Saturday Evening Post: The Sherry Murders

An episode of Dominic Dunne’s Power, Privilege, and Justice that covers the assassination of Circuit Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margaret.

Former Biloxi Mayor Pete Halat spent 13 years in jail for using his law office as operational cover for a scam operation that was run from Angola. Halat was also a former Circuit Court judge.


Understanding Cash on Hand vs. Profit

A reader has requested that we give an explanation of cash on hand and profit.  There seems to be some confusion about how the numbers work.

Cash on Hand is exactly what it sounds like – how much cash money is in the bank, right now?

If you’re looking at the balance in your checking account and add that to your savings account, that is “cash on hand.”  Let’s assume that amount is $7500.

“Days cash on hand”  = Cash on Hand / Daily Operating Expenses

Daily Operating Expenses = Annual Operating Expenses / 365

Let’s assume that it costs you $36,500 each year to run your household (Annual Operating Expense).  If you divide that by the number of days in the year (365) you will get your “daily operating expense.”

$36,500 / 365 = $100  $100 is your daily operating expense.

Earlier, we said that you had $7,500 in your bank account (your “Cash on Hand”).

$7,500 / $100 = 75   You have 75 Days Cash on Hand.  That means you have enough money to pay your bills for 75.


Profit is a different formula: Profit = Revenue – Expenses

Let’s assume you earn $42,000 each year (Revenue).

Your annual expenses are $36,5000 (Expenses).

$42,000 – $36,500 = $5,500   You had a “profit” of $5,500.

Notice that your profit of $5,500 is not equal to your cash on hand of $7,500.

Cash on Hand answers the question “how much cash do we have, right now?”  That could on Jan. 1, Mar. 4, July 31, etc.

Profit answers the question “how much did we get to keep after we paid all the bills, during a certain time?”

The certain time could be a month, a quarter, or a year, “How much did we get to keep this year?”

For most people, the year starts on January 1 and ends December 31.

For Singing River, the year starts on October 1 and ends September 30.

When Singing River has a profit of $600,000 that answers the question “How much did SRHS keep after they paid the bills, from Oct 1, 2014 – Sept 30, 2015?”

According to the audit, as of Sept. 30, 2015, Singing River had $45 million cash on hand, which is approximately 51 days cash on hand.


Friday Musical Repose: The Supremes


Watch This Space

Upcoming articles we are working on here at SRHS Watch:

  • Lumpkin & Reeves have been previously disqualified by a federal judge
  • Who is Mark Lumpkin?  We will explore the connection between Britt Singletary and Reeves & Mestayer
  • Jim Reeves taking the 5th when his boss was on trial for bribing a judge
  • Exploring the welding rod litigation group started by Dick Scruggs.  Why has Judge Hilburn not disclosed that he worked on this case with Jim Reeves?  Scott Taylor and Dogan & Wilkinson also worked with this group.
  • Did Special Master Singletary admit to undertaking his own investigation into the Singing River cases?  Judges and special masters are prohibited from conducting their own investigations

If you have any information on any of the above or have any other story idea you’d like for us to consider, please drop us a line at  or use the below form.

Your name and email address are NOT required. You will remain anonymous.

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How to File a Complaint Against a Judge

The Commission on Judicial Performance is the body that oversees and enforces the law when it comes to judges and special masters.  The commission accepts anonymous, written complaints.  They also have the power to open their own investigations based on media reports.

The commission provides a complaint form, though it is not required.  Your complaint should include the information requested in the form, except your name – if you wish to remain anonymous.

You can get a copy of the form by clicking here.

The information requested is relatively straightforward.

Mail the form to the commission:

660 North Street, Suite 104
Jackson, Mississippi 39202

If you need assistance understanding how to complete the form, call the commission: 601-359-1273

Litigation Players

Swiss Cheese Chronicles: Nailing Down a Sequence of Events

With all of the responses in to the Mississippi Supreme Court, it’s time to start sorting out what exactly happened.  The responses are lacking, but we endeavor to distill truth and fact from what has been presented to the Court.  They have a tremendous undertaking before them.

We first wish to understand the sequence of events at the meeting.  There are two different versions of this.  Judge Hilburn’s story follows the pattern A – B – C while almost everyone else follows the pattern A – C – B.  The below statements are verbatim excerpts from each response; we have only removed sentences or phrases that were not pertinent to the sequence of events.

Judge Hilburn:

  • A – I immediately told them there would be no discussion of any state court matters.
  • B – I inquired as to the status of the federal court litigation;
  • C – I told those present they would not need to appear at the Jackson County Courthouse the next day, that I had prepared an email temporarily staying the state court litigation and canceling the hearing scheduled at 9:00 the next day.

