The methodology the Department of Justice sees it, the as soon as chief govt officer of the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of The US is a keeper.

Authorities counsel wants the Center District of the U.S. District Court docket in Georgia to yelp a movement to vacate, space apart, or factual his sentence. A denial methodology Stewart Parnell, 67, likely will likely be kept in federal reformatory for one more 18 years or until he is 85-years worn.  He’s for the time being being held on the Hazelton federal reformatory in Bruceton Mills, WV.

The DOJ Particular person Protection Department filed its response Oct. 8 to Parnell’s post-hearing short, persevering with its filled with life opposition to the worn peanut govt’s 2255 Motion for early open.

“Petitioner has didn’t fulfill his burden,” DOJ trial legal reliable Speare I. Hodges wrote within the respond short. “The prolonged trial dispute and more moderen testimony from petitioner’s trial counsel and others beget now not enhance his ineffective assistance bellow. The court docket ought to yelp the petitioner’s movement.”

Hodges equipped this “short procedural history:”

  • “On Sept. 19, 2014, following a seven-week trial, the jury found petitioner accountable for his position in a plot to ship peanut merchandise that tested obvious for salmonella or in another case were produced below insanitary conditions. ECF 285.
  • On Oct.6, 2014, petitioner filed a movement for a brand recent trial, alleging that juror misconduct prejudiced his correct to a comely trial. ECF 308. As linked to this case, petitioner alleged that several jurors performed exterior evaluation, jury participants talked about salmonella-linked deaths allegedly attributable to his firm, and one particular juror, Juror 34, turned into biased. The trial court docket held two hearings on the gap, calling in every chosen juror for individual questioning. ECF 397 at 13-14. The court docket within the waste found “no indication that any juror concealed harbored bias[,]” that Juror 34 turned into essentially “biased” in direction of petitioner’s co-defendant, and that any juror recordsdata of deaths turned into now not highly prejudicial given the “overwhelming” proof in opposition to the petitioner presented at trial.
  • On Sept. 30, 2015, the district court docket sentenced petitioner to an entire term of imprisonment of 336 months (28 years). ECF 498. Petitioner subsequent appealed his conviction and sentence, particularly raising the jury misconduct space, among others. The Court docket of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence on June 20, 2018. The US v. Parnell,
  • On Sept. 6, 2019, Parnell then filed the moment petition along with a movement for an evidentiary hearing. ECFs 667-68. The court docket held an evidentiary hearing on Would possibly well possibly perchance 24-25, 2021, hearing testimony from petitioner’s four worn trial counsel, Kenneth Bryant Hodges, Thomas J. Bondurant, Scott Austin, and Justin Lugar; an arena peanut dealer, James Thomas Strother; and trial counsel for petitioner’s co-defendant, Ed Tolley.”

The DOJ short says that to prevail on a bellow of efficient counsel, a defendant ought to indicate the counsel’s illustration turned into depressed and that depressed illustration turned into prejudicial. It says the petition would ought to indicate practical reliable acts or omissions were lacking

“Petitioner argues that his trial counsel made two errors that disadvantaged him of his Sixth Amendment correct: (1) “failing to switch the Court docket for a trade within the venue” and (2) “failing to switch to strike for motive venirepersons who heard that deaths had been attributed to the salmonella outbreak,” Hodges wrote. “But the dispute would now not enhance petitioner’s claims that the actions of his trial counsel constituted errors at all — now to now not mention that they meet Strickland’s requirement to point the consequence of his trial would had been assorted. Accordingly, petitioner’s movement needs to be denied.”

Early in his short, Hodges knocks down Parneel’s argument that the defendants may perchance possibly now not ranking a comely jury trial in Albany, GA.  He writes;

  • “Petitioner didn’t point his counsel rendered ineffective assistance on epic of accepting venue within the Albany Division didn’t prejudice him and turned into objectively practical.

Venue switch is governed by Federal Rule of Prison Course of 21, which instructs that a “court docket ought to switch the persevering with . . . to but another district if the court docket is cheerful that so big a prejudice in opposition to the defendant exists within the transferring district that the defendant cannot ranking a comely and neutral trial there.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 21(a). On this case, petitioner argues his trial counsel equipped ineffective assistance in failing to switch for a switch on epic of he would beget met the ‘extremely heavy’ burden to point the venue turned into presumptively prejudiced. Seek recordsdata from Coleman v. Kemp.”

  •  Petitioner didn’t point he would beget prevailed on a movement to trade venue.

Petitioner’s post-hearing short alleges no recent facts in enhance of his bellow that his trial counsel would beget met the demanding factual long-established to existing presumed prejudice. The Eleventh Circuit has made definite that this burden “is an extremely heavy one,” and presumed prejudice is, therefore “rarely relevant and is reserved for an coarse space.”

Within the U.S. v. Campa, the Supreme Court docket has pointed to several factors that may perchance possibly also represent presumed prejudice: (1) the scale and characteristics of the neighborhood wherein the crime passed off; (2) whether or now not recordsdata contained blatantly prejudicial recordsdata that jurors “may perchance possibly now not moderately be anticipated to conclude from stare”; (3) whether or now not “the decibel stage of media consideration” didn’t diminish for the length of the urge-up to the trial, and (4) whether or now not “the jury’s verdict didn’t undermine in any methodology the supposition of juror bias.” Skilling v. the US, 561 U.S. 358, 380-85 (2010). Despite the indisputable truth that such facts enhance presuming prejudice, the presumption is rebutted when “the district court docket’s cautious and thorough voir dire, as smartly as its use of prophylactic measures to insulate the jury from exterior influences, ensured that the defendant received a comely trial by an neutral jury.”

The govt.s 22-page short goes on to argue that the media climate within the Albany, GA, space main up to the 2014 jury trial turned into “predominantly factual.”  And the South Georgia peanut change seen the impacts of the Salmonella outbreak as short. And, the trial didn’t occur until five years after the outbreak.

Also, the government argues that “the decision undermines any advice of juror bias” in that each person three defendants who went to trial were acquitted of now not less than one depend. “It’d be illogical to impart that the jurors reserved their biases completely for the petitioner,” Hodges acknowledged.

Put up-hearing briefs and the in-particular person hearing transcripts all breeze to Justice of the Peace Resolve Thomas Q. Langstaff, who makes recommendations to the Center District Court docket.

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