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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Will Paul Minor Appeal Be An April Fool's Joke?

Oral arguments in the appeal of Mississippi lawyer Paul Minor and two former state judges is set for today--April Fool's Day.

Perhaps that is appropriate.

Larisa Alexandrovna reports on at-Largely about two disturbing facts that indicate the fix might already be in on the Minor appeal.

One, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, chose a most unusual venue for oral argument. The court is based in New Orleans, but the Minor appeal will be heard in Austin, Texas, for reasons that are hard to fathom. Alexandrovna has some thoughts on what prompted the move:

Inexplicably, the court moved the oral arguments in the Minor case from New Orleans to Texas, in a small courtroom. One can only imagine the various reasons such a move was made. I am sure there is a good explanation for it, but I have yet to receive it. Minor's supporters and local reporters are not going to go down to Texas to spend the whole day waiting for his case to be heard--which incidentally was scheduled for the end of the day.

Then we have this fascinating piece of news. The three-judge panel will include Priscilla Owen. Who is Priscilla Owen? She is one of the most conservative and controversial appointees of the George W. Bush era. And guess who once served as her campaign manager? None other than Karl Rove.

You can almost hear Alexandrovna's jaw drop as she writes about this development:

Okay, now one would think that seeing as how Karl Rove has been implicated in the US Attorney scandal and allegedly Paul Minor's prosecution, she would have recused herself from the above ruling. She did not. Moreover, these cases are assigned randomly I am told. So, how then does one explain how Judge Owen is suddenly assigned to hear the oral arguments tomorrow?

We've already had a three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit in Atlanta butcher the Don Siegelman appeal. (And we will show you exactly how they did it in a series of upcoming posts.) Now it looks like the fix is in on the Minor appeal.

As we pointed in a series of 25-plus posts, the Minor case is a mind-blowing example of injustice. Trial judge Henry Wingate gave jury instructions that were the exact opposite of what the actual law says. No wonder Minor and codefendants Wes Teel and John Whitfield were convicted.

Here is just one of many posts we've written that show how the Minor trial was butchered. Now, one begins to get a foul odor from the Fifth Circuit, indicating that this butchery might be allowed to stand.

Eric Holder, are you paying attention? Barack Obama, anybody home?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Owen did surprisingly recuse this morning. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/a-surprise-recusal-and-pr_b_181864.html

The oral argument apparently went really well also. Good news!