Scruggs Nation: Zach was 'halfway' home

You might have seen how Zach Scruggs, whom this AP story describes as "the son of the once legendary civil lawsuit attorney" Dickie Scruggs, was released from prison early to go to a halfway house to  prepare "for a successful return to society." Whoops! Mission Unaccomplished. That successful return to society might have to wait a while.  

I might have edited the description in the first story to say "the disgraced son of the legendarily disgraced Dickie Scruggs," because, hey, The Scruggs is still legend, maybe more so than ever. I mean, let's face it, give the man his due, Dickie Scruggs is the guy who took down Dickie Scruggs! That's hard to do. When he was on top of the world, untouchable, he must have been tapped on the shoulder by an angel or something, because, well, you all know what happened -- he just up and Scruggsed himself. A public servant, is really what he was.  Against all expectations, he enlisted as a Commander in the Karma Corps, and as he looked down the ranks, there was Tim Balducci standing tall and proud, front and center, reporting for duty.  What I'm trying to say is, that's legend for you. Balducci and Scruggs, fixing their bayonets and charging toward their destiny.

But there will be more time to talk of Dickie.  You know the sun never sets on the Scruggs Nation -- gets eclipsed for a few months maybe, but it never sets.  Now is the time to talk of Zach.  There seems to be some confusion about what went on.  It seems he definitely was arrested by the Bureau of Prisons over some alleged irregularity over his reporting to a halfway house after being released from prison.  This story in the Hattiesburg American says:

Scruggs, 34, was arrested Friday by the Bureau of Prisons and placed in the Lafayette County jail after someone reported seeing him eating on the Oxford Square with his family Tuesday.

As best as I can understand it, the younger Scruggs didn't report directly from the prison to the halfway house, but instead went to the middle of Oxford, near the old Scruggs Law Office, and had lunch with his family.  Close family friend and former Mississippi AG Mike Moore was quoted in the story as saying  Zach stopped "to have lunch in his hometown and visiting his kids, then people started calling and blogging." Calling and blogging. Sure, it must have been startling, people might have thought they were having flashbacks to the old days, hallucinations, like you walk into a restaurant and you see Winston Churchill having a burger with Lizzie Borden, or something.  Must have had folks checking to see if someone laced their water with PCP. Folks probably didn't know what they'd see next, maybe Dickie himself bursting through the door in an Elvis get-up, with some fake Elvis hair piled up to the ceiling and gyrating his pelvis while singing Jailhouse Rock, just like in this unintentionally hilarious video, backed by a chorus of jailbirds. 

There seems to be some dispute about what happened.  Some officials say Zach was late reporting to the halfway house, but his lawyers say he was 15 minutes early.  Supposedly, there will be hearing later this week to determine his fate, and at this hearing, I guess we will see if this "15 minutes early" thing is yet another creative flight of lawyer language, the typical Scruggsian prose stylings like the fake and non-existent "insiders" Dickie Scruggs claimed to have in State Farm headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois.  (The fact Scruggs ever claimed this, which he did as a kind of head-fake psych-out strategy against State Farm, shows the danger of believing your own p.r.  It is little known, but about that same time, Scruggs also publicly boasted that he could stretch out his arms, spin them rapidly in a circle and fly like a helicopter).

The story doesn't contain a direct quote from Moore on this, but paraphrases him and another Scruggs lawyer as saying Zach "arrived 15 minutes before his deadline." Hmmmmm. Is there any wiggle room in that phrase, "his deadline"?  Let's look at a quote from his other lawyer:

Cal Mayo, another attorney for Scruggs, also said via e-mail, "Mr. Scruggs was released on Tuesday morning and given a time to report in Tupelo. I assume that (the) BOP expects an unescorted inmate on furlough from early morning to some time in the afternoon to have lunch, or at least this would seem reasonable."

Maybe the Scruggs version of a "deadline" includes assumptions of "reasonable" time for lunch and losing track of time.

Well, let's wrap this one up and wait to see what happens. A final word, the Hattiesburg American story says Scruggs "has landed a job as an office assistant in Oxford as part of the requirements of his release."  Reading that made me think, what became of the old Scruggs Law Office space on the square?  Is it now an FBI training center -- the Scruggs Center for Surveillance Studies, or some such? Inquiring minds want to know.      

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Ping sent from PointOfLaw Forum on March 6, 2009 7:47 PM
David Rossmiller believes the much-ballyhooed (by Dickie Scruggs, the New York Times, and others) False Claims Act over insurer wind-vs.-water practices may be getting ready to expire with a whimper. Not that Rossmiller is entirely lacking in admiratio...
Written By:LTC John On March 3, 2009 5:24 PM

"then people started calling and blogging"

Kind of the modern version of dropping a dime, eh?

These Scruggs fellahs are the gift that just keeps on giving....material to wirte about!

Written By:Born Far Too Late On March 4, 2009 9:00 AM

Welcome back! I think I read somewhere that Zach was going to be a runner for an Oxford law firm. Now, like it or not folks, your runner can be the outward face of your law firm. Some clerks and court personnel may see and know your runner long before they meet a new associate or partner. Now I ask the lawyers out there: would you want the felon that Zach Scruggs is to be the "face" of your law firm?

Written By:Lydia On March 4, 2009 9:40 AM

THAT was awesome. Thanks for the giggles.

Written By:David Rossmiller On March 4, 2009 10:05 AM

Maybe they could hire Balducci, also, to make bank runs. He has experience delivering funds and can be trusted to make sure the cash gets where it is supposed to go.

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