Monday, April 20, 2009

Vague Argument

The Jackson Free Press points out today that the broad and vague argument used by the U.S. Attorneys who wrongfully convicted Paul S. Minor could be used against anyone who donates to a judicial campaign.

The Rove Republican Racket that targeted the Democratic fundraiser changed jury instructions on a re-trial after losing round one.

The same three-judge panel that deferred the furlough decisions [about Minor] to the Bureau of Prisons is currently reviewing Minor’s appeal, and voicing doubts about irregular jury instructions granted by ...U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate during Minor’s 2007 trial. Wingate had presided over the prosecution’s failure to convict Minor and three other judges in 2005. Wingate removed the necessity of quid pro quo proof of bribery in the 2007 re-trial, however, and instructed the jury that they did not have to find any proof of bribery, or even find that the judges’ rulings were illogical. U.S. Department of Justice attorney Elizabeth Collery recently informed the panel that prosecutors settled for a vague corruption arrangement. “The agreement,” Collery affirmed, “was you will take this money and in some future case you will rule dishonestly for me,” even though there was apparently no guarantee that the candidate would win the election or even preside over a Minor case.The lack of detail made convicting Minor a cinch, although [Minor's attorney]—who helped devise modern U.S. corruption laws—argued that the same argument could be fashioned to convict just about anyone who donates money to a judge’s campaign. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, donates millions of dollars to judicial candidates who favor plaintiffs and corporations, making the supreme courts of many southern
states a suit-free haven for businesses.