Former Judge George Moran

Duane Bailey

You won't find it in the administrative rules book, but sources tell Dicta that in the wake of a former judge's unfortunate brush with a sombrero and a digital camera, there's a new "unofficial" decree on Main Street.

Staff and judges can no longer wear goofy-looking hats to the Madison County courthouse.

Apparently, the prospect of embarrassing action shots, heightened in this era of prolific camera phones, demanded executive action.

Third Circuit employees determined to pose can still sit for beefcake or cheesecake photos. Pictures like those in the annual "Real Men of the River Bend" calendar have thus far escaped restriction.

The calendars benefit the March of Dimes, so at least they embarrass for a good cause.

What's the Dealio?

Chief Judge Ann Callis has made a pact with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to, of all things, endorse Associate Judge Barbara Crowder in November.

The upshot for the NAACP-- so long as Crowder wins, Assistant State's Attorney Duane Bailey will be tapped in June 2007 for an associate judgeship, squeezing out Republican Associate Judge Steve Stobbs.

Of course the plan rests on the outcome of the retention vote in November.

Bailey, who's black, has applied for the associate judge spot a dozen times but has never, until now, captivated the attention of the nine circuit judges who make up the selection committee.

Stand up guy

Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel, who did a superb job of shining light on Madison County's asbestos litigation industry, has been reassigned to an education beat in St. Louis.

Before he left, Hampel wanted to see what it would be like to be an attorney. He filed a motion, pro se, on behalf of his newspaper to unseal a search warrant of Tom Lakin's home.

Former Chief Judge Ed Ferguson ruled that Hampel did not have standing to file such a motion on behalf of the paper. But he agreed that the search warrant shouldn't have been sealed in the first place in the newly super-reformed courts of Madison County.

Hampel left things better around here than when he arrived. We wish him Godspeed.

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