Because I have TWO insanely difficult finals in the next 36 hours I didn’t have time to write a story for thedmonline.com. But the least I can do is publish every letter I wrote down.
I had hoped (if there was time) to talk with a professor about the effectiveness of such letters. Does the amount of letters matter, or who wrote them. How much weight are pre-sentencing letters given by the judge etc …. If you have an idea please feel free to comment below.
1. Travis Childers (1/22/2008) – “I’m saddened as I write this, even heart broken for him, his sweet wife Tracie, their fine sons, Keaton, Colby and Kane. Lastly, but surely far from least, I am hurt for his precious mother, Dot, whom I love and have loved for forty years.”
I suppose many will say that Joey somehow lost his way. I disagree. No one in my forty nine years in Prentiss County has had greater impact on so many people that I personally know that Joey Langston. He has been a friend to all and an enemy to none. His heart is bigger than our entire county. His generosity to the people of Prentiss County will probably never be exceeded in my lifetime; Not only his generosity of his resources, but by his generous gift of love and kindness to all who were willing to accept it. He has been a friend to the poor just as the wealthy. He has treated everyone with the greatest respect. I can hardly believe this tragedy is happening to him and his family.”
“I recall so many times that I (as chancery clerk) have called on him to help pay hospital bills, buy medicine, pay school expenses, furnished Christmas gifts to needy children, even to assist in burial expenses for people in our county. Most of the times he never knew the people he helped. Several years ago there was a certain death of a young child, which as you know is devastating enough to a family in itself. Joey, knowing the family was not prepared to bury this child, much less prepared to pay six thousand dollars for a funeral. He discreetly stepped in to the office of the local funeral home and left a personal check to cover the expense for the family. He asked the owner to please not tell the family he paid the bill. There was no lawsuit to follow or any other personal potential gain to Joey. He just knew that he couldn’t bring that child back, but he could help in that way. When I approached him and suspected that he had done this kind act, he asked me to not tell the family that he had taken care of this.
This is not a man who has lost his way. He may have gotten sidetracked, but he hasn’t lost his way. I only wish that every town and county in America had someone like Joey Langston.
If losing his license to practice law isn’t severe enough punishment, then certainly the embarrassment from the local and regional news is. Joey understand consequences and will accept your sentence as he has agreed. His absence from Booneville and Prentiss County will be a far greater loss to us than him. I ask for your mercy as you are charged with sentencing Joey, I further ask that you take into consideration the many acts of kindness he has done for his fellow man in this area, especially the many children he has helped.”
“…I know his heart and it is good. I wish I could fix this situation. I would take his punishment if I could.”
“…I ask you again for leniency to my friend, Joey Langston – a man who may have gotten sidetracked, but has never lost his way and never will.”
Judy Pharr Ramey (1/18/2008) – “I am a registered nurse and serve as the Mayor of the town of Marietta.”
“As Mayor of Marietta, I have always been able to count in Joey for advice and council when needed. Marietta is a very small municipality with limited resources, however we have always known when we needed legal advice, Joey would provide for our needs.”
“I ask that you, your Honor, take into consideration all of the good that this man, my friend, has done for both the community and his fellow man. I feel that all the good that Joey has done should not be overshadowed by the current events.”
Michael Ramey (1/8/2008) – Captain of the Criminal Investigation Division for the Booneville Police Department and City Marshall for the town of Marietta.
“I have been in law enforcement for 19 years. During my years in law enforcement, I have watched help the Police Department in so many ways. He purchased bulletproof vests and drug dogs for the City of Booneville and Prentiss County.”
“I urge you to take into consideration all the support and good that Joey has done and continues to do for our community and country.”
J. Robert Floyd (1/22/2008) – retired naval officer, veteran WW2 and Korean War and peacetime service.
Tim G. Fortenberry (1/18/2008) Chief of Police Boonville Police Department – “Joey has and will continue to do a great deal of good for the people of Prentiss County and Northeast Mississippi. I also realize that Joey made a terrible and costly mistake in judgement. But, from what I reading in newspaper reports he had admitted his mistakes, accepted responsibility for his actions, and is cooperating with the investigation. He now has to accept the consequences for his actions. I also realize he has hurt a great number of people, including his own family, and a business in which he worked hard to become successful.”
“I hope this letter in a small way can convey the respect I have for Joey. Although he has made mistakes, which of us as humans are perfect, By the Grace of God Go I.”
