Nov 25, 2012

Buju gets another date in court

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Reggae artiste Buju Banton has been granted a right to an evidentiary hearing by US magistrate James Moody.
Buju will be taken before the US Sam Gibbons Court in Tampa, Florida on December 20.

The court is to look into an admission by female juror, Terri Wright, that she violated federal regulations and researched aspects of the case over the Internet during the trial in order to have a better grasp of the issues.

Wright said she had secretly researched the Pinkerton Law, which was used by the prosecution to connect Buju to an illegal firearm that was found in the possession of a co-conspirator, James Mack, during a cocaine transaction in a police-controlled warehouse in Tampa.

Along with Wright, three other jurors will appear before the court at the December hearing.
Banton was given a 10-year sentence for drug related charges and missed being slapped with an additional five years on a gun conviction. The recommended for an additional five years by an Appellate Court came after two motions filed by his newly appointed legal team that he should be granted a new trial. The first motion was for the judge to reconsider his prior sentence and reduce it. The second motion was for a new trial based on jury misconduct.

Yesterday lead attorney Chokwe Lumumba told the Jamaica Observer that the ruling was a fillip to his client’s case. “It means we can demonstrate that the juror was guilty of misconduct and they should grant a mistrial,” Lumumba said.


Nov 20, 2012

Buju Banton Granted Evidentiary Hearing

Embattled dancehall star Buju Banton got a major break in his ongoing case last week when a judge granted him an evidentiary hearing.

The hearing comes just weeks after Buju’s lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba, and his defense support committee files an application after learning that one of the jurors violates court orders.

The hearing is scheduled to take place at the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa, Florida on December 20th.

Four of the jurors involved in the infamous trial will answer to the court during that hearing.

Last month, juror Terri Wright admitted in an interview that she researched aspects of the case on her computer before reaching a verdict. If that turns out to be true, the judge could rule in favour of a mistrial.

Wright said her research of the case did not influence her decision.

Buju Banton, born Mark Myrie, is currently serving a 10-year sentence in a Florida prison after being convicted in February of three counts of drug trafficking charges.

The Grammy-winning singer is also facing an additional five years on a gun charge.


Nov 18, 2012

Free Buju Press Conference

Dr. Carolyn Cooper moderates a press conference in Washington D.C. for supporters of Buju Banton including his attorney Chokwe Lumumba and Gramps Morgan. Another Boomshots exclusive.

Buju’s legal team aims new letter writing campaign at U.S. Supreme Court

The legal team for Dancehall superstar, Buju Banton continues to pull out all the stops in their fight to secure the embattled entertainer’s freedom as they have launched a new campaign targeting the United States Supreme Court.

Chokwe Lumumba, Buju’s lead lawyer, has spearheaded a new letter writing campaign set to raise awareness about the Grammy-winning singjay’s drug case. The campaign also re-affirms their stance that the entertainer should be released from federal prison.

In a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court released on Wednesday, Lumumba indicated that Buju has filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari, seeking a review and reversal of his conviction and subsequent 10-year sentencing on drug charges, stemming from a December 2009 incident in Florida.

Part of said letter read, “The convictions of Mr. Myrie are outrageous and unjust. Mr. Myrie was the victim of a concerted U.S. government effort to entrap, conducted by a corrupt informant who was paid 3.5 million dollars by the government for his services in various cases over the years.”

It continued, “He has never been convicted of a crime prior to the present case. He has helped feed numerous hungry children in his country and otherwise contributed to worthy causes in Jamaica and elsewhere. He is supported by hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions worldwide. I ask this honorable court to review his case and grant Mark Myrie the relief he deserves.”

These moves follow a recent discussion dubbed the Free Buju Press Conference that was held a day before the U.S. presidential elections (November 5). The conference, organized by Lumumba and the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee, was moderated by University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer, Dr. Carolyn Cooper. It featured several guest speakers, including prominent entertainers, Stephen Marley and Gramps Morgan as well as NAACP Prison Committee chairman, Nkechi Taifa and Vice-Chairman of the National Black United Front, Salim Adafo, amongst other reputable figures.

Lumumba addressed conference attendees, claiming that Buju Banton is a ‘political prisoner,’ while adding, “There is a generational gap between the struggle to free political prisoners and the struggles of young people. [Buju is helping] to keep the act of freeing political prisoners a relevant one to all generations that exist right now.”

Buju Banton remains housed in the Pinellas County Jail, based in Clearwater, FL as he awaits re-sentencing on a gun charge in the drug case. The re-sentencing was postponed on October 30 as law enforcement officials review allegations that a juror in Buju’s February 2011 trial admitted to reviewing facts of the case before deliberation. If proven true, the juror violation could constitute a mistrial.

For those who wish to write a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Free Buju Campaign, send your mail to the address below.

United States Supreme Court
C/O Attorney Chokwe Lumumba
440 N. Mill St.
Jackson, Mississippi 39202