More on Leigh Stubbs

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Leigh Stubbs’ brother-in-law left a few comments at Huffington Post that are worth reposting here:

I am Leigh Stubbs brother in law and I appreciate the author and the Huffington Post for featuring Leigh and the Innocence Project of Mississippi.

I would like to share a few comments about this article. Leigh was a college student when she approached her Mother and Father about her addiction. She sought help and completed the program at Caty Hill and she has been drug free since then. She was portrayed as a lesbian by Prosecutor Lampton to insight prejudice in the Lincoln County Mississipp­i Jury. Her sexuality is her business and not mine or Prosecutor Lamptons! The Circuit Judge Mike Smith served more as a prosecutor than a judge, telling Leigh’s father that he would sentence her to the maximum on every count BEFORE THE TRIAL BEGAN . . .

Leigh has spent the last 10 years teaching inmates in the GED program and working on various work details at Central Mississipp­i Correction­al Facility. She remains upbeat and looks forward to the day that she is home. Several people have commented about her smiling in her prisoner identification photo, Leigh smiled so her mother would enjoy her photo! . . .

It is hard to believe that Leigh’s been in prison for over 10 years. Only last month did the Mississippi Supreme Court recognize the merit in the Petition filed by the Mississippi Innocence Project on Leigh’s behalf. Thank you to former Supreme Court Justices Oliver Diaz and Chuck McRae, who showed moral courage in their dissent…saying the trial result would have been different had the judge not allowed West to testify as an expert in fields he was clearly not and expert in. We respect these men without reservatio­n and their words have sustained our families during difficult times, as have the prayers and support of our friends old and new.

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16 Responses to “More on Leigh Stubbs”

  1. #1 |  Brooks | 

    In my time as public defender, I ran into several judges who made up their mind about sentencing before trials began.

    The most egregious example was a poor old alcoholic who was facing his 3rd DUI. The charge was 5 years old, and he’d blown just a smidge over the legal limit, but he had an open container in the car, and was driving with no license, insurance, or registration.

    Pre-trial, the judge urged the DA to offer the guy 120 days (the minimum), which calculating good time credit and time served, would have meant another week or two in jail. The DA was a young kid who’d tried maybe 2 trials. He went back and forth to his office a couple times and finally caved and offered my guy the minimum.

    But pre-trial, the judge also said that she hated DUI and on a third, with him running from the law so long (5 year old charge), if he took it to trial and was convicted, she was going to “hammer” him. So the judge was simultaneously squeezing a minimum offer out of the DA and threatening the max to the same guy.

    If I’d had my stones about me I would have done a monologue on the record about what had happened in chambers. How it appeared to me that the judge was using her power to coerce, in the most extreme way possible, my client to give up his right to a jury trial, and would she like to explain for the record how she reconciled badgering the DA for a minimum offer while simultaneously threatening a max sentence. I didn’t fully grasp at the time, but she sure should have, that penalizing somebody for exercising a constitutional right is a violation of judicial ethics. It would have been interesting to see how that played out.

    The client ultimately decided to take the case to trial. We hung the “over the legal limit” count, but he was convicted on the “impaired” count. (What an amazing memory some cops have, lemme tell ya.) She sentenced him to the max, a year. (She gave concurrent time on the license/registration/insurance charges, I guess because I pled him out on those to keep that evidence out of the DUI trial). Poor guy did not understand how his sentence could suddenly triple just because he exercised a constitutional right. “She knew what they say I done before they came in and said it! What changed?!”

    At the end of the day, a lot of judges jealously guard their courtrooms. The judge above was, as I understand, peeved about spending three days on a misdemeanor DUI rather than some aggravated felony. Judges want to spend their time with the hard cases, the cases that matter. And when somebody who the judge views as obviously guilty dares to waste the judge’s time and taxpayer money by insisting on a meaningless trial, the judge is going to take it out on that person. But a lot of judges are pro-prosecution, and so what might be a “meaningless” trial in their eyes may actually result in an acquittal if you get 12 good jurors together.

    (Disclaimer: There are of course many great judges, maybe even a majority, who do not penalize people for exercising their constitutional right to a trial. I ran into plenty of those, too, including a few former prosecutors.)

  2. #2 |  Kool | 

    It’s shocking and not surprising. Fuck them all. How Hayne, West and people like Judge Smith sleep at night amazes me. I suppose ambien is a hell of a drug. Radley, btw I miss you over at HitnRun, but I am psyched you can (hopefully) reach a broader base at HuffPo to open people’s eyes to this type of “justice.”

  3. #3 |  Irving Washington | 

    I might cry.

  4. #4 |  2nd of 3 | 

    Meh, I say replace judges with computers, programed with relevant statute and case law, and the code publically availible for review. If Watson the computer can compete on Jepardy, the tech is basically there.

  5. #5 |  John David Galt | 

    When a judge admits to that sort of prejudgment, the system ought to allow defense counsel to automatically get that judge recused from the case. If there is even any disagreement with this, it means the system is corrupt.

  6. #6 |  H. Rearden | 

    Re #4

    You think there’s a problem with the concept of ‘zero-tolerance’ now? If a computer was programmed with all the senseless laws on the books and tasked with passing judgement, we’d all be in jail.

  7. #7 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    #4,

    Your position assumes that the laws are NOT written in a way that contradicts itself, which is not born out by any reading of history. A computer programmed to follow all the absurd laws that have been passed by some fifth rate politician whoring for the cameras would crash every time it was turned on.

  8. #8 |  crazybab | 

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2011/0811/Kids-for-cash-judge-sentenced-to-28-years-for-racketeering-scheme/(page)/2

  9. #9 |  Fascist Nation | 

    “The Circuit Judge Mike Smith served more as a prosecutor than a judge”

    That pretty much goes without saying no matter the judge.

  10. #10 |  croaker | 

    @4 @6 Watch the second episode of Blake’s 7 to see how that kind of “justice” would play out.

  11. #11 |  croaker | 

    @8 Can I hope he dies in prison from AIDS?

  12. #12 |  JS | 

    Brooks thanks for that story. It’s scary man I wouldn’t know what to do. Best to keep a low profile and not to get in the clutches of the American legal system at all I guess.

  13. #13 |  2nd of 3 | 

    “A computer programmed to follow all the absurd laws that have been passed by some fifth rate politician whoring for the cameras would crash every time it was turned on.”

    Exactly. :) Now you’re catching on.

  14. #14 |  firehat | 

    He mentions Oliver Diaz, the justice featured in Hot Coffee, the anti-tort-reform documentary that HBO aired. If the documentary is to be believed (and I am sympathetic to its aims), Diaz was hounded out of office by prosecutorial and business interests through abuse of the bullshit Jacksonian legacy of judicial elections.

  15. #15 |  Carley | 

    I know Leigh personally, and she is always smiling, even when she cries. this woman deserves freedom for coruptness and injustice in the “good ole boy” system our state has. Free Leigh!!!!

  16. #16 |  Carley | 

    Proud to say Leigh Stubbs will be released!!!!!

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