Jul 8, 2011

Buju Banton begins appeal

Dancehall star Buju Banton has started the second round in his battle for freedom.

But it could take up to 18 months before Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, knows if he will escape a 10-year prison sentence which was imposed on him by a United States judge after he was convicted on drug charges.

Lawyers representing Buju on Tuesday filed a formal notice of appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Attorney-at-law David Oscar Markus told The Gleaner that he is moving ahead with his appeal of the guilty verdict handed down against the artiste.

Markus will also be challenging the 10-year sentence imposed by US judge, Jim Moodie.
"Our appeal is due to be filed 40 days after we receive the transcripts (of the trial) which we are still waiting for," Markus said.

"We will not give up for Buju, who is thankful to all of his fans and friends for their continued support," Markus added yesterday.

18-month wait

He could not say when the appeal would be heard, but noted that it generally takes about 18 months to get a decision from the US Court of Appeal Eleventh Circuit.

The Appeal Court is based in Atlanta Georgia, but has satellite courts in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.
Three judges will hear the case and Markus is prepared for the fight.

Minutes after the sentence was handed down last month, Markus told reporters outside the court that his appeal would be based on the argument that there was insufficient evidence to convict Buju on the drug count.
The attorney further argued that there was entrapment as a matter of law because of the US government informant Ian Johnson who first approached Buju about getting involved in a cocaine deal.
Buju is now languishing in a minimum security Federal prison serving his sentence.

Source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110707/lead/lead7.html

Jul 3, 2011

Buju moved to different jail

CONVICTED Reggae artiste Buju Banton has been transferred from the Pinellas County Jail to the Citrus County Jail in Tampa, Florida.

The artiste will be processed by correctional staff at that penal facility before he knows where he will spend his 10 year sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine. His attorney David Oscar Markus told the Observer that the prison board had not yet decided which prison Banton will be housed.

He was sentenced in the Sam Gibbons US Court by Judge James Moody two Thursdays ago.
Banton, whose is registered as Mark Anthony Myrie, will not have any of his assets seized by the United States government after testimony by a drug enforcement agent that despite investigating him for over a year, there was no evidence that he profited from any illicit drug transaction.

He was arrested in December 2009 at his home in South Florida hours after his two co-defendants, Ian Thomas and James Mack were arrested after they attempted to buy large amounts of cocaine from federal agents in a police controlled warehouse.
Both men have pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 51 months.

Banton meanwhile has signalled his intention to earn a Masters degree in political science and economics during his incarceration.

Despite being sentenced to 10 years, the Grammy winning artiste could be set free in six years as his 18 month remand while awaiting the outcome of his trial and good behaviour while in prison could see him spending just six years.

Source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Buju-moved-to-different-jail