RCS EXCLUSIVE: Buju Banton Attorneys “Guardedly Optimistic” Following Appeals Hearing Today in Atlanta

Written by Red Carpet Shelley. Posted in Atlanta, Caribbean Celebrity News, Caribbean News, Red Carpet Shelley Home

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Published on December 11, 2014 with No Comments

Charles Ogletree rcs

Buju Banton’s Attorney, Charles Ogletree outside of the 11th Cirtcuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Today, almost five years to the exact date of his arrest, Buju Banton had yet another court date.  I sat inside a not-so-crowded Atlanta courtroom, as Grammy-award winning reggae artist Buju Banton (aka Mark Myrie) had his appeals case heard before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta Georgia*.  Although it was Buju’s attorneys, Charles Ogletree and Max Stern who appeared in court and not the reggae superstar, his presence was felt.

At issue today, the one remaining drug charge since other charges were thrown out during a a lower court ruling by Judge James Moody that there was, indeed. juror misconduct in the Mark Myrie case.  Earlier this year, Charles Ogletree, an astute Harvard-educated law professor who taught both Obamas, took over Banton’s legal defense.  Ogletree, in a brief submitted to the court earlier this year, contended that the juror misconduct tainted the whole trial and that a mistrial should have been declared.

The judges seem to question how could the juror misconduct, the extent of which is unknown, not affect the outcome case.  U.S. Attorney Linda McNamara argued the case was not compromised by the juror misconduct.

We are very hopeful… Let folks in Jamaica and around the world know that we’re supporting Buju Banton ~ Attorney Charles Ogletree

The panel of three judges comprised of Hon. Susan H. Black, Hon. Charles R. Wilson and Hon. Robin S. Rosenbaum had clearly read up thoroughly on the case and questioned McNamara at great length.  In fact, each attorney is granted 15 minutes to argue their case but the U.S. Attorney was forced to go over in order to respond to questioning from Judge Black.  Judge Rosenbaum asked several questions regarding the juror misconduct issue and implied there was no way to know everything the juror had read on the internet and therefore we couldn’t conclude there was no impact on the outcome of the case.

In my opinion, the biggest news today, however is that the United States Attorneys office stated if the case were remanded and a new trial granted, the U.S. Attorneys office would not pursue that option!  This means if this court rules in Buju’s favor, Buju Banton will walk free!!  I believe given the line of questioning and tone from all the judges today we can all be “guardedly” optimistic about Buju Banton’s release.

*RCS Editor’s Note: Today’s hearing is the appeals case for his 2011 drug trafficking conviction and is not to be confused with Buju’s recent motion attempting to secure an earlier release date based on recent changes to federal drug sentencing guidelines.





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