Mississippi Law Journal to Publish Special Issue Focused on State’s Legal History

The Mississippi Law Journal is putting together a special issue featuring several works focused on Mississippi legal history, including articles written by Antonia Eliason, a University of Mississippi professor of law, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James L. Robertson.

“We are very excited to be publishing this special Mississippi-focused issue,” said James Kelly, the journal’s editor-in-chief. “The articles in the book tell the stories of people who have helped shape our state’s history and law.

“We are so proud to be bringing these stories to print and are very grateful to the authors for sharing them.”

Eliason’s article, titled “Lillian McMurry and the Blues Contracts of Trumpet Records,” focuses on a Jackson-based record company established and run by Lillian McMurry from 1950 to 1955. McMurry was a pioneering businesswoman who discovered and signed some of the most prominent artists in the blues genre, including Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James.

“Lillian McMurry has become a hero of mine; her picture hangs in my office to remind me of the strength of character and compassion that she demonstrated as the head of Trumpet Records,” Eliason said. “After spending so much time in the archives reading her correspondences with the artists that she signed, I feel like I’ve come to know her personally.

“She had a remarkable ear for talent despite a lack of musical training, and supported her artists, even after the record label dissolved.”

Drawing on archival material, the article demonstrates a progressing level of sophistication for the young record label, as well as the ways in which McMurry’s business practices helped promote increased fairness and transparency in recording contracts.

“At a time when there were so few female players in any capacity in the recording industry, she broke barriers while avoiding the rapacious practices of many record label executives,” Eliason said. “She also treated all of her artists the same, irrespective of race, even though she was operating the highly segregated milieu of 1950s Mississippi.

“I hope that through my article, more people will come to know Lillian McMurry’s story. She was a truly exceptional woman and someone who will remain a source of inspiration in my life.”

The article “Dry September Revisited,” written by Mills, chronicles the stories of a group of Mississippi legislators who stood up against Walter Sillers, the powerful speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, after he invited Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker to address the Legislature.

The legislators opposed Walker’s speech because of his role in working to block James Meredith’s entry into UM.

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James L. Robertson’s work, “Only People Were Slaves,” recounts the story of an early freedom-by-residence case brought by a group of slaves. The case, decided in 1818, is notable as the first known instance in which the court of last resort in a Southern slave state ruled that the slaves were free.

The article features the first publication of several original archival sources and is adapted from a chapter in Robertson’s forthcoming book, “Heroes, Rascals and the Law: Constitutional Encounters in Mississippi,” which is being published by the University Press of Mississippi.

The themed edition of the Mississippi Law Journal is slated for release in April.

Faculty Highlights – February 2018

Professor Will Berry‘s article, Magnifying Miranda, was recently published in the Texas Tech Law Review as part of a symposia on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona. The symposium was held in Lubbock, Texas last April.  The citation for the article is 50 Texas Tech L. Rev. 97 (2017).

Professor Will Berry recently wrote 3 articles for the February issue of the American Bar Association’s magazine PREVIEW, which previews upcoming oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court. He previewed the following cases: Currier v. Virginia, City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt, and Dahda v. United States.

Professor Will Berry recently reviewed a law review article for the online publication, Jotwell. His review, Rethinking Capital Felony Murder, assesses the merits of the article by Guyora Binder, Brenner Fissell, & Robert Weisberg, Capital Punishment of Unintentional Felony Murder, 92 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1142 (2017). His essay can be found here: https://crim.jotwell.com/rethinking-capital-felony-murder/.  The citation is William W. Berry III, Rethinking Capital Felony Murder, JOTWELL (February 12, 2018) (reviewing Guyora Binder, Brenner Fissell, & Robert Weisberg, Capital Punishment of Unintentional Felony Murder, 92 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1142 (2017)), https://crim.jotwell.com/rethinking-capital-felony-murder/.

Professor Will Berry‘s article, Enhancing “Education”: Rebalancing the Relationship Between Athletics and the University, was recently published in the Louisiana Law Review as part of a symposium on sports law held in January 2017–Blurring Lines: Emerging Trends and Issues in Sports and Gaming Law. The citation is 78 La. L. Rev. 197 (2017), and the article is available here: https://lawreview.law.lsu.edu/issues/.

Professor Ron Rychlak‘s publication Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie, and Miranda Warnings, 50 Texas Tech Law Rev. 15 (2017) was just published. It argues that Miranda, having become as all-American as baseball, etc., is and has been recognized as an actual part of the Fifth Amendment as opposed to being simply a protective device for the Fifth Amendment.

Professor Stacey Lantagne recently served as the invited Guest of Honor at Illogicon VII, a fan-run sci-fi/fantasy convention. She spoke on panels about fan activities, fair use, and other legal implications of creative activities, like podcasting and book marketing.

Senior Associate Dean Ben Cooper was elected Chair Elect of the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility for 2018. We will serve as President of the Section in 2019.

Professor Will Berry was named the Chair-Elect of the Sports Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools, and will serve in that role during the 2018-19 academic year.

Faculty Highlights – January 2018

Professor Will Berry recently spoke as part of a criminal law panel, Juveniles, Incarceration, and the Constitution: A Conversation, at the American Association of Law Schools annual meeting in San Diego, CA. Prof. Berry addressed the developments concerning juvenile life without parole sentences and the likelihood of the future abolition of such sentences under the Eighth Amendment.

Professor Mike Hoffheimer‘s article “The New Sister-State Sovereign Immunity” appears in the most recent issue of Washington Law Review.

Professor Mercer Bullard was quoted in the recent Business Insider article “‘These are bad facts for him’: Intel CEO’s $24 million stock sale before disclosing the chip flaw could trigger lawsuits, SEC inquiry.”

Professor Cliff Johnson recently spoke at the Magnolia Bar Association CLE in Jackson on “Civil Rights and Criminal Justice.”

Professor Cliff Johnson spoke at the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association Winter Conference in Tunica on “Proper Bail Practices Under the New Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure.”

Professor Cliff Johnson was named a 2017 Leader in Law by the Mississippi Business Journal.

Professor Karen Green has been appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to a third five-year term on the State Board of Banking. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board.

Professor Mercer Bullard will present a paper at a conference on bank mis-selling in Singapore at the National University of Singapore on Dec. 14.

Professor Mercer Bullard participated in a panel of a recent Department of Labor rulemaking at a North American Securities Administrators Association Conference in Columbus, OH in November, and a panel on the same rulemaking at a Public Investors Arbitration Association Conference in Colorado Springs.