Friday, January 27, 2006

Is the Fourth Time the Charm for Martin Armstrong to Get Out of Jail?

Martin Armstrong was charged with a multimillion dollar securities fraud through his firm, Princeton Economics International Ltd., back in 1999. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Owen ordered Armstrong to turn over certain assets and evidence that a receiver for the firm alleged he was hiding, and when Armstrong said he did not have the items, the judge sent him to jail for civil contempt.  That was in January 2000, and there Armstrong remains -- in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City -- until he turns over the items and, in the metaphorical  language of civil contempt, unlocks the keys to his jail cell.  Armstrong has protested that he cannot comply because he does not have the items, but Judge Owen has concluded that Armstrong is not telling the truth, and refuses to budge on the civil contempt.  Three times Armstrong has appealed to the Second Circuit to release him, and three times the court of appeals has refused to overturn the district judge's order or grant habeas corpus.  On Jan. 24, Armstrong's attorney, Thomas Sjoblom, argued that the long-running civil contempt was beyond the district court's inherent authority, marking Armstrong's fourth trip to the court of appeals.  Sjoblom represented Richard Scrushy in successfully resisting the SEC's attempt to freeze his assets before his indictment in the HealthSouth case, but he ran into some tough questioning from the panel, according to an article in the New York Law Journal (available on Law.Com here).  If there is one thing judges are hesitant to accept, it is an argument about seeking to limit the judiciary's inherent authority to punish a contempt.  Nevertheless, six years is a long time to languish in jail, especially when Armstrong still faces the securities fraud charges that triggered the whole fight in the first place.  If at first you don't succeed, try at least three more times. (ph)

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Comments

What was the outcome of the fourth appeal? 6 years in jail and still not turning over the assets, I would hope the judges at least considered that maybe he doesn't have the assests and i wonder if contempt wasn't a judicial power maybe they would be a little more open... sounds like a conflict of interest

Posted by: Craig | Feb 17, 2006 4:44:25 AM

The overwhelming evidence that something is wrong here is that no one else has been charge with anything. In a CRIME of this size and nature that is, a 800 pound gorrila in the monkey cage.

Posted by: Karl Krueger | May 20, 2006 6:10:35 AM

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