Saturday, September 8, 2007

Harsh Sentences in Mississippi

Attorney Paul Minor has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison on corruption charges in Mississippi.

Former state judges John Whitfield and Wes Teel were sentenced to 110 months (about nine years) and 70 months (almost six years), respectively, in the same case.

Minor, who became a war hero in Vietnam, was convicted of bribing the judges and receiving favorable rulings in return. Mississippi has nonpartisan judicial races, but it is understood that Whitfield and Teel are Democrats. Minor long has been a supporter of Democrats in Mississippi, and his father Bill Minor is a longtime journalist in the state, known for his courageous reporting during the civil rights era.

The three defendants were charged by a Republican-led Bush Department of Justice (DOJ).

I noted in an earlier post the similarities between the Minor case in Mississippi and the prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman in Alabama. Both involved multiple trials and multiple defendants, with similar charges (bribery, honest services mail fraud, conspiracy, etc.), and judges who are Republican appointees.

I also noted connections between the Minor case and the Legal Schnauzer case we are documenting here.

Significant evidence suggests that the Minor case might have been a political hit similar to the Siegelman case. Evidence also suggests that the charges of honest-services mail fraud involving judges in the Minor case are not nearly as clearcut as the mail fraud that has been committed by judges and lawyers in the Legal Schnauzer case in Alabama. And yet Republican prosecutors persist in ignoring the Schnauzer case.

The Minor case has been of great interest to your humble blogger, both because of its similarities to the Siegelman case and the fact it involved alleged judicial corruption. I've seen how real judicial corruption in Alabama is ignored by the Bush DOJ. So why were questionable charges of judicial corruption pursued so zealously in Mississippi?

We will be taking a detailed look at the Minor case--and other judicial corruption cases in the Deep South--in the days ahead. We also will be taking a look at the general issue of honest-services mail fraud, which was central in both the Siegelman and Minor cases, and is at the heart of our story here at Legal Schnauzer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mississipi is known for legal cases decisions being made base on who owes who a favor and not according to the law. This has been known for many years. People are just afraid to speak out publicly about it because they are afraid of the backlashes as well as their livelyhood. Especially when you have to live there.

There are many cases where people have paid off the judges through counsels. Why make a example of Atty Minor and let the others as well as Judges remain on the bench and turn a blind eye to the other cases that involved corruption and bribery?