FBI Agent Hal Neilson may face new trial by “selective punctuation” in “The Case of the Misplaced Modifiers”

Having updated Breaking News to reflect the comments of Neilson’s attorney Christi McCoy, we return to the previously announced bitching about review of the three counts reportedly subject to retrial and the doctrine of collateral estoppel applied to the double jeopardy clause:

Collateral estoppel “means simply that when an issue of ultimate fact has once been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot again be litigated between the same parties in any future lawsuit. (Georgetown Law Journal)

One would think FBI Agent Hal Neilson’s “trial by grammar” would have ended “The Case of the Misplaced Modifers” – but, apparently, that remains to be seen despite this 2008 USSC decision that held:

An apparent inconsistency between a jury’s verdict of acquittal on some counts and its failure to return a verdict on other counts does not affect the acquittals’ preclusive force under the Double Jeopardy Clause.

In this same USSC decision, the Court wrote, “To identify what a jury necessarily determined at trial, courts should scrutinize the jury’s decisions, not its failures to decide”. Consequently, I’ve set this post up so you can take a look at the counts the jury decided, the quick summary of key points in the NEMS360 report, and the listed on the court’s notice of new trial. (In other words, I’m done for the day – and when I’m too done in to bitch about injustice, watch out!)

Neilson was found NOT guilty on Count Two and Count Five of the Indictment and cannot be retried on these counts or any counts that would re-litigate a decided issue: Continue reading “FBI Agent Hal Neilson may face new trial by “selective punctuation” in “The Case of the Misplaced Modifiers””

BREAKING NEWS: Government to re-try New trial date set for Neilson on Counts 1,3, and 4 of the Indictment – “The Case of the Misplaced Modifer” UPDATED

Quick update here from NEMS360 with Patsy Brumfield reporting:

Monday, Judge Sharion Aycock set Jan. 18 to re-try him on three counts that a 12-member jury could not agree to unanimously across 13 hours of deliberations last week…

Christi R. McCoy of Oxford, one of his defense team attorneys, said the U.S. Speedy Trial Act requires that a new court date be set.

“But we hope the government will elect not to re-try this case,” she said late Monday.

Speechless I’m not but what I have to say is hardly printable!  I’ve been checking Pacer for the jury verdict, intending to write a very different post from the one I’m writing now.

I’ll be back with a look at the three counts and the concept of double jeopardy as it applies to mistrials.

Insurance P&C Meltdown Alert

From the Wall Street Journal’s Hear on the Street: State of Alert for Insurance Firms (may hit pay wall)

Some property and casualty insurers are particularly vulnerable to a downturn in the municipal bond market.

The list: value of municipal securities holdings as a ratio to common equity:

  • W.R. Berkley  153%
  • Travelers  152%
  • Chubb 1 27%
  • Allstate  87%
  • Everest RE  58%

Munis account for about 30% of property-and-casualty insurers’ invested assets. And companies like Travelers and Chubb have more than half of their fixed-income investment portfolios in the securities…

Those exposures—Travelers has $41 billion in munis; Chubb, $20.2 billion—may hit insurers’ book values if the recent selloff doesn’t reverse, or gets worse. As of Nov. 16, Travelers had likely recorded losses on its muni portfolio of about $1.4 billion, and Chubb, about $670 million, according to a report by UBS.