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The Mississippi Bar Association, criticized by lawyers for not taking a more aggressive stance about the ongoing bribery scandals allegedly involving Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, has appointed a task force to strengthen confidence in the legal system. On Feb. 21, the Bar’s Board of Commissioners approved the creation of a task orce to “examine our legal system and make recommendations to ensure the honesty and integrity of the Bar and the fairness and impartiality within the judiciary.” Last week, Bar President Bobby Bailess issued invitations to 17 Mississippi lawyers and judges to serve on the task force. All agreed to serve. The task force is headed by Bill Goodman, a Jackson lawyer for 50 years. Other members include judges and lawyers from various parts of the state, including former Gov. William Winter of Jackson. The task force will hold its first meeting March 20 � 11 days before the start of the Scruggs trial. In a case that has rocked the legal community in Mississippi and beyond, prominent plaintiff attorney Scruggs, along with four other co-defendants, has been charged with allegedly attempting to bribe a state judge. Scruggs has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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