Hiram Eastland graduated from the University of Mississippi where he majored in economics and minored in english, history and latin.  He went to Ole Miss Law School, where he received the case note of the year award while serving on the Mississippi Law Journal and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. He clerked at the United States Department of Justice in civil Fraud Section during the Watergate summer of 1974.

Upon graduating law school in 1975, Hiram was employed as a Trial Attorney by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington D.C.  While at the DOJ, Mr. Eastland litigated numerous cases around the country on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Treasury.  Mr. Eastland’s litigation experience at DOJ included serving as co-lead counsel for HUD in litigation that resulted in one of the largest national class action settlements in U.S. history up to that time. 

Mr. Eastland also gained valuable experience at the DOJ with the white collar criminal laws that underlie DOJ criminal prosecutions, as well as civil and criminal RICO prosecutions.   

Mr. Eastland began a private practice in 1979 that focused on white collar criminal defense, as well as federal regulatory litigation.  Mr. Eastland’s white collar criminal defense practice has included defense of health care fraud, Medicare fraud, bank fraud, energy fraud, financial sector fraud, insurance fraud, and public corruption fraud cases (including alleged federal bribery and honest services mail and wire fraud and RICO cases, as well as alleged criminal conduct associated with campaign contributions). His practice has also included defense of false statements, perjury or obstruction of justice charges involved in white collar prosecutions.

Mr. Eastland has had extensive experience defending honest services mail and wire fraud charges and extensive experience with the underlying policy for the statute. He was also instrumental in proposing the 1988 honest services mail and wire fraud legislation to then Chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Senator Joe Biden and Congressman John Conyers. And he served as Co-Chairman of the McNally Committee of the American Bar Association White Collar Crime Committee that studied honest services mail and wire fraud policy after the 1987 Supreme Court McNally decision. Recently Mr. Eastland has had extensive experience reviewing and litigating the impact of the 2010 Skilling Supreme Court decision on honest services mail and wire fraud convictions, including reviewing the potential for vacating honest services convictions for clients through § 2255 or error coram nobis proceedings. He has also engaged in extensive post-Skilling honest services policy discussions with the Justice Department in seeking to vacate various honest services convictions in light of the Skilling decision. 

Mr. Eastland has placed a special emphasis in his white collar practice on assisting clients in potentially avoiding indictment by thoroughly developing their defenses to Grand Jury investigations early on.

Mr. Eastland has likewise placed a special emphasis in his white collar practice on assisting clients in carefully developing and  framing their core legal theories and defenses for trial, assisting clients with developing and framing their core legal theories and defenses for the appeal of their criminal convictions, as well as  assisting clients in effectively presenting compelling “substantial questions” to the Courts to support their arguments that they should remain free on bond throughout their appeal.

Mr. Eastland was recently successful in securing former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman’s release from prison when he successfully presented “substantial questions” regarding the campaign contribution issues in the case to the Eleventh Circuit arguing that the district court’s denial of bond pending appeal should be reversed.

Mr. Eastland’s recent criminal appeals experience includes his assistance in developing the core legal theories and issues presently on appeal in Governor Siegelman’s case. Similarly, Mr. Eastland’s recent criminal appeals experience includes his assistance in developing the core legal theories and defenses on appeal to the Fifth Circuit in Mississippi trial attorney Paul Minor’s case that resulted in reversal of his federal bribery convictions.  Similarly, Mr. Eastland developed the core legal theories and defenses that support reversal of the remainder of Paul Minor’s  convictions at the present district court re-sentencing proceedings.

Mr. Eastland has extensive experience in the prosecution and defense of both criminal and civil RICO cases. He has served as co-counsel alongside Professor G. Robert Blakey, author of the federal RICO statute, with whom he maintains a close working relationship. In 2006, Mr. Eastland associated Professor Blakey in defending Governor Siegelman at trial along with his Alabama lawyers.  Although the other convictions are on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit, Governor Siegelman was acquitted of all 26 RICO charges brought against him that Mr. Eastland was originally retained to defend.

Mr. Eastland’s extensive experience in litigating civil RICO cases includes defending civil RICO prosecutions, as well as prosecuting civil RICO cases. He has developed the civil RICO legal theories for numerous cases, including the RICO theories for the class action lawsuits against the nation’s largest HMOs, which led to settlements on behalf of 600,000 doctors in excess of $1 billion.

Similarly, Mr. Eastland developed the RICO theories and filed the first RICO cases involved in the present civil RICO lawsuits against BP that arose out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and associated oil spill.  Mr. Eastland was recently appointed a RICO Coordinator of the RICO litigation in the Deepwater Horizon MDL litigation in New Orleans.

Mr. Eastland has also represented various state government agencies, including Mississippi’s Attorney General.  He has served as lead counsel for the Mississippi Public Service Commission on various public utility cases in which the rates paid by citizens of Mississippi to MP&L (Entergy) and Mississippi Power Company were challeged.  Mr. Eastland represented the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) as lead counsel in the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant litigation before the PSC, as well as before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C.  He also represented the State of Mississippi and Mississippi’s Attorney General as lead counsel in seeking and having the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) declared unconstitutional by the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Similarly, Mr. Eastland served as lead counsel for the State of Mississippi and Mississippi’s Attorney General in the appeal of that case to the United States Supreme Court.

Throughout his career, Mr. Eastland has represented high-profile clients, including former public officials, attorneys, doctors, medical clinics, health care companies, energy companies and energy executives, banking executives and other corporate executives.  He has often represented his clients as lead counsel and has also often worked alongside other counsel as a coordinated legal team.

Mr. Eastland is associated with several national and community organizations and initiatives, including the William Winter Institute For Racial Reconciliation, which Hiram conceptualized and sought President Clinton, John Hope Franklin and Governor Winter’s initial support for in creating and locating the institute at Ole Miss. He is also an active member of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s national and international environmental Water Alliance and Riverkeeper organizations, and Hiram co-founded Emerald Coastkeepers along with his longtime friends Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papantonio.  Emerald Coastkeepers is an environmental watchdog group for the Gulf of Mexico and the bays, lakes and streams of the Florida Panhandle. Hiram is also actively assisting Anthony Shriver in organizing a broad network of Best Buddies support groups in Mississippi for special children and adults. Best Buddies is an organization begun by Anthony as an extension of his mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Special Olympics.

Courts: Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, Mississippi Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court, United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

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Hiram Eastland, Jr.