Perhaps we will find out in a few days in the wake of a motion seeking emergency release of Mississippi attorney Paul Minor. The motion and an excellent update on the Minor case are available through a report at Huffington Post by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle.
Sylvia Minor, Paul's wife of 41 years, is dying of brain cancer. The motion before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asks for Paul Minor's release so that he can be with his wife in her final days.
Minor is serving an 11-year sentence on bribery charges that were trumped up by the Bush Justice Department. He and two codefendants, former state judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield, were convicted only because of outrageous and unlawful rulings by U.S. Judge Henry Wingate (a Ronald Reagan appointee).
Here is one of many posts we have written about prosecutorial and judicial corruption in the Minor case.
For the moment, though, the Minor case is not about facts and the law; it is about humanity, which seems to be lacking in our justice system. Kennedy and DeMelle write:
Minor's wife of 41 years, Sylvia, is dying of terminal brain cancer and her moments of clarity are dwindling. Her oncologist issued a statement over the weekend at the request of her family noting that Mrs. Minor's "demise is imminent.... Mrs. Minor requests the presence of her husband during this last part of her life... it is urgent that this occur immediately due to her rapidly deteriorating condition."
Minor, however, does have the facts and law on his side:
Minor is legally entitled to release on bail from the Pensacola Federal Prison Camp where he has spent the last two-and-a-half years. His attorneys have successfully raised "substantial questions" about Minor's conviction, the key legal test which requires the defendant's release on bond pending the outcome of an appeal. The tough questions asked of the DOJ attorney by the panel of judges hearing Minor's appeal last week make clear the fact that these judges appear to have their own "substantial questions" about the Justice Department's prosecution of Mr. Minor for bribery.
Kennedy and DeMelle draw solid parallels between the Minor situation and the Don Siegelman case in Alabama:
In March of last year, the 11th Circuit on virtually identical issues found that former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, another Rove victim, had established substantial questions about the correctness of his prosecution and was therefore entitled to release pending appeal. Given this decision, it would raise grave suspicions if the 5th Circuit now denied the release of Paul Minor.