DOJ desires federal choose to disclaim movement for early launch for Stewart Parnell

The best way the Division of Justice sees it, the as soon as chief government officer of the now-defunct Peanut Company of America is a keeper.

Authorities counsel desires the Center District of the U.S. District Courtroom in Georgia to disclaim a movement to vacate, put aside, or appropriate his sentence. A denial means Stewart Parnell, 67, seemingly shall be stored in federal jail for a further 18 years or till he’s 85-years outdated.  He’s at the moment being held on the Hazelton federal jail in Bruceton Mills, WV.

The DOJ Client Safety Department filed its response Oct. 8 to Parnell’s post-hearing temporary, persevering with its vigorous opposition to the previous peanut government’s 2255 Movement for early launch.

“Petitioner has failed to satisfy his burden,” DOJ trial lawyer Speare I. Hodges wrote within the reply temporary. “The prolonged trial report and newer testimony from petitioner’s trial counsel and others don’t assist his ineffective help declare. The court docket ought to deny the petitioner’s movement.”

Hodges supplied this “temporary procedural historical past:”

  • “On Sept. 19, 2014, following a seven-week trial, the jury discovered petitioner responsible for his position in a scheme to ship peanut merchandise that examined constructive for salmonella or in any other case had been produced below insanitary situations. ECF 285.
  • On Oct.6, 2014, petitioner filed a movement for a brand new trial, alleging that juror misconduct prejudiced his proper to a good trial. ECF 308. As related to this case, petitioner alleged that a number of jurors carried out exterior analysis, jury members mentioned salmonella-related deaths allegedly attributable to his firm, and one specific juror, Juror 34, was biased. The trial court docket held two hearings on the problem, calling in each chosen juror for particular person questioning. ECF 397 at 13-14. The court docket finally discovered “no indication that any juror hid harbored bias[,]” that Juror 34 was in reality “biased” towards petitioner’s co-defendant, and that any juror information of deaths was not extremely prejudicial given the “overwhelming” proof in opposition to the petitioner introduced at trial.
  • On Sept. 30, 2015, the district court docket sentenced petitioner to a complete time period of imprisonment of 336 months (28 years). ECF 498. Petitioner subsequent appealed his conviction and sentence, particularly elevating the jury misconduct challenge, amongst others. The Courtroom of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence on June 20, 2018. America v. Parnell,
  • On Sept. 6, 2019, Parnell then filed the moment petition together with a movement for an evidentiary listening to. ECFs 667-68. The court docket held an evidentiary listening to on Might 24-25, 2021, listening to testimony from petitioner’s 4 former trial counsel, Kenneth Bryant Hodges, Thomas J. Bondurant, Scott Austin, and Justin Lugar; an area peanut dealer, James Thomas Strother; and trial counsel for petitioner’s co-defendant, Ed Tolley.”

The DOJ temporary says that to prevail on a declare of efficient counsel, a defendant should present the counsel’s illustration was poor and that poor illustration was prejudicial. It says the petition must present affordable skilled acts or omissions had been missing

“Petitioner argues that his trial counsel made two errors that disadvantaged him of his Sixth Modification proper: (1) “failing to maneuver the Courtroom for a change within the venue” and (2) “failing to maneuver to strike for trigger venirepersons who heard that deaths had been attributed to the salmonella outbreak,” Hodges wrote. “However the report doesn’t assist petitioner’s claims that the actions of his trial counsel constituted errors in any respect — not to mention that they meet Strickland’s requirement to point out the outcome of his trial would have been completely different. Accordingly, petitioner’s movement needs to be denied.”

Early in his temporary, Hodges knocks down Parneel’s argument that the defendants couldn’t get a good jury trial in Albany, GA.  He writes;

  • “Petitioner failed to point out his counsel rendered ineffective help as a result of accepting venue within the Albany Division didn’t prejudice him and was objectively affordable.

Venue switch is ruled by Federal Rule of Felony Process 21, which instructs {that a} “court docket should switch the continuing . . . to a different district if the court docket is happy that so nice a prejudice in opposition to the defendant exists within the transferring district that the defendant can’t receive a good and neutral trial there.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 21(a). On this case, petitioner argues his trial counsel supplied ineffective help in failing to maneuver for a switch as a result of he would have met the ‘extraordinarily heavy’ burden to point out the venue was presumptively prejudiced. See Coleman v. Kemp.”

  •  Petitioner failed to point out he would have prevailed on a movement to vary venue.

Petitioner’s post-hearing temporary alleges no new information in assist of his declare that his trial counsel would have met the demanding authorized customary to reveal presumed prejudice. The Eleventh Circuit has made clear that this burden “is an especially heavy one,” and presumed prejudice is, subsequently “not often relevant and is reserved for an excessive state of affairs.”

Within the U.S. v. Campa, the Supreme Courtroom has pointed to a number of elements that will represent presumed prejudice: (1) the dimensions and traits of the neighborhood during which the crime occurred; (2) whether or not information contained blatantly prejudicial data that jurors “couldn’t fairly be anticipated to close from sight”; (3) whether or not “the decibel stage of media consideration” didn’t diminish in the course of the run-up to the trial, and (4) whether or not “the jury’s verdict didn’t undermine in any means the supposition of juror bias.” Skilling v. the USA, 561 U.S. 358, 380-85 (2010). Even when such information assist presuming prejudice, the presumption is rebutted when “the district court docket’s cautious and thorough voir dire, in addition to its use of prophylactic measures to insulate the jury from exterior influences, ensured that the defendant acquired a good trial by an neutral jury.”

The federal government’s 22-page temporary goes on to argue that the media local weather within the Albany, GA, space main as much as the 2014 jury trial was “predominantly factual.”  And the South Georgia peanut trade noticed the impacts of the Salmonella outbreak as short-term. And, the trial didn’t happen till 5 years after the outbreak.

Additionally, the federal government argues that “the decision undermines any suggestion of juror bias” in that each one three defendants who went to trial had been acquitted of at the very least one depend. “It will be illogical to assume that the jurors reserved their biases solely for the petitioner,” Hodges mentioned.

Put up-hearing briefs and the in-person listening to transcripts all go to Justice of the Peace Choose Thomas Q. Langstaff, who makes suggestions to the Center District Courtroom.

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