On August 23, 2008, the Biloxi Sun Herald (Diaz's dissent raises ruckus) reported that the Mississippi Supreme Court attempted to suppress the dissenting opinion of Justice Oliver Diaz. Let me repeat: The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered the clerk to hide the opinion of a dissenting judge! Diaz correctly called the Mississippi Supreme Court's decision "unprecedented." I have tried cases for 30 years, and I have never seen an instance in which a court "muzzles" one of its own members. To call such behavior "unprecedented" is an understatement. It is an outrage!
Here’s what got Diaz muzzled.
The Mississippi Supreme Court tried to throw out a wrongful death case, claiming the statute of limitations had run. Curiously, the Mississippi Supreme Court said that the statute of limitations begins to run on a death claim even before the individual died. Let me repeat: The Mississippi Supreme Court said that an individual had to file his death claim before he died. Not only did the Mississippi Supreme Court have to “stretch" to deprive an individual of his rights, but in doing so it reversed 150 years of case law and insulted commonsense.
In his dissent, Justice Diaz correctly wrote that it was "absurd" to think that a claim for wrongful death must be filed before the person dies!
But there is a story behind this story. Diaz, who took the bench as a conservative, angered his fellow conservatives because he often took the part of the "little guy" and "working families," as his dissent demonstrates. For Justice Diaz fairness was more important than pandering to big business and powerful corporations. Justice Diaz wanted no part of "checkbook justice, for which he received a judicial muzzle from the indifferent colleagues.
Dark clouds have gathered for justice in America. The fabled "liberal activist judge" has been replaced by real, mean-spirited, indifferent conservative judge, proving once again that justice is a fickle thing...