A federal judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit against a sitting county judge accused of knowingly making false claims to authorities.
U.S. District Judge Tom Lee last week rejected Hinds County Judge Houston Patton's assertion that as a judge he could not be held liable.
James Jennings Jr. of Mendenhall filed the lawsuit in 2008 against Patton and former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters.
The lawsuit revolves around a 1997 incident in which Patton accused Jennings and Jennings' attorney, J. Keith Shelton, of trying to bribe him over a complaint Jennings filed against Patton with the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, the state's watchdog group for judges.
Jennings and Shelton were indicted but never tried. The charges eventually were dismissed.
"In the court's opinion, based on plaintiff's version of the facts, no reasonable argument can be made that Patton's alleged acts of making false statements to law enforcement and withholding material and exculpatory information to bring about the criminal prosecution of two innocent men are judicial or adjudicative acts," Lee wrote in the 14-page ruling.
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Lawsuit Vs. Judge Proceeds