On the slice-off date for closing arguments, one became early and the assorted gradual, however no longer too gradual.
Brothers Stewart Parnell, 67, and Michael Parnell, 62, absorb became of their closing written arguments to augment their motions to vacate their sentences. The 2 federal inmates, convicted and sentenced collectively, interrogate underneath separate actions for their convictions to be cleared underneath Portion 2255, a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Habeas corpus court docket cases underneath Portion 2255 are “sophisticated and taxing to the soul,” it’s been said. The Parnells are nearly two years into the assignment. They raised issues of their petitions that, if factual, may perchance maybe maybe well seize their freedom.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia held evidentiary hearings for the Parnells at some level of the final week of Would possibly well maybe furthermore to wait on form out the reality. Armed federal marshals introduced every men aid to the Albany, GA courthouse, where a jury convicted them seven years ago.
After assisting on the hearings, marshals returned Stewart to West Virginia and Michael to Unusual Jersey. They continue to be incarcerated as federal prisoners.
With out success in the Habeas Corpus persevering with, Stewart will must wait on 18 extra years to age 85 earlier than he’s free. Michael will be 73 if he must accomplish 11 extra years.
Formally, by the Sept. 3 slice-off date, attorneys filed “submit-hearing” briefs on behalf of their purchasers. Here’s a abstract of every filing.
Amy Levin Weil, and Amy Lee Copeland, Counsel for Movant Stewart Parnell.
- 28 years
- Conspiracy (2 counts)
- Introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce with intent (20 counts)
- Misbranded food assign into interstate commerce with intent to defraud o deceive – (13 counts)
- Interstate shipments fraud – (20 -counts)
- Wire fraud – (11- counts)
- Obstruction of June (2 counts)
“Trial counsel’s failure to toddle to strike for trigger jurors who knew that folks died from the salmonella outbreak linked to Mr. Parnell’s firm (Peanut Corporation of The US) and counsel’s failure to peek a change of venue out of doorways of the Albany Division, constituted ineffective illustration of any measure in violation of the Sixth Amendment,” Parnell’s attorneys accomplish. They divulge the court docket may perchance maybe maybe well quiet grant Parnell’s 2255 skedaddle and vacate his conviction.
The 21-page short argues that two claims of ineffective aid of counsel undermined Stewart Parnell’s “traditional very finest to a sexy and just jury.” His trial attorneys did now not strike for trigger jurors who’d heard about those that died from the Salmonella outbreak fascinating PCA’s Blakely, GA facility. And 2nd, the trial counsel did now not peek a change of venue attributable to “overwhelming publicity and juror bias” surrounding the case.
Of their submit-trial short, Weil and Copeland paint an image of war amongst Parnell’s trial attorneys that did now not determine in his desire. Mighty of this needed to accomplish with the role of aged Albany District Authorized legit Ken Hodges, who is now a judge on the remark appellate court docket.
Parnell’s core defense attorneys from the Gentry Locke legislation firm in Roanoke reportedly “relegated” him to a minor role at trial, no longer even sitting him on the council table.
The defense billing records don’t mention hunting for a change of venue, and Gentry Locke’s lead defense lawyer, Thomas Bondurant, said they “talked about it plenty.”
On the Would possibly well maybe furthermore hearing, Bondurant said they opinion they may perchance maybe maybe “seize a ruin or two” from an Albany home juror who “knew the peanut trade” and “understood where Stewart became coming from.” He most well liked a extra rural jury that understood unsanitary prerequisites and mice as being a self-discipline for all South Georgia peanut plant life.
Whereas Bondurant said Hodges opinion Albany will be fully for the trial, the Maintain said he became no longer segment of those discussions on the Would possibly well maybe furthermore hearing.
Every peanut-affiliated trade in south Georgia became “devasted” by the lethal Salmonella outbreak linked to PCA’S Blakely, GA facility; a native peanut dealer suggested the Would possibly well maybe furthermore hearing About 60 p.c of domestic peanut manufacturing happens within 150 miles of Albany.
