[T]he 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow Minor and two former judges to file court briefs addressing points the Supreme Court made in a possible double-jeopardy case that has some similarities to the Minor case. In both the Minor case and the one that was the subject of a Supreme Court ruling, the defendant was retried on charges in which the jury could not reach a verdict. The key is whether the charges on which jurors couldn't reach reach a verdict are based on the same essential facts as the charges on which they were acquitted.
"We are very encouraged and gratified," said Hiram Eastland Jr., one of Minor's attorneys on his appeal. "It's very unusual for the court to ask for a supplemental brief." In 2007, a federal jury in Mississippi convicted Minor and two former Gulf Coast trial court judges - Wes Teel and John Whitfield - of corruption. Prosecutors said Minor helped guarantee or pay off campaign loans of the judges who heard some of Minor's cases. The verdict came two years after a jury deadlocked on some counts in the same case while acquitting then-state Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. of all charges.
In the first trial in 2005, jurors acquitted the three men on some corruption charges and failed to agree unanimously on others. In Minor's case, he was acquitted on six
counts, but jurors couldn't agree on eight others. Whitfield was acquitted on one count, but jurors split on four others. They could not agree on any counts against Teel. Minor and Whitfield were reindicted with some new charges added. The June 18 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court .... reversed the 5th Circuit and remanded the case to the lower court. The high court's decision said the hung jury on [other] charges shouldn't have figured into the 5th Circuit's decision.
"Because a jury speaks only through its verdict, its failure to reach a verdict cannot - by negative implication - yield a piece of information that helps put together the trial puzzle," according to the Supreme Court ruling. Eastland said the reversal in the case gives additional hope for Minor in his appeal.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Double Jeopardy for Paul Minor?
Paul Minor, the successful Democratic fundraiser, who was targeted by the Rove Republican Racket, not once but twice, in the State of Mississippi may finally be vindicated.
His truly only crime was being a Democrat during the Rove-Bush-Cheney Administration.
From the Clarion Ledger: