Thursday, February 12, 2009

Does Uncle Tom Go Both Ways?

I promise I'm not obsessed with Assistant DA "Uncle Tom" Levidiotis of Oxford, although I have posted twice before about his exploits.

But I thought my readers would want to know that, although he now is a full-time prosecutor for the State of Mississippi, Mr. Levidiotis is still listed as counsel of record for prisoners in habeas corpus proceedings AGAINST the State of Mississippi.

For example, the PACER docket in the U.S. District Court (Southern District of Mississippi, Hattiesburg Division) in the case of Stevens v. Epps, Civ. Action No. 2:04-cv-00118-KS, lists Mr. Levidiotis as "Lead Attorney" for Mr. Stevens.

That docket also reports that on November 18, 2008, Mr. Levidiotis filed a Rebuttal in Support of Mr. Stevens' Motion to Alter Judgment and Motion to Alter or Amend Pursuant to Rule 59(e).

Another one:

The PACER docket in the U.S. District Court (Northern District of Mississippi, Greenville Division) in the case of Branch v. Epps, No. 4:07-cv-00138-MPM, lists Mr. Levidiotis as one of the "Lead Attorneys" for Mr. Branch. ADA Levidiotis filed a motion for Mr. Branch (a "Motion for Leave to File Responsive Pleading") as recently as January 28, 2009.


The Fifth Circuit docket for Simmons v. Epps, No. 08-70048, lists Mr. Levidiotis as one of the attorneys for Mr. Simmons. He entered his appearance on December 19, 2008, and was issued a voucher for Federal payment for his services on January 14, 2009.

Am I the only one who thinks this isn't quite kosher? I suppose a newly appointed public employee is allowed to carry on his prior work long enough to keep his clients from being prejudiced. But Mr. Levidiotis is not the only attorney for the prisoners in any of these cases; surely it wouldn't be an issue for him to withdraw. And does the "winding down" rule apply when one has what appears to be a direct conflict of interest?

Maybe this is just the Mississippi legal system, once again, cutting corners on fundamental principles. But it smells fishy to this writer.

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