Attorney General Holder, Paul Minor and the feather in the cap culture of DOJ

I’m not wild about calling Paul a “political prisoner,” but I do think the Government overreached Federal jurisdiction in prosecuting an alleged State crime, and I also think the evidence of a quid pro quo was entirely speculative.

I’m not wild about calling Paul a political prisoner either but before I go further, I need to stop and  welcome Ipse Blogit to SLABBED with a h/t for the link to Elusive Justice Overdue in the Case of Political Prisoner Paul Minor on the Huffington Post.

Those who see Paul Minor as political prisoner – including Brendan DeMelle who wrote for the Huffington Post – are seeing Paul in his “role as the top funder of Democratic candidates in Mississippi”.

Without adding to or taking anything away from that connection, I see Paul as a feather-in-the-cap prisoner — a highly valued prize in cultural environment of a Justice Department with two measures of success: conviction rates and high-profile convictions.

As Jim Brown’s April 16 column explains, those measures reflect a value contrary to a prosecutor’s duty:

As federal appeals courts have said repeatedly: “A prosecutor has a special duty commensurate with a prosecutor’s unique power, to assure that defendants receive fair trials. Prosecutors sometimes forget that the prosecutor’s special duty is not to convict, but to secure justice.”

Asking General Holder to concede the errors in Paul’s case is asking him to pluck feathers without tossing the caps.

DeMelle’s post is below the jump and you don’t have to believe Paul is a political prisoner to question his conviction or see he has been unlawfully confined while his Appeal is pending. Continue reading “Attorney General Holder, Paul Minor and the feather in the cap culture of DOJ”

SLABBED Daily – June 18

Two topics I thought could not possibly be news – a Congressman’s affair and clutter – have proven newsworthy after all.

Reporting the first, I leave to Talking Points and take the one I know something about – clutter – although I’m not the one who made the mess at FEMA: Disaster Contracts Lost and Misplaced – DHS IG Finds Piles of Boxes and Papers.

With Hurricane season just over 2 weeks old the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General has released a report finding that FEMA needs to improve how it handles it’s disaster management contracts finding lost files, misplaced boxes and general shambles in the offices that oversaw billions of dollars of contracts. The DHS audit focuses on

FEMA’s Acquisition Management Division (AMD) which oversees the contracting of services during a disaster ranging from shelter, to food and ice shipments and other essential services…

Central file storage room of FEMA's Acquisition Management Division - Before and After
Central file storage room of FEMA's Acquisition Management Division - Before and After

The Inspector General’s review noted that part of the problem with finding the records could be attributed to the moving of the Acquisition Management Division’s offices from FEMA’s Headquarters building to a location called Patriot’s Plaza about 2 blocks away in downtown Washington. The result of the move had the centralized file room strewn with open and ripped boxes, folder’s laying about and stacks of papers laying around which contained the contracts… Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – June 18”

Jim Brown on the Voting Rights Act

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baton Rouge, Louisiana



Are institutionalized acts of racism interwoven in the election procedures that regularly take place in Louisiana? Is there a concentrated effort on the part of Louisiana elections officials to put up barriers so that it is more difficult for minorities to participate in the election process? The Louisiana congressional delegation must think so. They voted in lockstep with a large majority of congress to keep Louisiana and a handful of other states under constant federal election watch, branding them as second class states when it comes to running elections.

Republicans and Democrats alike (including then Congressman Bobby Jindal and both current Louisiana U.S. Senators) basically sent a message that Louisiana could not be trusted to run fair elections. The other states in the list include Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. (Interesting to note that both members of the recent Republican national ticket are from states that also apparently cannot carry off an honest election).

Under the Voting Rights Act, passed back in 1965, these few states must obtain permission or “preclearance” from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any changes that affect voting. Thant’s even the slightest change. If a voting both is to be moved a few feet, preclearance is necessary. The effort is both costly and time consuming. So the current federal law is saying that in a few states, located mostly in the south, state and local officials cannot e trusted to abide by the law. The federal government must look over their shoulder. Continue reading “Jim Brown on the Voting Rights Act”

On the other side – policyholders v Nationwide

One justice asked Nationwide whether ACC would exclude coverage in a case where a home was 95% destroyed by wind before any flooding…According to…[Nationwide]…it does not matter what actually caused the damage.  If the subsequent flooding would have caused it, the damage is covered by NFIP and not Nationwide.

Nationwide’s unabashed admission of claims dumping, linked here, could not have been a surprise to policyholders on the Coast who found the Company was not on their side after Hurricane Katrina.

A review of five policyholder cases currently in litigation is telling of the other side of Nationwide.  Corban, Gunn, & Van Cleave represents plaintiffs O’Bannon, Hartman, and Drake; Chuck McRea, former Presiding Judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court is counsel for Watson; and Nilson plaintiffs are represented by the Bay St. Louis firm Hawkins, Stracener & Gibson.

SLABBED first reviews the O’Bannon v Nationwide Complaint as it provides the most detailed description of the events behind the Company’s admitted billing of wind damage to the NFIP – a description that supports a larger conspiracy of fraud than either Nationwide or State Farm alone as claimed in the first Rigsby qui tam complaint. (Nationwide was among the three insurer defendants dismissed without prejudice by the Rigsbys with consent to same from  the Department of Justice on behalf of the United States)

Denial of Plaintiffs’ Claim Was Part of a Top-Down Scheme of Institutional Fraud Continue reading “On the other side – policyholders v Nationwide”