John T. Sanders (no date) Building Inspector Booneville – “His community service and generosity are greatly appreciated by all. He has donated for our children of the community a wonderful addition to our City Park and payground called Kids Town. He has flown children and adults to seek medical care at his own expense.
“I have known Joey and his family to be very outstanding people in our small town. As we the people stand strong in our faith and beside our friend, please know that we are very fortunate to have a friend named Joey Langston.”
Rickey Neaves (no date) Superintendant Booneville School District – “As principal and now as Superintendant of Booneville Schools the Langstons have been a very important part of school system. The Langston Law Firm sponsors our Student of the Month banquet for our District. This banquet allows us to honor students who not usually get the opportunity to be recognized.
“I do realize that what Mr. Langston did was wrong, but please take into consideration all the positives works that he been responsible for not only here, but all over our area. He made a mistake, admitted it, will loose his liscense (sic.). Let that be enough for his mistake.
Jerry O. Barnes (1/22/2008) retired police officer for Booneville Police Department (26 years). Chief of Police for 7 years and Assistant Chief for 7.
Jimmy and Tina Moore
Bill Ward, Jr. Public Service Commission going on twenty-one years
“I guess you could say that I hate that I have to write you but then again I am more than proud to write you on behalf of my friend, Joey Langston.”
“I had a chance to play little league baseball and that is when I first met Joey. We were on the same team.”
“Judge Mills what I’m trying to say is, I know Joey has made a huge mistake and like anyone else he must pay for his mistakes. I have made more than a few bad choices through out my life as well as and by the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ I have become a changed person that in one reason I am writing you. I just wanted to tell you just a few things that Joey has done for my family and me.
The Prentiss County Board of Supervisors, William “Buddy” Clark, Mike Kesler, Glen Green, Mike Huddleston, Larry Lambert, Travis W. Childers (clerk). Written on Board of Supervisor letter head.
“We the Prentiss County Board of Supervisors would like to thank you for this opportunity to explain what Joey Langston means to Prentiss County. We ask that you consider his hard work, time, love, and donations to citizens of our county in determining his sentence. Joey is a crucial part of this county, and we ask for leniency on his behalf.”
“On behalf of the citizens of Prentiss County, we ask for leniency for one of our most loyal citizens, Joey Langston. Please consider the loss of Joey as a stern punishment for the people of Prentiss County.”
Travis Childers Realty manager Jane Gillespie (1/18/2008 662-728-7694)
“Not only has he supported community endeavors, he has also been extremely generous to those who are in need due to illness, poverty or education.”
“Joey Langston is a good man who made a bad decision he is willing to take the responsibility for what he has done.”
Prentiss County tax collector (on letterhead) H.W. Rusty Cole Jan Furtick, Jo Young, Aneshia Davis, Lynn Miley, Terri Haire.
Larry Morgan (1/23/2008) superintendant Booneville Schools in 1997 0 June 30 2007.
“I feel that Joey Langston deserves some of the credit for the success of the Booneville Schools. … Everything he does is for the benefit of all the students – not a select few.”
Brent Mauney Director of Parks and Recreation Boonville (1/23/2008)
“As director of Parks and Recreation in Booneville Mississippi for 18 years, I’d like the opportunity to tell you about the impact Joey Langston has had on the Booneville City Park system.”
-sponsor baseball teams, coached all three children from T-ball up to baseball, “instrumental in providing a playground for the children on Booneville …”, a pavilion for the playground.
“Around the town when you see Joey you get a person that is just like anybody you run in to, he’s always down to earth, he always tells who ever is around about a call on the field that I missed years ago, then we laugh. I always been able to call Joey about advice on countless things through the years, not legal matters but life matters (sic.).
James R. “Jimmy” Taylor, retired sheriff of Alcorn County
“I totally understand that Mr. Langston has made some serious mistakes in his life for which he must pay. I would ask that you consider the good he has done for the people in his home county of Prentiss and the help he has given to many people in the State of Mississippi.”
Steve Eaton –
D. Patrick Eaton, executive director Northeast Mississippi Community College Development Foundation letterhead, former Booneville Area Chamber of Commerce (1/23/2008)
Lucille Day-Branch President Prentiss County NAACP (1/23/2008) “Thanks to Mr. Langston’s contributions every year, we are able to two educational scholarships to persons pursuing a teacher’s degree.”