The house overlaps the Middle District’s Albany District, which equipped the jury pool for the PCA criminal trial. The Parnell submit-hearing short means that his defense crew opinion an Albany District jury will be concept when genuinely, it became “toxic toward PCA and the Parnells.”
At trial, the defense became successful in keeping “death proof” from the jurors. The chief also promised no longer to toddle there. On the opposite hand, Weil and Copeland divulge the defense allowed two attainable jurors who’d heard relating to the deaths to continue to exist the jury.
“Even when affected jurors promise they may perchance maybe maybe furthermore be gorgeous and just, the Supreme Court has held that underneath determined circumstances jurors’ assurance can no longer be believed — and the prejudice may perchance maybe maybe well quiet be presumed, they argue.
“The reality the jurors can no longer always be believed became borne out on this case when on the very least three attainable jurors did now not clarify at some level of jury selection that they were responsive to the deaths.”
Elliott M Harding and William J. Dinkin, Counsel for Movant Michael Parnell
- 20 years
- Conspiracy (2 counts)
- Misbranded food assign into interstate commerce with intent to defraud o deceive – (4 counts)
- Interstate shipments fraud – (12-counts)
- Wire fraud – ( counts)
The 43-page submit-hearing short for Michael Parnell also advances arguments to vacate his convictions underneath Portion 2255. Michael Parnell began his Habeous Corpus assignment, “legit se” — meaning with out the coolest thing just a few legit lawyer.
His Virginia crew of Harding and Dinkin came collectively earlier than the Would possibly well maybe furthermore hearings in Albany, GA.
Esteem his older brother, Michael’s attorneys claim he became denied effective counsel at trial because his trial attorneys allowed jurors with data of the deaths in the Salmonella outbreak fascinating PCA to procure on the jury.
They divulge, “it is ineffective aid of counsel to forego a skedaddle to strike jurors for trigger after they clarify data of details that is so unfairly prejudicial that it has been excluded, similar to allegations that deaths consequence from habits unrelated to the charges.”
“Forty-seven of the seventy-eight participants of the venire revealed pretrial data of Mr. Parnell’s case at some level of voir dire,” they persisted. “Of those forty-seven, eleven knew deaths were allegedly associated with peanut butter, entire peanuts, and assorted merchandise from PCA.”
Michael Parnell’s lead trial lawyer, Ed Tolley, did now not strike 9 of these 11 attainable jurors, and the court docket impaneled two of the 9 as jurists.
“Empaneling these jurors became adequate to pause in material prejudice warranting reversal of Mr. Parnell’s conviction, however it with out a doubt became exacerbated when on the very least indubitably one of many closing twelve jurors realized of the details from others earlier than trial, and three of the closing twelve realized of the allegations after the trial began,” they add.
And, his attorneys divulge the death allegations were uniquely prejudicial to their client as Michael Parnell became in no scheme associated with the purported deaths in the media or by the federal Products and services for Illness Withhold an eye on and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
No proof of the deaths became allowed to change into segment of the trial underneath an agreement between defense attorneys and executive prosecutors. Tolley said he’d toddle to slice Michael’s case from Stewart Parnell’s if any death proof became allowed.
The possibilities for a federal inmate petition to keep success are no longer that huge. One behold realized fully 13 p.c being determined in desire of the inmate between 1980 and 1996. Extra present numbers are no longer readily on hand. The Parnell petitions are however closer to their purpose than most because they were already gone by the evidentiary hearings that nearly all inmate petitions accomplish no longer accomplish.
The Salmonella outbreak linked to PCA peanut merchandise from Blakely, GA formally resulted in extra than 700 folks with ailments and in step with CDC” can absorb contributed to 9 deaths: Idaho (1), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), and Virginia (2). At trial, CDC said thousand nationwide likely became sick from PCA’s wrong peanut butter and paste however did now not pursue public health division assessments to change into first rate sufferers.
(To signal in for a free subscription to Meals Safety Info, click on right here.)