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Lampton served public, staff well

Perhaps it may have been a shock to many of you last week when you learned of the death of former Copiah County District Attorney Dunn Lampton.  Dunn had been in good health while he served the people of Copiah County.
Dunn’s fight for life started a few years ago after a freak motor vehicle accident on his farm in Osyka.  The wreck injured his spinal cord and, for all intents and purposes, ended his career as the U. S. Attorney for Southern District of Mississippi, though he would continue to serve until 2009.  Those of us that knew him as healthy and vibrant watched him get better, then worse, then better, then worse again with a sick feeling in our stomachs.  He did not deserve the struggle he endured the last few years of his life.
During his five terms as District Attorney of Pike, Lincoln, Walthall and Copiah Counties, Dunn went after the types of crimes that perhaps others would not have–political corruption, namely.  He was a key figure during Operation Pretense in the 1980’s, which led to convictions on corruption charges of not only supervisors from Copiah County, but of others around the state, as well.
Once appointed to the position of U. S. Attorney by President George W. Bush, Dunn proceeded to go after decades–old murder cases that required extensive research and the will to prosecute those that others were unable or unwilling to.  
U. S. District Judge Keith Starrett, perhaps Dunn’s best friend, said this about Dunn while reading the eulogy at Dunn’s funeral on Saturday:  “He was a man of courage.”  His entire career is evidence of that.
Futhermore, Dunn made it a point to hire those who he deemed smarter than himself, Starrett explained.  “He surrounded himself with good people, and he truly believed that he was the least intelligent person in his law practice or even in his elected and appointed offices,” Judge Starrett stated.
Dunn believed in helping his staff members excel and provided them with the tools and training to do so. At least one of Dunn’s former co-workers that I spoke with after the service on Saturday had this to say:  “If Dunn hadn’t believed in me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
He was a leader not only in the courts of law, but also the leader of his family.  He was crazy about his wife, Suzanne, and children, Sidney and Will.
And, as Judge Starrett concluded on Saturday, whether you were a witness on the side of the state or sat in the defendant’s seat on the other, “Dunn treated everyone fairly and with respect.”
One can say that Dunn Lampton’s record proves that he served the people well.  He will be missed.
Joe Buck Coates

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