|39th Attorney General of Mississippi|
|Assumed office |
January 13, 2004
|Preceded by||Mike Moore|
James Matthew Hood
May 15, 1962
New Houlka, Mississippi, U.S.
|Education||University of Mississippi,|
Oxford (BA, JD)
James Matthew Hood (born May 15, 1962) is an American lawyer and the 39th Attorney General of Mississippi. A Democrat, he was elected in 2003, having defeated the Republican nominee Scott Newton. A former District Attorney, Hood succeeded Mike Moore. He is currently the only elected Democrat holding statewide office in Mississippi. He announced on October 3, 2018 that he will be running for Governor of Mississippi in 2019.
Early life and education
Hood has been active in the legal aspects of the recovery of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after Katrina, Hood partnered with Mississippi plaintiff attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, a brother-in-law of former U.S. Senator Trent Lott, in filing suit against numerous high-profile insurance companies. Hood's leadership has been praised by some as allowing homeowners a better opportunity for recovery than they experienced in neighboring Louisiana, but Scruggs and Hood have also been criticized for over-zealously prosecuting insurance companies and because Scruggs helped convey confidential documents, which Hood used in a criminal probe, supposedly to pressure State Farm Insurance into settlement. Hood was reelected on November 6, 2007 and again for a third term on November 8, 2011. On November 3, 2015 Hood was reelected for his fourth term. He is currently the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Mississippi.
In 2008, Judge William Acker criticized Hood in a judicial opinion for his role in helping Scruggs commit civil contempt. Scruggs was later convicted in federal court of crimes committed during the post-Katrina litigation. The saga is recounted in the 2009 book, Kings of Tort.
As a prosecutor, Hood has tried more than 100 jury cases while serving as an Assistant Attorney General and as a District Attorney (D.A.). He has successfully prosecuted several historic cases, including winning the conviction of Killen. As D.A., he successfully prosecuted death penalty cases, including one in which he originally won a conviction, and later, as Attorney General (A.G.), argued and won an appeal of the case before the United States Supreme Court. As A.G., Hood established a Vulnerable Adults Unit, a Domestic Violence Unit, an Identity Theft Unit, and a Crime Prevention and Victims Services Division to better protect Mississippians. He has launched initiatives to prevent workplace and school violence, and stalking and domestic assault. Hood has developed and distributed numerous publications to assist and educate both consumers and other public service entities in areas such as cyber crime, consumer protection, domestic violence, victims' assistance, election, and government law.
On February 8, 2017, Hood announced he had filed civil cases against numerous corporations and individuals who had allegedly engaged in corrupt contracts with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and its former Commissioner Chris Epps, seeking damages and punitive damages. He stated, "The state of Mississippi has been defrauded through a pattern of bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentations, fraud, concealment, money laundering and other wrongful conduct." He continued, "These individuals and corporations that benefited by stealing from taxpayers must not only pay the state's losses, but state law requires that they must also forfeit and return the entire amount of the contracts paid by the state. We are also seeking punitive damages to punish these conspirators and to deter those who might consider giving or receiving kickbacks in the future." Besides Teresa Malone and Carl Reddix, who had been indicted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, the civil case defendants included previously uncharged Michael Reddix; Andrew Jenkins; Utah's Management & Training Corporation; Florida's GEO Group, Inc.; Cornell Companies, Inc.; Wexford Health Sources, Inc.; The Bantry Group Corporation; AdminPros, L.L.C.; CGL Facility Management, LLC; Mississippi Correctional Management, Inc.; Branan Medical Corporation; Drug Testing Corporation; Global Tel*Link Corporation; Health Assurance, LLC; Keefe Commissary Network of St. Louis, Missouri, LLC; Sentinel Offender Services, L.L.C. and AJA Management & Technical Services, Inc.
On his last day as governor in 2012, Haley Barbour granted 208 pardons, clemency or early release for people convicted of crimes including murder, rape and armed robbery. Barbour's actions included 19 people convicted of murder. Pardons by governors are not uncommon; the issue in this case is the number of pardons compared to former governors. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, whom Barbour succeeded as governor, issued only one pardon, for a man convicted of marijuana possession; Gov. Kirk Fordice, who preceded Musgrove, issued two full pardons for convicted murderers. In his role as Attorney General, Hood argued Section 124 of the Mississippi Constitution says any inmate seeking a pardon must publish their intentions 30 days in a newspaper in or near the county where the person was convicted and on January 11, a Mississippi judge temporarily blocked the release of the 21 inmates who had been given pardons or medical release.
2017 Hurricane Katrina insurance lawsuits
Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, in May 2017 Hood filed lawsuits against Liberty Mutual Insurance and Safeco Insurance claiming that the companies failed to make adequate payments for the victims of Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina occurred in August 2005. It caused $125 billion in property damage within Mississippi.
The lawsuits claim that the insurance companies "undervalued claims for Katrina winded damages to minimize payments and to foist the financial burden onto the state when adjusting homeowners' insurance claims in the wake of the hurricane." Part of the complaint read, "Liberty Mutual essentially converted a program designed to help Mississippians recovering from Katrina into a subsidy for itself."
In 2017, Hood filed lawsuits against a number of pharmaceutical companies. In the lawsuits, Hood alleged that the companies were engaging in an unlawful scheme to "force the state to pay for drugs that were not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement." Overall, Hood filed six separate lawsuits against the 18 defendant companies.