Rhonda Greening (1/21/2008)
J.F. “Bud” Green former Circuit Clerk of Prentiss County – “I have known Joey all of his life and known his father since he came to Booneville years ago. He comes from a family of great stature and respect. I know of no one that did not respect Joe Ray Langston, and because of that everyone has automatic respect for his son, Joey. Although he had that automatic respect, he worked hard for what he has achieved, never forgetting where he came from.” “As a political official, and as a member of the community, I know the good things that Joey has done for our people.”
Dwight Hastings Chairman Deacon Board Springhill M.B. Church, 1st VP NAACP Prentiss Branch, Booneville School Board and USAF retired.
Jimmy Harris, Boonville Street Superintendent (1/23/2008)
Lisa Horn, assistant director of Nursing at Landmark Nursing and Rehab, once co-owned by Langston Horn says, “Our nursing facility is not your average nursing home, because that’s the way Mr. and Mrs. Langston and Mr. and Mrs. Childers wanted it to be. They wanted a more home-like atmosphere, where elderly residents could spend their last years comfortably and not in a hospital type setting.” “They (the Langstons) have the Langston Foundation set to take care of families at Christmas and so their water and electricity won’t be turned off.” “It’s obvious how the community feels about Joey because he was chosen as the “Citizen of the Year” because of all the wonderful things he has done for the community …”
Ray Mason – Director of Environmental Services at Landmark Nursing and Rehab – “During this time I have come to know Mr. Langston (Joey) as the most generous person I have ever known.I saw this first hand as he would see that my brother in law, Eddie Burns was given anything he needed to be able to travel and watch our nephew play on a travel baseball team.”
John G. Corlew, Watkins and Eager Law Firm (6/6/2008) “Approximately ten years ago I became adverse to Joey Langston in a litigation involving several cases with multiple plaintiffs in several venues in Mississippi. … “Through several months of discovery, trial preparations and other litigation activity,I developed a very healthy respect and high regard for Mr. Langston as and attorney and person.” Also worked on the Foradori case with Langston, he says
Jim Drewry, Booneville High School head football coach
Thorne G. Butler, Director of Alumni and Development Mississippi College School of Law (1/22/2008) “I understand that Joey has lost his license to practice law which is severe punishment in itself. At this point in your deliberations in reaching an appropriate sentence I write on Joey’s behalf to ask your consideration of leniency.”
Jesse Mitchell III, Ole Miss football player 2002, refers to langston as “papa joe”
“I was faced with a difficult decision several years ago. I had to decide whether to forgo playing another year in the NFL after knee surgery or to venture blindly into the ‘real world.’ The first person I called was Joey Langston.
Mike DuBose, Millsaps College head football coach. Colby Langston plays football there.
Dr. Frances Lucas, President Millsaps College (on letterhead) (1/30/2008) “Joey and his wife, Tracie, have made significant contributions to Millsaps College.” Given scholarships.
“All of my interactions with Joey and Tracie have been positive. I sincerely hope you will judge him on his contributions as you ponder this mistake to which he admits.”
Joey Langston (April 17, 2008) Addressed to Clerk David Crews announcing that Langston can no longer practice law, but adds “Lastly, please accept my most sincere thanks for your kindness and professionalism over the years. My most pleasant professional memories are from the many hours and days spent in courthouses and courtrooms with wonderful courtroom people such as yourself and your staff.”
Volume 1 of 4 – Letters from attorneys. Some local or Mississippi law firms, others from Alabama and Texas.
Wilbur O. Colom, The Colom Law Firm (1/23/2008) Joey Langston is before you for sentencing on a serious offense and, while acknowledging the gravity of the conduct, I wish to offer the Court a rounded view of this man.”
“…in the fall of 2006, he made one the three largest contributions to start the Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi of Law.”
“I have seen pure greed up close and Mr. Langston is not so driven. Even more distressing is the aspects of this case that suggest that he has a contempt for the essential integrity of our legal system, so vital to the public willingness to accept the judgement of our courts. I have worked with Mr. Langston on cases and nothing about his conducted has ever reflected anything but the greatest respect for our system of justice.”
“This event, I sincerely believe, was singular, a momentary lapse in judgement and self-control.”
John J. “Jay” Perry, Perry, Winfield and Wolfe, P.A. “I would like to share the emotions I felt when the rumors and innuendos were confirmed and Joey stood in your courtroom, not as an advocate for a client, but as an advocate for himself. I was angry. I was bewildered. I was confused. But most of all I was sad. I was sad because our noble profession had been damaged. I was sad because Joey had obviously left the path and become lost somewhere along his journey.”
