Friday, October 8, 2010

Mississippi Attorney Jailed For Not Reciting Pledge of Allegiance

On Wednesday, October 6, in Tupelo, Mississippi, Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn jailed attorney Danny Lampley because Lampley declined to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to an article from the Associated Press, "When a Mississippi judge entered a courtroom and asked everyone to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, an attorney with a reputation for fighting free speech battles stayed silent as everyone else recited the patriotic oath. The lawyer was jailed."

"Attorney Danny Lampley spent about five hours behind bars Wednesday before Judge Talmadge Littlejohn set him free so that the lawyer could work on another case. Lampley told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that he respected the judge but wasn't going to back down. 'I don't have to say it because I'm an American,' Lampley told the newspaper. The Supreme Court ruled nearly 70 years ago that schoolchildren couldn't be forced to say the pledge, a decision widely interpreted to mean no one could be required to recite the pledge.

The ACLU of Mississippi has condemned Judge Littlejohn’s action. “The right to be free from state-coerced oaths is fundamental constitutional protection," said Bear Atwood, Interim Legal Director for the ACLU of Mississippi. “A judge has no more right to order an attorney in his court to recite the pledge than a teacher does in a classroom."

The ACLU has been defending freedom of conscience and the First Amendment since 1920, and the ACLU of Mississippi office was founded in 1969.

Pictured in photo above: Danny Lampley.

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