Supreme Court clears way for new trial for ex-judge in contempt case

Published 10:53 am Monday, July 5, 2021

A former Mississippi judge will get a new trial to determine whether a contempt of court citation that stemmed from an argument in court should stand.

The Mississippi Supreme Court recently unanimously denied a request from the state attorney general to reverse a decision by the Mississippi Court of Appeals granting a new trial to former Simpson County Judge Larry Buffington, WLBT-TV reported.

The decision came months after the appellate court reversed a May 2019 decision by Chancery Judge David Shoemake to hold Buffington in criminal contempt following an argument between the two in Shoemake’s court concerning a case.

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Buffington, who was serving as an attorney in a child custody case that was before Shoemake, was jailed following the incident.
Much of Buffington’s “alleged contemptuous conduct falls under the classification of constructive rather than direct criminal contempt,” the appeals court said, and Buffington was entitled to more than an immediate sentence. A new hearing on the contempt charge should be held before another judge, the court said.

It wasn’t clear when a trial would be scheduled.