07 Oct Sleazeball Alert – Judge Talmadge Littlejohn
Talmadge Littlejohn, a Mississippi Chancery Court Judge, held attorney Danny Lampley in contempt of court and sent him to jail because Lampley declined to recite the Pledge of Allegiance when ordered. (source)
The judge’s order says:
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.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED, that Danny Lampley, Attorney at Law is in criminal contempt of court for his failure to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance as ordered by the undersigned Chancellor and is hereby ordered to be incarcerated in the Lee County Jail.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, 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. (Order)
Absolutely amazing. This “judge” (or “chancellor” as he is referred to) is such a petty, small-minded, and uneducated moron that he completely pissed on his own oath of office.
On the other hand, I do have to question whether the lawyer showed good judgment. While a judge trying to compel someone to say the Pledge is disgusting, unless the Lawyer’s client approved of his actions, I can’t say that this was the right time for Mr. Lampley to stand up for himself.
I am as anti-Pledge as anyone, and I think that a judge who compels anyone to say the Pledge should be impeached. Nevertheless, had I been in that courtroom representing a client, I would have swallowed my pride and played along.
You don’t have to dig deep in this blog to figure out how I feel about religion. Nevertheless, I have practiced law underneath clearly unconstitutionally – posted renditions of the Ten Commandments. I’ve even had a judge swear me in to his Federal Bar, immediately before a hearing, and had him ask (at the end of my oath), “so help you god?”
At that moment, every fiber in my mind screamed at me to speak up — to politely decline to add the little superstitious bullshit to the end of my oath. But as the desire rose up in me, I remembered that I was not there to stand up for myself. I was there to stand up for a client in a trademark infringement suit. My client did not pay for me to fly all the way to this distant court, to prepare for the hearing, all to have his interests prejudiced by my desire to stand up for the Constitution.
So I shut up, and nodded my head politely, and that was the end of it… and then I trounced my dipshit adversary and came home with a victory under my belt.
It might have been the same, had I said “your honor, with all respect, I do not believe in god, but I do affirm everything I just said.” However, it might not have been. Had my client been the Freedom From Religion Foundation, perhaps then it would have been appropriate. But, one of the roughest things about being a lawyer is that you need to remember that it is not about you — it is about your client.
Naturally, Mr. Lampley may have cleared his position with his client. He may have known his client would support his position. And, even if he went right off the reservation with his conduct, it doesn’t change the fact that Judge Littlejohn is a petty little shit, unfit to judge an ugly dog contest, much less the rights of his fellow citizens.
That all said, it is pretty clear that nobody out there will learn from the Judge’s conduct. I’m sure that this kind of thing will happen again. We will never change the minds of those who fetishize a piece of cloth over the principles that this country stands for. But, perhaps my lawyer readers will think about Mr. Lampley’s client and turn this into something positive.