Tag Archives: Juror Misconduct

Third Trial On The Horizon For Buju?!

bantonbymannionInternational reggae icon Buju Banton (aka Mark Myrie), is scheduled to appear at a hearing in Tampa federal court this Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The GRAMMY-winning artist, who was convicted on trumped up drug and gun charges two years ago, could find out once and for all  if Judge James S. Moody, Jr. will grant his request for a new trial based on juror misconduct. Judge Moody called the hearing to address the issue of seemingly rogue juror Terri Wright, whose ensuing antics have caused multiple delays in this curiously enduring case.

  • October 11, 2012  Wright, an African American woman who served as jury foreperson during Banton’s second trial in 2011, is featured in a  New Times article, where she openly admits to conducting research during the trial — even though the judge had explicitly ordered jurors not to. “I would get in the car, just write my notes down so I could remember, and I would come home and do the research,” Wright was quoted as saying.
  • lumumbaOctober 26, 2012 — Banton’s newly appointed legal team, led by esteemed Civil Rights attorney and Jackson, Mississippi Mayor, Chokwe Lumumba, files a motion for a new trial based on juror misconduct.
  • December 20, 2012  At the hearing, Wright tries to distance herself from her statements sweeneyin the paper saying the writer, Chris Sweeney, misquoted her and that she actually did the research after the trial was over. But Sweeney is in the courtroom and has a copy of the original recording with him. The tape is played and proves Sweeney’s reporting to be legit. Moody questions the other jurors and discovers more potential misconduct. Benoit testifies that she overheard a white female juror say that she did research during the trial (Wright is black).
  • January 4, 2013 Judge Moody widens his probe into juror misconduct and orders that a prosecutor-james-preston-2_w370U.S. Marshal seize Wright’s home computers. A few days later he rescinds that order after Banton prosecutor James Preston, Jr. raises “privacy and due process” concerns on behalf of Wright. Instead, Moody instructs Wright to bring her hard drive to a hearing in February and suggests she hire an attorney to represent her interests. Moody also subpoenas the remaining eight jurors.
  • February 19, 2013 — Instead of cooperating with Judge Moody’s request, Wright’s newlori_palmieri attorney, Lori Palmieri, a former state prosecutor, objects to Wright’s hard drive being searched at all, saying there is no evidence that Wright violated Moody’s instructions. Judge Moody maintains that the computer hard drive must be turned over but says he will also issue an order prohibiting the expert from releasing to attorneys any information unrelated to the allegation that the juror conducted Internet research about Banton’s case during the trial. The other jurors called to the hearing give conflicting information but one person confirms that Wright’s alleged violation was actually discussed in the jury room.
  • March 1, 2013 — Judge Moody issues an order that computer forensics expert Larry Daniel forensic expert larry danielcan examine Wright’s hard drive activity from the period of Feb 14, 2011 to March 11, 2011 and look for footprints of the following 21 search terms: Pinkerton. Doctrine. Mark. Anthony. Myrie. Buju. Banton. Music. Reggae. Gun. Charge. Guilt. Verdict. Mistrial. Conspiracy. Cocaine. Narcotic. Drug. Possession. Hung. Jury.
  • March 28, 2013 — The computer forensics expert releases his report. While he has found a trail of 1.6 million internet history records none pertains to the timeframe under scrutiny. He also reveals that “The hard drive delivered to me for foresnsic imaging was a full size hard drive from a desktop or tower computer.” 
  • March 31, 2013 — Team Buju immediately springs into action— filing a motion contending that Wright defied Court orders and turned over the wrong hard drive! The lawyers point to a March 26 article in the  Tampa Bay Times , which quotes Wright’s attorney, Lori Palmieri as saying her client only had one computer. “It was a laptop and she brought it, end of story…” Palmieri had told the paper.
  • April 4, 2013 — Buju Banton’s attorney, Chokwe Lumumba, conducts an exclusive interview with the Free BujuJamaica Observer newspaper and unceremoniously slams the Terri Wright Sideshow: “Her attorney stated in court that she surrendered the hard drive of a laptop computer. She said she did research on the case three weeks after the trial. The expert found no evidence that she did any research at all on that hard drive and found that it was not the hard drive of a laptop but the hard drive of a desktop. We are of the firm opinion that she did not submit the hard drive for a laptop computer,” Lumumba told the Observer. He also pointed to other inconsistencies in Wright’s david markusstatements during jury selection for the trial. “It was also revealed that she had served on seven juries, but she said she only served on one jury in a civil matter. She is a seasoned juror. If his lawyer (who was then David Markus) had known that, she would have been rejected. She changed the syntax of her statement because at first she said she served on juries then changed and said jury. It was very misleading,” said the lawyer.
  • April 16, 2013 — Judge Moody issues an order for a third hearing on June 26th to question juror Terri Wright about the findings in the forensic expert‘s report.  The Court may also question Wright about the other issues raised in Defendant’s Motions For A New Trial. Buju is also expected to be in attendance.

