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

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