James Crockett at Lemuria

James R. Crockett will be signing copies and talking about his new book Power, Greed, and Hubris: Judicial Bribery in Mississippi at Lemuria Books tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.

Power, Greed, and Hubris details the sensational judicial bribery scandals rocked Mississippi’s legal system and involved famed trial lawyers Paul Minor and Richard “Dickie” Scruggs. Crockett tells readers how federal authorities, following up on information provided by a bank examiner and a judge who could not be bribed, toppled Minor, Scruggs, and their enablers in what was exposed as the most significant legal scandal of twenty-first-century Mississippi.

This book collects the convoluted stories that surround the dramas that eventually put three of the judges, six of the attorneys and the former auditor in federal prison. All of the men involved were successful professionals and three of them, Minor, Scruggs, and fellow attorney Joey Langston, were exceptionally wealthy.

The tales related about these scandals and the actions of Paul Minor and Richard Scruggs are almost unbelievable. Two highly successful and very wealthy men perched at the top of their profession got themselves involved in judicial bribery. Others willingly become their minions in power plays designed to distort the very rule of law that most of them had sworn to uphold.

In an interview with the Clarion-Ledger published last week, Crockett was asked, "Why did this story need to be told in this form?" He answered:

A book was needed to bring the whole convoluted story together in a concise form. I believe there are two very significant things about the story. It shows how power, greed and hubris can lead to the downfall of accomplished people, and it shows that the legal system worked to cleanse itself of major malefactors. There are two major moral lessons for readers. First, no one is above the law, so beware of power, greed and hubris. Also, people need to know that there are still heroes out there who are willing to stand up to criminal activity even when such action involves personal risks.

James R. Crocket is professor emeritus at the University of Southern Mississippi and adjunct professor of accountancy at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Hands in the Till: Embezzlement of Public Monies in Mississippi and Operation Pretense: The FBI's Sting on County Corruption in Mississippi, both published by the University Press of Mississippi.