Monday, January 16, 2006

Judge Duffy reverses bankruptcy judge in confederate letters case

Last August, federal bankruptcy Judge John Waites ruled that a collection of rare, Civil War-era letters belonged to the state and not Thomas Willcox. Willcox tried to auction off more than 400 letters he has had in his family for generations. Willcox filed for bankruptcy soon after. Many of the letters are correspondence between generals or the Confederate government and South Carolina Governors Francis Pickens and Milledge Bonham during the Civil War. Three are written by Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Judge Waites ruled that the letters deal with the official duties of the governor and therefore were public records.

My post on Judge Waites' decision along with links to other sources can be found here.

Now, U.S. District Judge Patrick Duffy has reversed the bankruptcy judge, holding that "the court finds no persuasive evidence to support the state's contention that, prior to 1865, the records of the state executive branch were considered public records."

The AP has this report on Judge Duffy's ruling.

My guess is that this one will soon be off to Richmond.

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