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Misconduct Report: December 2014

Keith Starrett

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Keith Starrett
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #3
Station:   Hattiesburg, MS
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   12/13/2004 - Present
Preceded by:   Charles Pickering
Past post:   Mississippi Fourteenth Judicial District, Judge
Past term:   1992 - 2004
Personal History
Born:   1951
Hometown:   McComb, MS
Undergraduate:   Mississippi State U., B.S., 1972
Law School:   University of Mississippi Law, J.D., 1974

Keith Starrett is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. He joined the court in 2004 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.

Early life and education

A native of Mississippi, Starrett graduated from Mississippi State University with his bachelor's degree in 1972 and later graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law with his Juris Doctor in 1974.[1]

Professional career

Starett spent his pre-judicial legal career as a private practice attorney licensed in the State of Mississippi from 1975 to 1992. In addition to his private practice work, Starrett also served as a part-time assistant district attorney for the 14th Circuit Court District of Mississippi in 1981. In 1992, Starrett became a judge for the Circuit Court in the Fourteenth District and served in the role until his appointment to the federal court in 2004.[1]

Judicial career

Southern District of Mississippi

On the unanimous recommendation of U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, Starrett was nominated by President George W. Bush on July 6, 2004, to a seat vacated by Charles Pickering as Pickering was nominated to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Starrett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 2004, and received commission on December 13, 2004.[1]

Notable cases

Massive Medicare fraud case (2009-2011)

     United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (United States v. Telandra Gail Jones, et al., 10-60944)

In this case, Telandra Gail Jones, Theddis Marcel Pearson, and five other individuals were charged with defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of more than $39 million by over-billing for healthcare services provided in ways that intentionally violated Medicare regulations but profited Jones and Pearson.[2][3]

In November 2010, after a month-long trial, Judge Starrett sentenced Jones and Pearson, who owned Statewide Physical Medicine Group, a physical therapy provider in Mississippi, each to 10 years in prison after both were found guilty of using Statewide to steal government funds and launder money.[4] Judge Starrett also sentenced Pearson to an additional 5 years in prison for falsely representing that physical therapy treatment provided by Statewide was under physician supervision. Judge Starrett ordered Jones and Pearson to each pay roughly $18 million in restitution.[5][6]

Fifth Circuit appeal

In December 2011, Jones and Pearson appealed their convictions and Judge Starrett's order in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judges Jerry Smith, Edward Prado, and Jennifer Elrod affirmed Jones and Pearson's convictions for theft of government funds and money laundering, but reversed Pearson's convictions for healthcare false statements, as they found Pearson did not have the required mens rea for this crime.[7]

Ruling in favor of Hattiesburg over Voting Rights Act (2009)

     United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (Reverend Kenneth E. Fairley, Sr., et al., v. Hattiesburg, Mississippi, et al., 2:2006cv00167)

In 2008, Starrett ruled in favor of the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in a case regarding the drawing of voting district lines. Plaintiffs contended that the city violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by including dormitory students in population calculations used to draw the city's wards.[8] Starrett, however, ruled that the City of Hattiesburg did not violate the Act, stating that despite lingering "effects of over a century of official discrimination,” years preceding his ruling had seen "remarkable progress" in black voters' ability to select candidates of their choice.[9][10]

Starrett found that the "plaintiffs did not show that Hattiesburg's new wards violate the one-person, one-vote principle. Starrett said it would be impossible to draw three majority-black city wards without excluding the students."[11]

Appeal to Fifth Circuit

This ruling was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The three judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed Starrett's 2008 ruling. Thomas Reavley, Jerry Smith, and James Dennis upheld Starrett's finding that the redrawing of districts did not violate the one-person, one-vote principle. Judge Smith wrote for the Court and dissented with regard to the majority's endorsement of Starrett's interpretation of the Gringles factors, a legal test for determining violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[12][13]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Charles Pickering
Southern District of Mississippi
Seat #3
Succeeded by:

MississippiMississippi Supreme CourtMississippi Court of AppealsMississippi circuit courtsMississippi Chancery CourtMississippi county courtsMississippi justice courtsMississippi youth courtsMississippi municipal courtsUnited States District Court for the Northern District of MississippiUnited States District Court for the Southern District of MississippiUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitMississippi countiesMississippi judicial newsMississippi judicial electionsJudicial selection in MississippiMississippiTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg