Sunday, April 12, 2009

Humanity Remains Absent in Paul Minor Case

We recently asked if any humanity remains in our justice system, particularly as reflected in the case of Mississippi attorney Paul Minor.

It did not take long to get an answer--and it was a resounding no.

Minor's attorneys recently sought an emergency release so their client could be with his wife, who is near death from a long battle with breast cancer. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request, meaning that Paul Minor probably will not see Syliva, his wife of 41 years, again.

Minor's only hope would be to petition the Federal Bureau of Prisons for a temporary release. He received such a furlough to spend a few hours with his wife in February.

How badly did federal prosecutors want to make sure that Minor did not receive an emergency release. They filed a 77-page response, opposing his petition. You heard right--77 pages. That's your tax dollars at work, folks!

Not only did the Fifth Circuit show no humanity in its ruling, it also showed no intellectual honesty. Consider this paragraph from the Associated Press story:

The three-judge panel of 5th Circuit judges denied the request for bond, pointing out that another member of the court had rejected a similar request in the past. That judge, Priscilla Owen, has since recused herself from the case.

Do we have this straight? The panel based its denial primarily on a finding by a judge who since has recused herself because of her obvious conflicts in the case? And that judge, Priscilla Owen, recused herself only after Minor's attorneys filed a motion noting her numerous connections to Republican strategist Karl Rove, who almost certainly played a role in engineering the bogus Minor prosecution?

That's justice at work in the good old USA. That's how it worked under George W. Bush. And apparently little has changed under Barack Obama.

In recent oral arguments for Minor's appeal, even Fifth Circuit judges asked questions that indicate there are clear and serious questions about the Minor conviction--questions that would merit his release pending appeal even if his wife were healthy.

That he is not being released to be with his dying wife is an outrage--one that Obama attorney general Eric Holder apparently is not concerned about.

What's the real reason for denying Paul Minor's emergency release? I suspect it is this: If Minor were released for more than a few hours, a reporter might get to him and ask some questions about his prosecution. Minor's honest answers probably would raise serious issues about our justice system--and they also would put a human face on the issue of political prosecutions under the Bush Justice Department.

Certainly loyal Bushies don't want to have light shined on their misdeeds. It's starting to look like the Obama crowd feels the same way.

I realize Eric Holder is fairly new to the game, but these lawyers who wrote a 77-page motion opposing Minor's emergency release are federal employees. They work for Holder, do they not? Couldn't he take a peek at what they are doing in the name of "justice?"


Anonymous said...

Funny how you never mention the fact that Minor repeatedly violated the terms of his bail while awaiting trial. THAT's why he has not been granted release. It is his complete and utter disregard for the conditions of any bail that has been revisouly set. Kind of like Richard Scrushy.

legalschnauzer said...

Actually, I have mentioned that before. It's the government's standard response. But does anyone seriously think this nonviolent "offender" is a threat to the community? One difference with Scrushy is that he was determined to be a flight risk. I don't believe that was the case with Minor, and I believe that finding was probably poorly grounded in Scrushy's case. The health of Minor's wife should be a huge mitigating factor in his favor. Finally, if you study the facts and the law of the case, you will see Minor never should have been indicted or prosecuted at all. The government had no case and had to rely on bogus jury instructions from a corrupt to get a conviction. Yes, Minor showed signs of having an alcohol problem. You might have an alcohol problem, too, if you were being prosecuted simply because of your political affiliations and contributions.