In Defense of Grass

Like most northern lawyers, I have little call to become embroiled in the doings of the deep south.  But as a guy who lives in the suburbs, I can appreciate grass.  Not weed (you didn’t think that, right?), but green, green grass.  Many suburbanites take their lawns very seriously, but apparently not nearly as seriously as the folks in Senatobia, Mississippi.

Via NEMS360, a bit of southern flavor:



SENATOBIA – Alcorn County officials on Thursday declined to make public their youth jail strip-search policy as three teens and their families questioned what happened to them there.

The teens – two girls and a boy, all 15 – say they were stripped naked and forced to “squat and cough” July 8 when they were booked into the Alcorn County-City of Corinth Juvenile Holding Center.
That’s some very harsh stuff, the sort of intrusive treatment that has been the subject of challenge on behalf of adults who have done less than substantial wrongs.  Indeed, in New Jersey, this was sufficiently outrageous and controversial to spawn a challenge that went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the nice justices are still pondering how to defeat it.

Either the adults in New Jersey are awfully soft, or the children of Senatobia are exceptionally tough.  So what did these three tough hombres (actually, two were hombrettes) do to invoke such fear and deserve such close cavity inspection?



Hours earlier, they’d been arrested on trespassing charges after they walked across a private lawn in Senatobia.
They walked across a lawn.  Well, not just any lawn. A private lawn. 

That’s how it starts.  First they just walk across a private lawn.  Soon, they”re climbing the magnolia, and before you know it, they’re plucking prize tulips from the window box.  Oh yes, it’s a gateway.


The teens are 10th-graders Larandra Wright of Southaven and Lakiya Burton and Kevonta Mack of Senatobia.

Thankfully, these teens are named, so the good people of Senatobia see them walking down the street, they can cross the street and steer clear of these private lawn walkers.  You can’t have 10th graders, almost adults, hiding from the consequences of their crimes and putting the lawns of Senatobia at risk.

Luckily for the law-abiding and private lawn-owning citizens of Senatobia, Leigh Ann Darby, youth and drug court judge, was at the Senatobia police department as this marauding gang was taken in.  When she heard “grass,” she knew what she had to do.



Darby was at the Senatobia Police Department when the three teens were brought in. Johnson said that when she demanded they all be tested for drugs, Hassell said he wanted a lawyer, and she ordered the trio sent directly to Alcorn County.

By demanding a lawyer, Thomas Hassell, Kevonta Mack’s father, proved yet again how the apple never falls far from the privately-owned tree.  Judge Darby wasn’t about to let this flagrant attempt to abuse constitutional rights to interfere with stopping the crime-spree in Senatobia.  According to a  statement released by a lawyer for the teens:


When the father of one of the children asked Darby why a drug test was necessary, Darby explained that she has authority over all children in Tate County and that if he did not like it he could move to another county.
America Tate County, love it or leave it, and so Darby shipped the three teens straight to jail, hands and feet shackled to they couldn’t escape and walk on some other private lawn.  That’s where they were made to squat and cough, and held for the next three days.

The reports fails to note whether these teens, this gang of marauders, this child-predators, will be prosecuted for any number of felonies with sentences up to life without parole, but at the very least, it’s clear that Mississippi, in general, and Tate and Alcorn Counties, in particular, aren’t about to just hide their heads in the sand and let 10th graders run roughshod over their private property rights by walking across lawns.

The grass of Mississippi is safe, thanks to the hard work and diligence of the Senatobia police, Judge Leigh Ann Darby and the unnamed heroes at the Alcorn County Youth Detention Center who made absolutely certain that there were no lawn mowers hiding in their youthful behinds.

If only the rest of suburbia would emulate the quick thinking and firm commitment of Senatobia, Mississippi, in the defense of grass.

H/T Phillip Thomas




5 comments on “In Defense of Grass

  1. Alex Bunin

    “I have little call to become embroiled in the doings of the deep south.”

    Whatdaya mean? You read Mark and Murray’s blogs. And stay off of my lawn!

  2. Alex Bunin

    Houston has the same latitude and climate as Mumbai. You are thinking of Amarillo, which is the equivalent distance from Houston as that of between you and Presque Isle, Maine. And while Houston is not necessarily considered a Southern city (It’s the Gulf Coast), Dallas is at least as Southern as Little Rock or Shreveport.

  3. Max Kennerly

    I grew up in Mississippi and I can assure you those kids must have been guilty of some other serious crime, like dressing in goth attire or being black. Had they conducted themselves like upstanding white football players, this whole misunderstanding could have been avoided.

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