Honest Services (part 2) – a Supremely interesting commentary

“ The prosecutor has more power over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.”

United States Attorney General and Supreme Court Jus tice Robert H. Jackson

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz provided a supremely interesting commentary on his  “up close and personal” experience  with the honest services law and federal prosecutors, USA v Minor et al,  in a review of the Kings of Torts published in the  Northside Sun, a popular Jackson weekly .

We are left to wonder why the court records were not sufficient to support the author’s positions and opinions? Why do they resort to unsworn statements and unproven allegations?

Specifically, why did the authors feel compelled to state as fact that I lived in a condominium owned by Paul Minor free of charge when prosecutors offered no proof of this because they discovered that it was not true? Why did they describe an event involving Paul Minor at a hotel bar, when court testimony clearly showed the event did not occur? Continue reading “Honest Services (part 2) – a Supremely interesting commentary”

Attorneys for Minor co-defendant John Whitfield write Attorney General Holder

We tell this to go beyond our lawyer’s talk of Brady violations and honest services statutes and quidpro quo and to put a human face on the victims of the corruption of the Department of Justice and the Public Integrity Section under the previous administration— to put a human face on this victim of a baseless, legally void political prosecution.

Whitfield Appeal provides timely review of law re: judicial bribery, USA v Minor, a late July SLABBED post, reported Mr. Whitfield’s Appeal to the 5th Circuit.  One man’s convicted felon is another’s father, son followed in early August.

Some roll their eyes at the mention of a politically motivated prosecution of Whitfield, Minor and Teel.  Others are more adamant in their believe politics was not involved. Drew Martin and David McCarty, Mr. Whitfield’s new counsel, took the issue head-on in their recent letter to Attorney General Holder

Mr. Lampton actually said to Mr. Whitfield and his previous counsel before the first
indictment was returned, “[y]ou wouldn’t be a target of this investigation if it wasn’t for your politics.” This statement, combined with the curious removal of Mr. Lampton’s name from the second list of U.S. Attorneys slated for firing by the Bush Justice Department, raise serious questions as to the propriety of Mr. Whitfield’s prosecution from its inception.

I’m uncertain how long Mr. Whitfield was without counsel; however, his current attorneys point out he filed his first Appeal with the Fifth pro se over a year ago. Continue reading “Attorneys for Minor co-defendant John Whitfield write Attorney General Holder”

Whitfield Appeal provides timely review of law re: judicial bribery, USA v Minor

Alan over at Y’all recently reported Judge Wingate’s largely unreported denial of Paul Minor co-defendant John Whitfield’s motion for release pending Appeal, adding this link to the Order.  Wingate hung his hat – or flipped his lid – guided by Rule 9(c) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure:

The applicable provision in the instant case, Title 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b )(1), says that the defendant in this case shall be detained unless this court is able to find that the appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact…this court is not persuaded that the defendant has submitted any substantial question of law which would result in reversal or a new trial on all counts for which the defendant has been sentenced to prison. Therefore, the motion of the defendant to be released pending appeal is denied.

Earlier this week Whitfield filed an Appeal at the 5th Circuit and SLABBED was among the media outlets receiving a copy of the Appeal brief from his new counsel.

A review of the Appeal provides the opportunity to explore the basis for his appeal in the context of related information about applicable law, cases currently in litigation with similar issues, and the circumstances surrounding Mr. Whitfield’s relationship with Paul Minor and subsequent conviction.

In its review of Mr. Whitfield’s Motion for Release, the District Court applied the wrong standard in two instances, resulting in a flawed ruling that is clearly erroneous. Continue reading “Whitfield Appeal provides timely review of law re: judicial bribery, USA v Minor”

SLABBED exclusive: Eastland to Holder – re: Minor and prosecutor’s duty to refrain from improper methods designed to produce wrongful conviction

Hiram Eastland, counsel for Paul Minor, has written Attorney General Holder a letter requesting …at a minimum… Mr. Minor’s immediate release pending full review of his case. The full text of Eastland’s letter to General Holder, followed by the text of footnotes incorporated into the body of the letter, is below.

I encourage reader’s to consider Minor’s first trial was also before a jury of his peers and the first prosecution of Mr. Minor ended with an acquittal on various charges and a hung jury on other charges. On retrial. after the presiding judge revised his evidentiary rulings and relieved the prosecution of the need to prove certain elements of the alleged [bribery] crime, Mr. Minor was convicted of what have been described as ‘vague’ charges based on alleged efforts to obtain an unfair advantage from the two lower court judges, again through loan guarantees, and again despite the fact that Mississippi law allows such guarantees.”

