire on students at kent State; thug-drones wielded batons to uphold Jim Crow; thug-drones shot Jean Charles de Menezes in the back of the head seven times; thug-drones killed Ian Tomlinson.

    They shoot puppies as a matter of daily routine, for fuck’s sake. And you’re shocked that they could find one in Redneck Wonderland who was prepared to do exactly as he was told, like a good house nigger? Sheeee-t.

    Cheerio

    GT

  16. #16 |  GT | 

    Oh – and I forgot… this ‘pledging allegiance’ thing that you Yanks do is fucking creepy. Absolutely fucking creeps me out. it’s primitive and atavistic – and typically American in its sloganeering-trumps-reality meme. It’s like soemthing from a Soviet archive.

    Fortunately, the US is in the process of the biggest national ‘an hero’ since Rome (arguably, you could make the case that the British or Spanish imperial an heroes were larger than Rome).

    And yes, ‘an hero’ is now a noun (and also a verb, even).

    Pledging allegiance? Fucking creepy. As creepy as child pronography, and only possible if you indoctrinate (i.e., psychologically abuse) your children. Just like religion…

    Cheerio

    GT

  17. #17 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “I’d say it’s time Judge Littlejohn turned in his robe.”

    Littlejohn? More like the Sheriff of Nottingham.

  18. #18 |  Cynical in CA | 

    With you all the way GT. My kids know they have options. So do their school principals, courtesy of me.

  19. #19 |  JS | 

    GT “Oh – and I forgot… this ‘pledging allegiance’ thing that you Yanks do is fucking creepy. Absolutely fucking creeps me out. it’s primitive and atavistic – and typically American in its sloganeering-trumps-reality meme.”

    That was really well said!

  20. #20 |  Bergman | 

    Title 18, Chapter 13, Section 242 of the US Code. Government officials, such as judges or prosecutors or police, do not have immunity under that statute.

  21. #21 |  Uptownbro41 | 

    yeah no, but how does that “God Save The Queen” song go, all modern-like & unatavistically I’m sure?

  22. #22 |  croaker | 

    @22

    “In a mature society, ‘civil servant’ is semantically equal to ‘civil master’.”

    Robert Heinlein, speaking as Lazarus Long.

  23. #23 |  Donald | 

    It would be so awsome if he said OK and then soon as the words “and liberty and justice for all” passed he lips he would add “except in the mother Fing courtroom bitch” then gave the judge the finger and dropped his pants.

  24. #24 |  Dan | 

    If someone is being forced to say the pledge, perhaps they could use the original raised hand salute, just to keep it authentic.

    Resisting the collective is draining. A Cuban I knew said sometimes as a kid she would get worn out from her passive resistance to State worship and when she was tired sometimes it was just easier to put on the red bandana, salute the flag, and sing the patriotic song.

  25. #25 |  Sky | 

    #56 Rebecca wrote “I live in Mississippi and I am appalled by this Judge’s action. I would also like to say that there are people like this all over this country, not just in Mississippi. I know there are a lot of reasons to hate on my state but I wish everyone would realize that there are a LOT of us here who do not and will not ever stand for what people like this Judge represent. Just sayin’. We aren’t all bastards down here and not all bastards live in Mississippi.”

    Agreed Rebecca but you are assuredly in a minority there.

  26. #26 |  You Can’t Force People to Say the Pledge of Allegiance | theConstitutional.org | 

    […] but didn’t speak.) “Give thanks for your freedom, son, or I’m sending you to jail,” is how Radley Balko (The Agitator) […]

  27. #27 |  pam | 

    well, maybe if we say it enough over and over we’ll believe there is liberty and justice for all.

    JS-“soviet archive” lol

  28. #28 |  pam | 

    I think that would be GT not JS. ooops

  29. #29 |  NomDeWeb | 

    In high school, I once refused to stand for the pledge. My French teacher, a naturalized citizen from Panama whose French accent was…interesting, insisted that I stand up for my country; she either didn’t notice or didn’t understand why I saluted the flag with a straight arm…

  30. #30 |  pam | 

    do you think the judge was looking for trouble? The lawyer wasn’t being pro-active he was being passive; the judge seemed to pick his non-moving lips out a of a crowd of moving lips and this drew the judge’s contempt.

    Personally, I’ve always felt that pledges and songs we are required to recite and sing before various public functions (games, school concerts, courts, meetings etc, etc.) are voluntary. I never felt participation was mandatory. I never felt I could be arrested for not participating (or participating) whichever the case may be. Regurgitating silly meaningless words on demand should be a choice.

  31. #31 |  End-of-the-week links « The Country Estate | 

    […] Andrew Sullivan, Radley Balko: Tupelo, Miss. judge Talmadge Littlejohn sends an attorney to jail for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in court. Oh my God. This is our country. Leaving […]

  32. #32 |  Al Tyler | 

    When a judge violates an attorney’s first Amendment right to freedom of speech as well as possible Civil Rights Violations (regardless of his otherwise stellar record) … then perhaps it’s time for said judge to retire. That or be disbarred.

  33. #33 |  Edward | 

    I have had dealings with Judge Littlejohn before. He quoted the bible from the bench while I was on the stand. My ex-wife was caught lying on the stand but he did nothing to her. He also, in his final ruling on the case, after my ex-wife testified that she had lied about being molested by her step-father, said that he knew that girls that age lied about that kind of thing and then went on to give her custody of our two sons, both of whom she allows to go and stay with her step-father and mother at least once a week on average and at that time was living right next door to them. (She was removed from the home when she was 13 after she testified before another Judge saying that she was being physically and sexually abused by her step-father, but when this was brought up in court during our divorce and custody hearing (2008) she said that she had lied about that and was not molested even though she had voluntairly given me custody of the boys in 2003 and had agreed to not leave the boys in the care of her step-father). And in 2009, Judge Littlejohn allowed her to keep custody of the boys even though she admitted under oath to having struck one of the boys on the back leaving a hand print (pictures were presented as evidence) because he had thrown a Nerf bullet at her. And one of my sons informed me recently that his step-grandfather had thrown another child across the bed into the floor one night when several of them had been left there to spend the night while their parents were out. And to let you know, I have court documents and pictures to back up what I have said here.

  34. #34 |  Edward | 

    I want to add something to my previous comment. I also have 3 other boys from a prior marriage, of which I have SOLE custody of them. But yet, Judge Littlejohn did not think I should be allowed to keep custody of my 2 youngest sons. Yes, I said keep because at the time of the first hearing (2004) I had temporary custody of them. My then wife, had walked out and left them with me in 2003 and had voluntairly given me temporary custody and had agreed in the Court Order to NOT leave the children in the care of her step-father due to what he did to her when she was a child, per her testimony back then.

    If anyone wants to contact me then you may do so at my email.
    edward327@hotmail.com

  35. #35 |  Ron Paul Pumpkin, Jailed for not saying pledge, Dangerous business-children, and other Mixed Links « Political News Online | 

    […] Give thanks for your freedom, or go to jail! […]