Monday, December 1, 2008

Olis' Petition for Habeas Corpus Denied

Judge Sim Lake ruled on Jamie Olis' habeas corpus petition, and the 81 page order is not favorable for Olis. The court concluded that "Olis' motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence should be denied, the United States' motion for summary denial should be granted, and Olis' motion for reconsideration should be denied."  The court also denied Olis a certificate of appealability.  For background see here, here, and here.  As previously noted, the court refused to allow an amicus brief to be filed by Professor Robert Weisberg. The court concluded "that Olis is procedurally barred from raising this claim under section 2255 because he has failed to establish the prejudice prong of the cause and actual prejudice standard by showing that but for the government's interference with Dynegy's commitment to advance funds for the cost of his defense he might not have been convicted."(p. 25)

Although the court ruled against Olis, there are some fascinating findings in this 81 page Order. For example,

1. " The court is persuaded that Olis has established cause for not having raised his claim that the government wrongfully interfered with his ability to fund the defense of his choosing on a prior occasion because neither he nor his counsel possessed a factual basis that would have allowed them to raise it earlier." (p. 25)

2. Yates, Olis' lawyer sued Dynegy when they stopped paying his legal fees.  The court, in a section titled "undisputed facts" states:

"During litigation of this lawsuit against Dynegy, Yates learned that Olis' prosecutors, including the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, ...had pressured Dynegy to stop advancing funds for Olis' defense." (p. 16-17)

3. The Order describes in detail just how far the prosecutors went to make certain that Dynegy was not paying Olis' attorney fees. They even went so far as to request the Illinois statute from outside counsel to the company that pertained to payment of attorney fees and then instruct that counsel that "[w]e read the Illinois law and it seems Dynegy isn't obligated under [the] Thompson [memorandum] to pay the Attorneys' fees." (p. 16-17)

The Order - Download order_denying_habeas_corpus.pdf


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There's nothing new about this. The government has been seizing attorney's fees from people accused of dealing drugs for about twenty years now, the idea being that the money used was produced by illegal activities and was thereby subject to forfeit. Of course, the government never attempted to do this with the other people the suspect/accused did business with, like the people who sold them food, cars, or whatever, and for obvious reasons--it was just a subterfuge to make sure they would end up with a public defender who would not have the resources to provide them a first class defense at trial.

First they came for the drug dealers, but I didn't mind because I wasn't a drug dealer, then they came ...

We reap what we sow, and we sow what we tolerate.

Posted by: Tcobb | Dec 1, 2008 3:39:45 PM

Wow. How could you ever satisfy the "prejudice" prong when the court's standard seems to be "you lost so badly, it didn't matter"?

When the full power of the U.S. Government comes down on you, with its buckets of (my) money stacked up to purchase investigatory time, expert time, accountants' time . . . and you can't nearly match it, and for every one issue that the government raises and you scrape off the wall, they throw ten more . . .

Seriously, we'd have a better court system had Thompson fallen off a boat early in life.

Posted by: bobby b | Dec 1, 2008 6:30:12 PM

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