Sessoms & Williams:

  • A – Judge Hilburn subsequently arrived, and again it was mentioned that there would be no discussion about the Chancery Court cases.
  • B – Plaintiffs’ Counsel, Jim Reeves, who represents clients in the Jones litigation, but not in the Almond litigation […] discussed the Jones Federal Court litigation.
  • C -Judge Hilburn announced he was staying all proceedings pending the Federal Court litigation. He also said that he was cancelling the hearing set for 9:00 AM the next day.

Incredibly, Sessoms & Williams response differs from their earlier response to the Court on behalf of SRHS.  In that version, Judge Hilburn announced the stay at the beginning of the meeting and not at the end.  It appears Sessoms & Williams sequence of events changed after having the benefit of  Judge Hilburn’s statement. See below.

Litigation Players

Swiss Cheese Chronicles: Is Simpson Misleading the Supremes?

Reading the response of Special Fiduciary Steve Simpson opens more holes and questions:

  1. Why does Simpson not mention the orders he asked Judge Hilburn to sign?
  2. How does a judge hear an oral motion when there is no hearing?
  3. How did Simpson know to have Hilburn sign the motions at that meeting?
  4. Were there earlier, deliberative communications amongst the parties?
No Mention of Signed Orders

Though former Circuit Judge Stephen Simpson spends hundreds of words to explain his actions and impugn other attorneys, he makes one glaring omission:  he doesn’t bother to inform the Supreme Court that Judge Hilburn signed four (4) separate orders at Simpson’s request.  Simpson says that Denham and Barton’s “six cases were not the subject of that meeting.”

Response of Special Fiduciary Steve Simpson

Simpson states to the Court that this was a “settlement conference” that had nothing to do with Almond or any other Denham and Barton case. Despite his assertion, Simpson asked Judge Hilburn to issue an order authorizing him to enter into a settlement.  Judge Hilburn makes mention of this in his response:

Litigation News & Commentary Players

Swiss Cheese Chronicles: Sua Sponte or on Motion of the Parties?

In reading the responses to the Miss. Supreme Court, the phrase “missing the forest for the trees” springs to mind.  It seems that all parties involved have become so focused on the competing federal and chancery cases, they forget the underlying and undeniable facts.  Subsequent to the ex parte hearing, six separate orders were entered in the Almond and Lay cases.  These are orders that were a result of action taken at the January 12 meeting.

  1. Order Granting Motion to Intervene by Special Fiduciary
  2. Order Authorizing Special Fiduciary Trustee to Enter into Settlement and Release
  3. Order Authorizing Payment of Special Fiduciary Fees
  4. Order Approving Invoice for Payment by Parties
  5. Order Approving Fees and Expenses of Charles J. Mikhail
  6. E-mail order staying all cases and cancelling hearings

These are facts that are not in dispute. Some lawyers are now making claims which fly in the face of facts and the record of the court.

Issues Players

OPINION: Where is Guice’s Magical Ex Parte Communications Order?

When Jackson County Supervisors Ken Taylor and Randy Bosarge had Billy Guice explain his appearance at an ex parte hearing, he justified it by claiming that there was an “order authorizing ex parte communications.”  Guice did not say which judge entered the order, nor in which case it had been entered. It would seem Guice had a “get out of jail free” card.

SRHS Watch scrutinized the dockets of both the federal and chancery courts and could find no order bearing any similarity to what Guice described.

You might think that if such an order existed, it would be a great defense to scurrilous claims.  If the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered you to explain your conduct at such ex parte hearings, you could point to a court order and simply say “the judge authorized this and I followed his order.”  We waited for Guice’s response to see which order he was talking about.

Guice spends 22 pages in his response to the Supreme Court.  Nowhere within those 22 pages does Guice make the claim that his actions were sanctioned by, or pursuant to, an “order authorizing ex parte communications.”  A “get out of jail free” order that existed a week ago has now magically vanished.


Disburse v. Disperse or Your Tax Dollars (not) at Work

The grammatical shortcomings of Judge Hilburn are legendary, but reading the responses to the Supreme Court from other attorneys is a mind warping experience.

Guice: After the departure of Special Judge Hilburn, attendees of the meeting left the room, but did not immediately disburse as a number remained on the street outside the office chatting.

Singletary: The group gradually disbursed and said their good-byes on the sidewalk outside my office.

Maybe Guice and Singletary are correct. Maybe money was exchanging hands. Was it a homophonic error or a Freudian slip?