“Down goes Frazier!” – Or rather Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday, Federal District Court Judge Carlton Reeves did two things simultaneously; 1) He struck down Mississippi’s Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage paving the way for same-sex couples to finally marry in Mississippi…,but not so fast. 2) Judge Reeves also issued a stay for two weeks to allow the State of Mississippi time to appeal the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
This means the MS Constitutional ban is no longer valid, however enforcement, or rather same-sex marriage, is put on “hold” in this State pending the 5th Circuit ruling. So more of the same for now.
The 5th Circuit has arguments set for early January regarding cases out of Texas and Louisiana over same-sex marriage prohibitions. The 5th Circuit’s eventual ruling will apply to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Stay tuned. New developments will be blogged as they occur. The next round will likely be in a few months.
Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law in Family Law and is closely following these pending cases and the impact they will have on marriage in Mississippi.
Low-income Mississippian’s have a definite need for legal services and lawyers and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project is working to make sure those Mississippian’s get the help they deserve. MVLP needs your help too.
Q: What is the MVLP?
The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, or “MVLP,” is a 501(c) (3) non-profit legal aid organization.
Q: What is the Mission of MVLP?
MVLP enables volunteer attorneys to provide equal access to justice for Mississippians of low-income and limited means through high quality pro bono legal assistance.
Q: What types of cases does MVLP handle?
- Child support contempt, child support modification, and visitation.
- Simple wills
- Adoption, guardianship, and conservatorships
- Name change, birth certificate correction,
- MVLP hosts legal clinics throughout Mississippi which are staffed by local volunteer attorneys and law students.
Q: How does MVLP work?
Qualified clients are matched with volunteer attorneys who will represent him/her on behalf of MVLP. MVLP staff periodically review the client’s case to ensure that the match is successful, to assess the progress of the case, and to record pro bono hours contributed by the volunteer attorney.
Q: How is MVLP funded?
MVLP receives funding from the Civil Legal Assistance Fund, the Mississippi Bar Foundation, Legal Services Corporation, special events and seminars, donations from law firms, other business and individuals like you. Over the past several years, MVLP’s funding from the Mississippi Bar Foundation and the Legal Services Corporation, in particular, has been substantially reduced because of the country’s current economic situation. MVLP anticipates additional cuts from both sources in 2015, making this year’s fundraising campaign especially critical.
Q: How will My Donation be used?
Annual campaign donations will help MVLP to do the following:
• Recruit more volunteer attorneys to provide much-needed legal services to the poor;
• Increase the number of legal clinics and public awareness workshops offered throughout Mississippi;
• Increase the number of training sessions to volunteers on the types of matters handled by MVLP;
• Provide financial support to clients who cannot afford filing fees and other court costs; and
• Allow the organization to actively engage in short- and long-term, strategic planning with a focus on ways to expand its capacity to reach more individuals in need.
Q: What are the fundraising levels?
Friend of MVLP $250
Or any amount.
Q: How can I Donate?
A: Donate online through PayPal at www.mvlp.org/donate.
Mail your donation to MVLP at PO Box 1503, Jackson, MS 39215 or
Call MVLP at 601-960-9577 and a MVLP volunteer can pick up your donation.
Please make a Donation Now!
Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney, Board Member for the MVLP, a volunteer attorney for MVLP and has made his donation for the 2014 campaign and challenges you to help as you are able to this worthy cause.
Kansas Attorney Dennis Hawver has been disbarred due to “inexplicable incompetence!”
Hawver committed a number of blunders throughout the case, among them include;
- At trial, Hawver described his client a “professional drug dealer” and a “shooter of people,”
- Hawver argued at trial that his client would never have left a witness alive if he had shot the two women victims.
- Hawver did not investigate alibi witnesses and did not track his client’s cellphone to find his location at the time of the murders.
His explanation? “I had no idea that cellphones had GPS capabilities at that time,” he said. “Did you? I didn’t. If I had known it, I’d have been on it like a dog on a bone.”
- Hawver had never previously tried a capital murder case and had not tried a murder case in more than 20 years.
- He was unfamiliar with ABA guidelines for trying capital murder cases.
- He informed the jury his client had previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, even though prosecutors agreed to a stipulation that the client had a prior felony conviction without further details.
- He failed to seek dismissal of the capital charge after the Kansas Supreme Court struck down the death penalty scheme.
- Hawver had said he had no funds for a pretrial investigation and he did not call the indigent defense board to explore whether funding was available to support his representation.
- He also said he did not recall whether a board representative had called him with an offer to provide co-counsel, investigators, consultants and expert witnesses, but he does not contest that an offer of funding was made.
- During the sentencing phase of the trial, he said the killer should be executed.
During the arguments concerning attorney discipline, Hawver named Thomas Jefferson as his hero and says he wore the outfit because he had a constitutional right to represent the client “as directed, instructed and agreed” by the client, “no matter what the ABA guidelines have to say.”
Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney and advises all potential clients that if your attorney dresses as a Founding Father for Court it is time for a new attorney.
Any minute Mississippi will be in the national spotlight.
At issue are two pending Federal Court cases attempting to strike down the ban on Mississippi’s Constitutional restriction against same-sex marriage, and a state law prohibiting same-sex adoption. The arguments have been made and the matters are in the “bosom of the Court.”
The question that the Court is deciding is whether there is a “Rational Basis” for the State (Governmental entity) to restrict the rights of citizens eligible for marriage to one another.
The Rational Basis review tests whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government. This test requires that the governmental action be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest. Under this standard of review, the “legitimate interest” does not have to be the government’s actual interest. Rather, if the court can merely hypothesize a “legitimate” interest served by the challenged action, it will withstand the rational basis review.
During the arguments the Judge asked what is the State’s rational basis in preventing these persons from marrying and adopting. The State’s response was “responsible procreation.” Based on that response the Court’s ultimate task is to determine 1) is “responsible procreation” something the State has a legitimate interest in, and 2) are the State imposed restrictions rationally related to that goal.
A ruling should come swiftly and the early indications, based on the Judge’s questions and the reception of the arguments presented, are that Mississippi will be the next State to recognize and allow same-sex marriage.
Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Family Law Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law -Domestic Relations and is closely following these pending cases and the impact they will have on Mississippi Family Law.