Parnell attorneys getting ready their written arguments for vacating sentences

Stewart Parnell, 67, and Michael Parnell, 62, have returned to their low and medium safe lockups after appearing for their hearings at the CB King Courthouse in Albany, GA last month.

Transcripts of these proceedings were also available to the parties and introduced the written argumentation for US judge Thomas Q. Langstaff. Ultimately, Langstaff will determine whether the Georgia Federal District Court overturns all or part of the sentences the Parnells are serving.

Stewart Parnell, former executive director of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), has 18 years in prison, and his peanut broker brother, Michael Parnell, has about 11 years. You were convicted by a jury in 2014 of food safety violations during the deadly 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak involving a PCA facility in Blakely, GA.

The Parnell brothers filed motion 2255 two years ago to have their sentences waived for allegedly making mistakes by their lawyers who had not received a fair trial.

About two weeks after the oral hearings in Albany in the last week of May, the court released the minutes to the parties. That should mean that the first written arguments will fall shortly.

May’s oral arguments left a hangover problem related to Stewart Parnell’s petition. Judge Langstaff did not allow jury advisor Denise de La Rue to testify as an expert for Stewart Parnell in May, but had her prepare a written opinion. She complied with this request on June 8th.

The government filed on June 22nd asking the judge to dismiss the report. Langstaff’s deadline for the parties to identify witnesses was May 3, and Stewart Parnell waited until May 16, 2021, “to seek permission to add the expert’s testimony without submitting a notice regarding the testimony expected by the witnesses “.

He noted that their report “consists primarily of their suspicion that the attorney could have used other options regarding the venue and for dire problems, and essentially speculated that if further analysis or questioning had been done, and bias would have been shown “.

“The attorney could have moved to change the venue and beat certain jurors,” he added. “These are the basic arguments that the petitioner has already put forward.”

Langstaff says there is “no evidence that the petitioner’s expert has ever served as trial counsel in a jury trial, ever led voir dire, ever raised a compelling or important challenge, ever tried a jury trial in the Albany Division or has observed “. of the Middle District of Georgia, has ever participated in or seen a jury trial held by the trial judge in this case, or that has experience beating a jury in any of the counties in Southwest Georgia where the court originated.

“It is clear that in this case the petitioner’s expert was not in the courtroom at any point in the jury selection process, thus denying him the opportunity to observe non-verbal behavior on the part of the participants or to assess the subtleties and nuances.” every jury are. “

Next, the Parnells have 30 days after being given access to the evidence record to substantiate their allegations. The government will then have 21 days to respond.

In the meantime, Stewart Parnell will wait while he is incarcerated in Hazelton Federal Prison in West Virginia. Michael Parnell is a resident of Fort Dix, NJ Federal Prison.

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