Janelle M. Lowery, President of the Prentiss County Bar Association
“I certainly regret the matters that have befallen him, and from conversations, I am advised that he also is very remorseful of decisions he has made that have brought him to this particular point in his life. The surrender of his license to practice law, I am sure, was one of the most traumatic things he had ever encountered.”
Duncan Lott (1/24/2008) brother-in-law once removed. “I know you (Judge Mills) face tremendous pressure to make a statement with Joey’s sentence. However, I implore you to consider our human frailties, and the fact one mistake should not destroy the life, accomplishments, and contributions Joey has made. Joey has been humiliated and dishonored; but he grieves for his family, friends and the profession he has let down.”
Tracie Langston (5 pages) highlighting Langston’s good deeds as a father, lawyer, and community “philanthropist.”
“I am forever grateful and especially thankful that my sons have Joey as a father. Lovingly embracing these young men and pushing them at the same time is a gift.”
“Mister Rogers said, ‘It’s no secret that I like to get to know people – and not just the outside stuff of their lives. I like to try and understand the meaning of who people are and what they’re saying to me.’
“Simply,I hope that you understand that Joey is a good man, a good father, and a good husband. I know all of these things to be true because this is my life too. Joey Langston has been husband and best friend for 25 years.”
Dorthy “Dot” Langston – “Even as a little boy he was the kindest and most caring of my three children – who are all very special. … I can’t tell you how many people have told me how thankful they are that Joey helped them through a difficult time.”
“A good son is a good husband who is a good father – Joey is all of those things.”
“It is unfortunate that this has come about. This is such a dark time in our lives. I know Joey better than anyone in the world knows him. Please, please consider all his good deeds and kindness and please, please don’t send him away from us! I need him more than you could know and his boys and wife need him so very much. Casey and Bryce need him and all my ill relatives need him. He is the heart of our entire family! We will all fall apart without his care. Please, please have mercy on my wonderful, kind and caring son.”
Casey Langston Lott (nephew) (1/22/2008) The Lott Law Firm “It is with tearful eyes and a heavy heart that I write you today begging for your mercy on the kindest, most generous man I know, my uncle Joey.”
“This has been a very trying time for Joey and our family. It is very difficult to watch a man you love and admire, suffer so much over one lapse in judgement. … Taking Joey’s license to practice law away from him has hurt him more than you could imagine. When Joey lost his license, he lost his identity. I have never seen him so deflated.
“For the first time since that horrible Tuesday when I watched my ‘Uncle Jo Jo’ cry uncontrollably and tell me how sorry he was that he had ruined our family name, I saw something that gave me hope. It was the following three verses …” Proverbs 19:17, 21:13 and Isaiah 58:10.
“Please do not send my uncle away. If you had known and loved him as long as I have, you would feel the same way I do about him and you would know that he has already suffered enough.”
Christy Townley Mann, District Court Judge in Charlotte North Carolina, “I plead with you to not require him to active time, but use his good and plentiful attributes to help the least among us. … His final act as a lawyer, to take full responsibility for actions, without excuse, makes me proud to call him my cousin and my friend.”
Robert Bryce Lott (Joey is his uncle.) “I plead to you in fear that an example will be made of a good man in a weak moment without regard to what his life has given those closest to him.”
Second handwritten letter from Dorthy “Dot” Langston “Judge Mills, I would do anything is this whole world for Joey. I would gladly give my life for his.”
“Please, please consider what terrible loss and punishment, he doesn’t go out in public now unless he just has to. He is so ashamed. Please please don’t send him away.”
“I know you are a good and intelligent man or you wouldn’t be in the position you are in today. Please have mercy on Joey.”
Multiple pastors, preachers and other churchgoers.
Gary Walker “If it is deemed by your honor that he must be put away, then I humbly ask that you let me do his time. For you see your Honor, Joey’s health is not good he is a diabetic, and he will do more good for our community while I’m doing his time than I’ll ever be able to do.”
“If this is agreeable to your honor, please call me at (phone #) so we can work out the details.”
from “P” who is a native from Booneville but lives if West Texas
“Angry that attorney Joseph C. (Shylock) Langston would sell the flesh of the poorest of the poor people for money. He has traded their backs, calloused hands and hard spirit for Judas Blood Money.
“Please your Honor, I appeal to you to consider allowing this confessed criminal to serve the full sentence.”