Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bearden Widow Sought Justice

Sheriff Is Defendant in Unusual Lawsuit

Biloxi, June 1.-(AP)

One of the most interesting damage suits on the docket of the federal court, which opens here Monday, and the first of its kind filed here, is that of Jeannie Mae Bearden, her mother-in-law and her children, against Martin Brister, sheriff of Lincoln county, and the U. S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co., surety on his bond, in which plaintiffs seek $10,000 damages for the killing of Stanley Bearden, head of the household by a mob in Brookhaven, June 28, 1928.

It is alleged the killing was due to the negligence and misfeasance of the sheriff.

The case resulted in a nonsuit after the plaintiffs, before trial, announced they desired this step to be taken.

Nonsuit is a ruling by the judge in a lawsuit either when the plaintiff (the party who filed the suit) does not proceed to trial at the appointed time or has presented all his/her/its evidence and, in the judge's opinion, there is no evidence which could prove the plaintiff's case. A nonsuit terminates the trial at that point, and results in a dismissal of the plaintiff's case and judgment for the defendant.

Daily Clarion Ledger
Jackson, Mississippi
Sunday Morning, June 2, 1929
Page 1
Microfilm Number: 28876
Microfilm found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Encyclopedia of American Law:
nonsuit. (n.d.) West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. (2008). Retrieved August 31 2016 from

Thank You, Nona


  1. I would have been shocked if it went to trial.

    1. Me too, but I wanted her to find some justice somewhere.

  2. If the judge has the power to declare a case a non-suit, then there must not have been a jury, but there surely would have been the possibility of an appeal.

    You, I, and Anne Last ( have all posted about this case recently. I included two accounts, one the local newspaper account and the other an interview that was made in the 1980s. In the former, the sheriff comes away looking pretty good; in the latter, he’s clearly at fault for allowing the lynching to happen.

    1. I didn't either, so either I'm wrong about it existing, or it wasn't so recent after all. In any event, I asked her, and will get back to you when I hear something.

    2. Egg on my face: "I searched through my posts, but I couldn't find one about that lynching. If you would like, I can cover that lynching on my next post."

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Snowbrush, all is well. I look forward to reading your next post.

    5. It was just a confusing day—even the comment I just deleted was meant for her blog, which is where it now resides. Somedays, I take Ativan, oxycodone, alcohol, Ambien, and Neurontion, all being drugs that, even by themselves, tend to toward confusion and memory loss, so when I put them together I have been known to do things that are out of character for me and that I don’t even remember doing. Usually, I handle myself well, and I hate it when I don’t.