Posted on 14 December 2014.
Oral arguments in favour of a new trial for incarcerated reggae/dancehall legend, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton have finally been made, with the Grammy-winning singjay possibly having to wait until next February to know his fate.
Buju’s lawyer, Charles Ogletree made the arguments during a hearing inside a Georgia circuit court on Thursday as he attempts to overturn the musician’s 10-year conviction on drug charges. His arguments are based on inconsistencies with the case, citing findings that a juror in the case researched aspects of Buju’s case while it was on trial in February 2011, as well as alleging that he was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant, thus compromising the integrity of the case.
The arguments were initially granted in August following an appeal three months earlier asking for a new trial. However, according to Ogletree, in an interview with IRIE FM, they may have to wait up to two months for a decision in the matter.
“I don’t know how the court’s going to rule,” he told the radio station. “It’s still December. We expect a decision in several weeks. It may be February before they decide, but we’re holding out hope that we’ll get a reversal and that will create the opportunity for a new trial.”
Last week there were reports that Buju requested to be released and deported to his native Jamaica following a recent shift in sentencing guidelines for drug offenses. However, Ogletree shot down that the request would be successful as he believed the entertainer was not eligible to take advantage of the new guidelines.
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Posted on 09 September 2014.
Fans of incarcerated Reggae stalwart, Buju Banton are being given a legitimate ray of hope the singer will regain his freedom after his lawyer intimated Monday that his client may be freed from a U.S. federal prison this year, should his appeal to overturn his drug conviction be successful.
The singer applied for a new trial earlier in May, via his legal team headed by Harvard University law professor, Charles Ogletree and was granted a reprieve in August after an American appeals court approved his request to present oral arguments supporting his reasoning for wanting a new trial. However, no date nor venue has been set as of yet, though it is expected to happen very soon.
Said arguments are on the basis that Buju was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant and that his case was compromised after it was found that a juror in the singer’s February 2011 trial unlawfully researched aspects of his drug case while the trial was ongoing.
Ogletree told IRIE FM in an interview Monday afternoon that he is pleased with the progress of Buju’s appeal and is confident a resolution can soon be reached.
“These things I think show serious setbacks in this case and show that the 11th circuit [appeals court] is at least concerned about what happened here and I’m prepared to argue it as strongly as I can” he said. “I expect that Buju Banton’s convictions will be reversed, that he will be out this year and that he will be performing again, both in Florida and in Jamaica.”
Atty. Ogletree also said that should Buju’s conviction be overturned, he will apply to have Buju’s status as a convicted felon wiped away so he can be able to perform in the United States without restrictions. Additionally, he anticipate many of the singer’s supporters to be on hand once the arguments are being made.
Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted of three drug offences during that 2011 trial. His current expected release date is February 1, 2019.
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Posted on 19 August 2014.
Incarcerated Reggae/Dancehall entertainer, Mark Myrie, more popularly known as Buju Banton has been granted approval by a U.S. appeals court to make oral arguments in a bid for a new trial as he attempts to overturn his conviction on drug-related charges.
The breakthrough came on Monday following an appeal submitted in May by Buju’s legal team, headed by Harvard Law School professor, Charles Ogletree asking that Buju be granted a new trial and oral arguments on the basis that the singer was entrapped by a paid U.S. informant and that his case was compromised after a juror in his 2011 trial was found to have unlawfully researched aspects of the case while it was taking place.
A statement issued by the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee detailed the latest developments in the matter.
It reads, “In May 2014 the Defense Team for Jamaican Reggae Superstar, Buju Banton, filed an appeal to the U.S. Appellate Court requesting the artiste be granted oral arguments and a new trial. Buju’s attorney, Professor Charles Ogletree, submitted a compact and powerful document detailing Buju Banton’s innocence. The Court has responded favourably by granting approval to the oral arguments.
The brief states that Buju Banton was entrapped by a paid informant in December 2009. It gives clear evidence that the foreperson of the jury, Mrs. Terri Wright, acted against the District Court’s instructions by researching information on the case during the trial and that Mrs. Wright further presented the Court with the wrong computer hard drive on which she did her research.”
No date has been issued by the appeals court for the oral arguments to be heard. However. Ogletree expressed satisfaction with the approval of Buju’s request, saying that the court’s decision is a ‘positive step towards justice, victory and freedom for the incarcerated reggae icon.'”
Buju was convicted on three drug-related charges in February 2011 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison, counting time already served. His term is slated to end in February 2019.
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