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Miss. Judge Jails Attorney for Not Reciting Pledge


"I don't have to say it because I'm an American."

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi state judge sent a lawyer to jail for several hours for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in court, according to court records.

Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn told people in his Tupelo courtroom Wednesday to stand up and say the pledge.

Oxford attorney Danny Lampley stood up. But he "failed and refused" to recite the pledge and was jailed for criminal contempt of court, according to the judge's order, obtained by The Associated Press.

Lampley, 49, was booked into the Lee County jail where he stayed for about five hours.

Littlejohn's order said: "Lampley shall purge himself of said criminal contempt by complying with the order of this Court by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court."

But the judge later ordered Lampley's release, saying he was scheduled to represent a client in the courtroom.

Littlejohn did not respond to messages left at his home and office. Lampley didn't respond to calls, either.

Lampley told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that he has a lot of respect for the judge but wasn't going to back down on this issue.

"I don't have to say it because I'm an American," Lampley told the newspaper, "I'm just not going to back off on this."

The judge's calendar said Lampley was representing a client in a divorce case at the time of the contempt order.

Littlejohn is in his second term as a chancery judge and presides over a court that handles cases like divorces and child custody disputes. Judges in Mississippi are elected, though they run in nonpartisan races.

Littlejohn is running unopposed for re-election in November.

Littlejohn is a former state lawmaker. He ran for a congressional seat as a Democrat in 1996. He came in second out of three candidates in the Democratic primary and lost a runoff.

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