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”

5th Circuit Panel questions federal jurisdiction in USA v Minor

First, a big SLABBED welcome to Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story and an equally big thank you for including a transcript of Paul Minor’s Appeal in her post on the story.

Had the transcripts not been available, I would have been left to puzzle over the concept of subject matter jurisdiction: The power of a court to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong; and, 18USC.666: Theft or bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds.

The panel of Fifth Circuit judges hearing Paul Minor’s Appeal, however, came to my rescue with a really interesting discussion of the issues.  In doing so, they not only helped this non-lawyer understand one of the controversial aspects of Minor’s case, but one that is also a factor in USA v DeLaughter and was in USA v Scruggs as well.

In his Motion for Bill of Particulars, Judge DeLaughter asked the USA to:

  • Identify with specificity the particular “state and local government” entity of which Judge DeLaughter is alleged to be an agent.
  • Identify with specificity the “government and judicial agency” that allegedly “received in a one-year period benefits in excess of $10,000 under a federal program…”

Although the question of quid pro quo was the primary focus of  DeLaughter’s Motion to Inspect Grand Jury Minutes, the underlying issue of there incorporates concerns about “666” – the shorthand reference to this section of the Code. Continue reading “5th Circuit Panel questions federal jurisdiction in USA v Minor”