Monday, April 20, 2009

Minor Denied the Right to Be At His Wife's Funeral

Paul Minor was denied the right to be at the funeral of his wife of 41 years.  The press reports that the reason given was that he had visited her prior to her death. The Legal Schnauzer blog reports that prosecutors filed a lengthy response to the request. See here. Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Minor's case is pending in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

At oral argument there was an interesting exchange about the wording of the instruction regarding section 1346, the honest services aspect of the case.  The state law alleged is bribery, and the question becomes as to whether the standard McCormick quid pro quo requirement needs to be adhered to when bribery is used as the state law for 1346. After all, campaign contributions are given all the time and 1346 is an enormously broad statute.

It was surprising the see such opposition on the part of the government to allowing Minor to be with his children at his wife's funeral. 

 Holbrook Mohr, (AP), Imprisoned Minor to miss wife's funeral;Anita Lee,, Bureau mum on rejection of Minor’s leave

(esp)(blogging from Chicago)

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Why do you find this surprising? Minor is at the beginning of an 11-year sentence. He is not eligible for a furlough at this time under BOP rules: link= ("Furloughs" - P.S. 5280.08). The court could have granted him bail pending appeal -- why didn't it? But the court cannot grant him a furlough; by law (18 USC 3622(a)), only the BOP can do that. The AUSA was supporting the Bureau's authority to enforce it its rules impartially and to confine the court within its jurisdiction. I wish the policy were more compassionate and flexible, but it isn't. Sadly, inmates lose the opportunity to attend to dying relatives or attend their funerals all the time. Is this inmate entitled to special treatment for some reason?

Posted by: Peter G | Apr 21, 2009 6:49:20 PM

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