Official Court Order Below:

This cause comes before the Court on Defendant Mark Myrie’s Second Motion for New Trial [Dkt. 403] and Defendant’s Amended Motion for Order finding Jury Misconduct and the granting of a New Trial [Dkt. 451]. An EVIDENTIARY HEARING is hereby scheduled on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013, at 9:00 A.M. in Courtroom 13A at the U. S. Sam Gibbons Courthouse, 801 North Florida Avenue, Courtroom #13A, Tampa, Florida 33602. (Time reserved: One Hour)

The purpose for this hearing is to question juror Terri Wright about the expert report prepared by Larry E. Daniel. The Court may question Terri Wright about other issues raised in Defendant’s Motions for New Trial. The Court will subpoena juror Terri Wright to testify at the hearing. Terri Wright will be notified in the subpoena of her right to counsel and will be requested to produce any and all information, whether written or electronic, that was obtained in relation to the trial, parties, attorneys, or witnesses, prior to the discharge of the jury. The U.S. Marshal’s Office is directed to serve the subpoena on Terri Wright. Defendant Mark Myrie, who is detained, shall be produced for the hearing.

DONE and ORDERED in Tampa, Florida on April 16, 2013.

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Filed under Buju Banton General, Buju Banton Media Watch, United States vs Buju Banton

Free Buju Letter Writing Crusade Takes Off!

Team Banton Collects Letters Of Support From Around The World

Team Banton Collecting Letters Of Support From Around The World

Greetings friends, fans and freedom fighters! The Gargamel Music Family is pleased to announce that the Buju Banton Letter Writing Campaign to the Supreme Court has gotten off to an enthusiastic start. In just a few short weeks since launching the crusade at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Banton’s attorney Chokwe Lumumba  reports that well over a thousand signed letters of support from around the world have already arrived at  his law offices in Mississippi.

Buju Back In Court December 20th

Buju Back To Court December 20th

There is also an online petition circulating on change.org but several people have experienced technical difficulties so we still encourage you to write a heartfelt letter of your own (or print out the template below), sign and snail mail it to Mr. Lumumba before the deadline on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

Banton will next appear in a Tampa federal court on Thursday, December 20th for an evidentiary hearing called by Judge James Moody, Jr. to survey whether or not the jurors who unwittingly put the GRAMMY-winning Reggae star behind bars “were exposed to extrinsic information” during the second trial.

Prosecutor James Preston, Jr. Venomously Pursued The Reggae Icon

Prosecutor James Preston, Jr. Venomously Pursued The Reggae Icon

One juror, Terri Wright, already admitted to conducting  “research” on aspects of the case, which could be grounds for a new trial (Buju’s third on the same charges). At the upcoming hearing, prosecutor James Preston, Jr. and defense attorney Lumumba will have an opportunity to interview Wright, along with three other jurors (Frank Arnone, Janice Benoit, Steven Boyce) under oath. Judge Moody will then make his ruling.

~~~FREE BUJU LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN~~~

United States Supreme Court
c/o Attorney Chokwe Lumumba
440 N. Mill St.
Jackson, Mississippi 39202
 
Hon. Supreme Court Justices:
 
I am writing this letter in support of Mark Anthony Myrie (Buju Banton).
 
Mr. Myrie has filed a petition in this court seeking review and reversal of drug, conspiracy, weapons possession and phone facilitation convictions occurring in the U.S.District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.
 
The convictions of Mr. Myrie are outrageous and unjust. Mr. Myrie was the victim of a concerted U.S. government effort to entrap, conducted by a corrupt informant who was paid 3.5 million dollars by the government for his services in various cases over the years.
 
Mark Myrie is a Grammy Award winning reggae artiste from Jamaica. He has never been convicted of a crime prior to the present case. He has helped feed numerous hungry children in his country and otherwise contributed to worthy causes in Jamaica and elsewhere. He is supported by hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions worldwide.
 
I ask this honorable court to review his case and grant Mark Myrie the relief he deserves.

***

Please Send Letters To Attorney Lumumba By

JANUARY 31, 2013!

Free Buju
 
**Special thanks to the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee for your tireless efforts to get the word out about this case. Your work is truly appreciated by the entire Gargamel Music Family.
**Extra special thanks to attorney David Oscar Markus for your continued support of Buju and the new legal team. We love you!

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Filed under Buju Banton General, Buju Banton Media Watch, United States vs Buju Banton