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Miss. State Supreme Court bans one of its own from dissent

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Originally posted at the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal 

EDITOR's NOTE: The full dissent is reproduced below.

By Patsy R. Brumfield

JACKSON  Something unusual happened Thursday at the Mississippi Supreme Court.

It may be the first time a majority of the justices voted to prohibit a colleague from publishing a dissent in a case.

In other words, Presiding Justice Oliver Diaz of Ocean Springs disagreed with a court decision and wanted to write about it. His fellow judges said, no, he couldn't and they apparently stopped the court clerk from filing Diaz's statement into the record.

Diaz's document also wasn't made available to the public, as every other order and dissent are.

"My job as a Supreme Court justice is to write opinions and dissents, when necessary," Diaz said later Thursday. "I was prevented from doing so by a majority of the court."

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Requests for comments were not answered by Supreme Court Chief Justice James Smith, Justice Michael Randolph and Justice James Graves.

The Daily Journal also filed a Freedom of Information request with Court Administrator Jack Pool for a copy of the case decision, and any other paper and electronic documents associated with it.

Pool said he didn't know how long it would take him to comply with the request.

The case at issue was a wrongful death lawsuit filed by an employee of the court against the Mississippi State Veterans Affairs Board.

The Board apparently appealed a 2006 Hinds Circuit Court decision to the Supreme Court.
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Details were sketchy Thursday because the documents weren't immediately available from the high court.

Thursday, Randolph wrote the decision dismissing the appeal, which the court apparently had agreed to hear and then changed its mind.

Justices voting with Randolph against Diaz and Justice James Graves of Jackson were Ann Hannaford Lamar, George Carlton and Jess Dickinson.

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In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Initially focused on elections, she investigated the 2004 Ohio election, organizing, training and leading several forays into counties to photograph the 2004 ballots. She officially served at three recounts, including the 2004 recount. She also organized and led the team that audited Franklin County Ohio's 2006 election, proving the number of voter signatures did not match official results. Her work appears in three books.

Her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a researcher or investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor.

She graduated from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture in December 2003 with a B.S. in Natural Resources.

All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Tell the truth anyway.

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