Here is the Judicial Performance Commission’s Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law and Recommendations
The case arises out of a divorce heard by the judge in February 2012. The order required the husband, Ronald Brooks, to pay $15,000 to his ex to buy a car for their child. He was also ordered to pay $1750.00 in attorneys fees. The first was to be paid within 90 days and the latter within 60 days. Because this was a sum certain, Brooks’ attorney obtained a supersedeas bond which was approved by the chancery clerk. Four months later, the ex wife filed a motion for contempt. The hearing was set for Sept. 25, 2012. On September 18, the court heard Brooks’ Motion for Stay of Judgment and Approval of Supersedeas Bond. The court recognized the bond as proper but held that the $15,000 and $1,750 were not stayed. At the hearing on contempt, the Chancellor ordered Brooks incarcerated for willful contempt. Brooks filed an emergency motion with the Miss.S.Ct. which was granted the very next day but not before Brooks spent three days in jail.
The Commission finds that Judge Littlejohn did not respect and comply with the law in violation of Canons 2 and 3.
Further, Chancellor Littlejohn allowed himself to be swayed by his feelings that Brooks’ daughter was intelligent, an honor student and was deserving of Brooks’ financial support and assistance in attending college. True as that may be, Chancellor Littlejohn gave no credence, no concern, no thought to Brooks’ statutory right to appeal with supersedeas. Section 11-51-12(1) and (3) of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, grants that right to all litigants. Lindsey v. Lindsey, 219 Miss. 720, 69 So.2d 844 (1954) and other cases above are directly on point. The denial of that statutory right to Brooks resulted in his spending three days and two nights on the Lee County jail, unnecessarily.
In the end, the Commission recommends a public reprimand, a fine of $500, and costs of $1606.47.
The case is docketed as 2014-JP-1184.
In 2010, Littlejohn jailed attorney Danny Lampley for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Story here.