Among other things, the lawsuits claimed that the companies made the state of Mississippi pay for drugs that had not received approval by the FDA. According to Legal NewsLine, "Hood contends the companies' scheme involves false representations, made by the defendants to the state, that their National Drug Codes, or NDCs, are FDA approved and eligible for Medicaid reimbursement."
Hood said that the allegedly fraudulent marketing of drugs by the defendant companies resulted in an increased market share and profits for the companies while "essentially leaving the state in a lurch."
On December 19, 2014, as a result of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, emails were released that showed that Hood was co-opted by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to blame Google for acts of copyright infringement committed by numerous, multiple unrelated third parties via the trade organisations the Digital Citizens Alliance and FairSearch. The released emails also showed that threatening communications from Hood's office to Google were written by MPAA counsel.
Working with the National Association of Attorneys General and Entertainment lobby groups, Hood has been pushing Google since 2013 to prevent use of the company's search engine to find drugs that require a prescription and copyright infringing content. In December 2014, Google sued Hood in federal court, seeking to block a 79-page subpoena from the Attorney General for violating First and Fourth Amendments rights. The Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss Google's motion on January 12, 2015. Both parties later agreed to freeze their motions and not enforce the subpoena until March 6, 2015. A U.S. District Judge granted Google's request for a preliminary injunction on March 2, 2015 putting on hold the pending subpoena and ordering Attorney General Hood to hand over information requested by Google. An appeals court has overturned the preliminary injunction on procedural grounds and allowed the subpoena, though it also criticized the broad nature Hood's original subpoena and the lack of any specific associated investigation. In July 2016, Google and Hood agreed to dismiss their respective lawsuits and subpoenas. The Attorney General and Google agreed to "endeavor to collaborate in addressing the harmful consequences of unlawful and/or dangerous online content".
Email communications made public through Google's request outlined plans for a PR campaign discussed between the MPAA and Hood's office targeting Google through an elaborate scheme of media campaigns using PR firms and news outlets targeting Google's stock price and reputation.
2019 gubernatorial campaign
|Mississippi Attorney General Election, 2003|
|Mississippi Attorney General Election, 2007|
|Democratic||Jim Hood (inc.)||440,017||59.82%|
|Mississippi Attorney General Election, 2011|
|Democratic||Jim Hood (inc.)||536,827||61.08%|
|Mississippi Attorney General Election, 2015|
|Democratic||Jim Hood (inc.)||395,969||55.29%|
- Rebecca Mowbray and Mary Judice (January 30, 2007). "Lawsuit in Miss. stands in contrast to La.; Neighboring state goes after insurers". Times-Picayune (New Orleans).
- "Mississippi Justice". Wall Street Journal. March 15, 2007.
- Associated Press (June 6, 2008). "Judge: Miss. attorney general conspired with Scruggs". USA Today. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
- Mohr, Holbrook (June 27, 2008). "Scruggs gets 5 years in prison in bribery scheme". USA Today. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Lange, Alan; et al. (2009). Kings of Tort. Pediment Publishing. p. 255. ISBN 1-59725-244-1.
- "About Jim Hood". jimhood.org. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- Mississippi AG files lawsuits in Epps bribery case, The Clarion-Ledger, Jimmie E. Gates, February 8, 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
- Ward, Robbie (January 10, 2012). "Mississippi's Barbour surprises with raft of pardons". Reuters.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
- "Mississippi judge blocks release of 21 inmates given pardons by Governor Barbour". Fox News. Associated Press. January 11, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Sammon, John (2017-05-26). "Mississippi attorney general alleges insurance companies cost state millions for Katrina payments". Legal NewsLine. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
- Karmasek, Jessica (2017-05-02). "Miss. AG, with the help of outside attorneys, sues pharma companies over allegedly unapproved drugs". Legal NewsLine. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
- "Sued by Google, a state attorney general retreats". New York Times. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- WINGFIELD, NICK (December 16, 2014). "Google's Detractors Take Their Fight to the States". Retrieved January 1, 2015.
- "Google sues Mississippi Attorney General 'for doing MPAA's dirty work'". The Register. December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- "Letter to Google From Mississippi's Attorney General". https://www.nytimes.com/. New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2015. External link in
- "Google files lawsuit against Mississippi attorney general to block subpoena". CNET.
- "Miss. attorney general asks court to dismiss Google's suit". Washington Times.
- "GOOGLE SLAMS MPAA CENSORSHIP EFFORTS AFTER COURT 'VICTORY'". Torrent Freak.
- "Court: Google Can See Emails About MPAA's Secret 'SOPA Revival'". torrentfreak.com. April 21, 2015.
- "Appeals court: Google will have to deal with Mississippi AG investigation". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
- Mullin, Joe (14 July 2016). "Google ends spat with Mississippi AG over his MPAA-tinged investigation". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "MPAA Emails Expose Dirty Media Attack Against Google - TorrentFreak". Retrieved 2015-07-28.
- "New Court Evidence Reveals Hollywood's Plan to Smear Google". Retrieved 2015-07-28.
- "New MPAA e-mail showcases anti-Google attack plan". Retrieved 2015-07-28.
| Attorney General of Mississippi