District Judge Blasts Scrushy Filing on Lack of Jurisdiction: Orders Clerk to Unseal Motion to Recuse

MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 30, 2007 -- Chief District Judge Mark Fuller in a Memorandum Opinion and Order denies a Scrushy motion asking that Scrushy's"conviction be overturned for the District Court's lack of jurisdiction over said defendant." (Doc. # 552 at pp. 28-9). Specifically, Scrushy contends that 18 U.S.C. § 3231, the statute which gives the district courts of the United States original jurisdiction over all offenses against the laws of the United States, was not properly enacted...."

In his order, Judge Fuller takes Scrushy attorney Jim Parkman (who signed the pleading) to task saying, "In his lengthy brief, Scrushy fails to cite a single case that directly supports his argument.   Scrushy's failure to cite cases on point is, no doubt, a result of the fact that all of the cases that have addressed this particular argument have rejected it."

Fuller then blasts all of Scrushy's attorneys.  The names on the motion were those of Parkman and partners Martin Adams and William White.  "The Court deems it appropriate at this juncture to remind all counsel for Scrushy of their duty of candor to this tribunal."

The remark related to candor most likely has to do with requirements taught early on in legal writing classes of the ethical obligation for lawyers to advise the court of legal authority that is against the filer's position.  This is accomplished in many ways including - citing cases contrary to the position, giving reasons as to why the current case requires a different outcome, or asking the court to make new law.

Further blasting the filing the judge says, "Indeed, even the briefest of forays into the electronic databases available for legal research yields a long list of judicial opinions that have considered and rejected the very argument... Based on these cases, the United States Supreme Court's consistent application of said statute as a foundation of jurisdiction, and the absence of any legitimate contrary authority, this Court likewise rejects Scrushy's jurisdictional argument as wholly without merit. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that the Motion to Dismiss Defendant's [sic] Richard Scrushy's Case for Lack of Jurisdiction and Brief in Support Thereof (Doc. # 552) is DENIED."

And that isn't all Judge Fuller had to say.  Fuller ordered the clerk to unseal the Motion to Recuse filed by Jim Parkman with the exception of exhibits containing personal identifiers.

"It is hereby ORDERED that the Motion to Unseal (Doc. # 562) filed on April 24, 2007 by Defendant Richard M. Scrushy is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows:

The bold in this order is that of Judge Fuller's order.  I would remind readers that Jim Parkman, Martin Adams, and William White's names were on these motions.  By my observation the  attorneys who filed with the court pro hac vice - Carmen Hernandez, Jim Jenkins, and Art Leach, and who in my experience observing their filings take pride in documents they file with the court and make every effort to ensure they are filed carefully and properly, none of these individuals is signatory to the motions in question.  Efforts to contact these three attorneys were unsuccessful.

Reported by:  Helen Hammons