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Thrown in Jail for Not Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance

Thrown in Jail for Not Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance

What happens when a stubborn judge and a civil rights lawyer butt heads in the court room?  Well, for the lawyer, it means jail time for contempt of court when he refused to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Via Politics Daily:

A Mississippi judge jailed a lawyer for several hours this week for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but the attorney wouldn’t back down and says he’s still processing the incident and trying to decide what to do next.

On Wednesday, Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn told Oxford lawyer Danny Lampley to “purge himself” of contempt by standing and repeating the oath like others in the courtroom. When Lampley wouldn’t budge, the judge put him in the can for 4½ hours, eventually releasing him so he could represent another client, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

But although there is a great deal of backlash against the over-reaching judge, it appears that he won’t be feeling any repercussions for his stunt.

Constitutional scholars and others are speaking out about Lampley’s First Amendment free-speech rights.

“The judge is lucky he has immunity and can’t be sued,” said George Cochran of Oxford, the iconic constitutional law professor at Ole Miss Law School.

“This man has a constitutional right not be forced to repeat the pledge.”

First Amendment scholars point to the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, a case in which Jehovah’s Witness students refused to salute the flag.

The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected students from the salute or the pledge, saying that the state did not have the power to compel speech in that manner for anyone.

While Littlejohn could not be reached for comment Thursday, the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance is believed to have received at least one complaint about Lampley’s treatment.

Bloggers and attorneys also have criticized Littlejohn, a former district attorney who was admitted to the Bar in 1960 and lives in New Albany.

Phillip Thomas, a Jackson attorney who also blogs, termed Littlejohn’s conduct “ignorant and inexcusable.”

Said Rob McDuff, a well-known civil liberties lawyer in Jackson: “Judge are supposed to enforce the Bill of Rights, not violate it in their own courtrooms,”

McDuff and First Amendment Center scholar David Hudson Jr. in Nashville said they’d never heard of a similar situation.

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297 comments

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8:30PM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

This judge sounds more like he is into power trips than he is into the law....

4:21PM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

From what I read in several articles, Allan, the lawyer did stand - respectfully and silently.

And I've never heard of any law which requires everyone to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Could you give me a link to where you discovered that information? If true, it sounds just as unconstitutional as requiring someone to say the pledge.

3:21PM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

I believe the law is you have to stand, but you do not have to recite. This individual chose to do neither. If a lawyer doesn't know the law, what can one do...

2:18AM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

While my opinion is, it's good to recite it, I also don't think it should be mandatory. It's unconstitutional to arrest someone for this.

12:45PM PDT on Oct 14, 2010

thanx Robin, being Lipan Apache I don't recite that lying stuff you people call the "Pledge".

5:51AM PDT on Oct 14, 2010

its irrelevant why he didn't recite. He has a RIGHT NOT TO!
the judge was out of line and should be impeached.

12:07AM PDT on Oct 14, 2010

But let's not send US govt torturers to jail, or international war criminals who deploy DU wmd's and predator drones against innocent civilians in other countries.
Yep, America, land of the lie.

6:55PM PDT on Oct 13, 2010

wow.... so he was send to jail... how about rapist, child molesters etc etc they go free... I just don't get the system anymore

1:35PM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

He has every right to refuse. Love it or leave it huh? Wow. I'm not so in love with this country anymore. There are no values. Everything is about money and forcing people to believe if they don't conform then they should get out. We are all supposed to have rights. It just doesn't seem that way anymore. He had his reasons for not participating. It's none of our business!

8:38AM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

I believe the lawyer should have recited the pledge, love this country or leave it, but he shouldn't have been jailed for refusing.

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