EASTLAND LAW OFFICES, PLLC
ATTORNEYS AT LAW

HIRAM C. EASTLAND. JR.
HIRAM C. EASTLAND. III
JACOB K. EASTLAND
VICKI BOBO EASTLAND

June 24, 2009

Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing this letter to request that you implement an immediate full review of Paul Minor’s case and whether the Department of Justice complied with Mr. Minor’s Brady requests for government disclosure of all exculpatory or impeaching material in the United States’ possession, custody or control, the existence of which was known or by exercise of due diligence could have become known to the government before the 2005 and 2007 trials of Paul Minor. See Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976); Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972); see also, Exhibits 1 and 2 attached Brady progeny requests for Paul Minor’s 2005 and 2007 trials. Continue reading “SLABBED exclusive: Eastland to Holder – re: Minor and prosecutor’s duty to refrain from improper methods designed to produce wrongful conviction”

SLABBED Daily – April 29 (Politz, O’Keefe, Rigsby, Minor)

Jumping right in to this sea of documents with the Reply to Nationwide’s Response filed by counsel for Mrs. Politz.

Clearly, even Nationwide cannot present any authority to dispute Plaintiffs’ arguments that no corroborating medical testimony is required for Mrs. Politz to testify as to how Nationwide’s conduct made her feel.

Nationwide instead seeks to enflame the Court’s sensibilities by continually mentioning what it refers to as Plaintiff’s “discovery abuses,” referring it its previous Motion to Strike, which the Court has already ruled upon. Primarily, Nationwide contends that Mrs. Politz was somehow being sneaky or acting in bad faith by not divulging to Nationwide that she had been prescribed anti-depressants until her first deposition on November 3, 2008.

Mrs. Politz is an honest and pleasant, sixty-seven year old woman who lost everything she owned, had her claim basically denied in full for two years, had to come out of retirement to go back to work to make ends meet,subsequently lost her husband, and underwent open heart surgery in early 2007. Needless to say, she has been through a lot, and can be absentminded at times. That does not tarnish the fact that she is an honest and intelligent woman…

The only thing that Mrs. Politz failed to divulge until her first deposition in November 2008 is the fact that she had been prescribed anti-depressants. Mrs. Politz did not divulge even to her attorneys that she was taking anti-depressants. Can Nationwide attempt to use that information to impeach her credibility at trial? Certainly it can. However, Mrs. Politz should not be subject to the severe sanctions sought by Nationwide simply because she forgot something in her interrogatory responses and remembered it during her deposition. Nationwide has fully explored the issues at this point, and it has now had this information in hand for almost six months.

As I recall, the question asked Mrs. Politz was had she ever sought treatment for her mental health.  If correct, that explains her response.  The anti-depressants were not prescribed by a mental health professional.

Next up, O’Keefe v State Farm and the Plaintiffs’ Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum.  The O’Keefes claim State Farm has once again “gone fishing” – this time for information on their insurance policy with USF&G.

The subject Subpoena should be quashed because it seeks information not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 29 (Politz, O’Keefe, Rigsby, Minor)”

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”

Minor denied release pending appeal – alcholism a disease, Fifth's decision sick! UPDATED

The Sun Herald online reports the Fifth Circuit has denied Paul Minor’s request for release pending appeal.

The court denied his motion, saying, “Minor has failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he is not likely to pose a danger to the safety of the community if released.”

Minor was imprisoned before his 2007 conviction because he violated the terms of pre-trial release when he drank alcohol to excess. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate, who presided over the trial, found Minor a potential danger to the community.

Minor, ordered to complete an alcohol treatment program, said he has been sober since April 2006.

The Sun Herald’s story provides the familiar background in the brief story posted now with promises of more to follow.  I’m going to find and post the full decision. I’ll be back shortly .

UPDATE:

I’ll keep looking but I’ve begun to believe it may be a docket note that I’m looking for and not a document. As I read around the blogosphere looking for more information, I noted comments that showed a shocking ignorance about the disease of alcoholism.

If the decision to deny his request for release during appeal considered his conduct without considering his illness, as appears to be the case, I suspect we’ll hear a lot more about this decision.

I’ll continue to search and update as more information becomes available.