Former Peanut Corporation of America CEO Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison

Stewart Parnell, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Lynchburg, Virginia-based Peanut Corporation of America, was sentenced to twenty-eight years in federal prison yesterday by Judge W. Louis Sands in the US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia’s Albany Division.  The sentence resulted from Parnell’s being convicted by a jury last year for his role in a nationwide salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and made hundreds more sick in 2008 and 2009.  Judge Sands also sentenced Parnells’ brother, Michael Parnell, the company’s supervisor, to serve twenty years in prison, and Mary Wilkerson, one of the company’s quality control managers, to serve five years in prison, for their roles in the offense.  Read the Washington Post‘s article here: “Former Peanut Executive Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison”

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Boston Bombing Juror May Not Have Voted Death if Family’s Wishes Known

A juror in the District of Massachusetts federal death-penalty trial of “Boston Marathon Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev says he “probably” would have voted against imposing death on Tsarnaev if he had known that some of the victims had opposed capital punishment.  Read the Boston Globe’s article here: “In Interview, Tsarnaev Juror Talks about Trial Experience”

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Vice-President Joe Biden’s Role in 90s Drug Law May Impact 2016 Presidential Bid

Vice-President Joe Biden, who in 1994 was a Senator (D-DE) and Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, was instrumental in the Senate’s passing that year the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which created certain mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses.  Recently, both liberals and conservatives have recognized that mandatory minimum penalties for many drug offenses are unduly harsh, arbitrary, and abused by prosecutors who are using laws intended to punish drug “king pins” to punish low-level drug dealers and addicts.  Although there was significant bi-partisan support for the Act when Congress passed it in 1994, Vice-President Biden’s detractors certainly will call on him to answer for his supporting it during any presidential bid that he may make in the 2016 election.

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US Attorney General Eric Holder on Federal Drug Law Reform

US Attorney General Eric Holder wrote an editorial in the Washington Post on federal drug sentencing reform: “Time to Tackle Unfinished Business in Criminal Justice Reform”

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Senators Re-introduce Bill Requiring Search Warrants for Emails

US Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Christopher Coons (D-DE), and Dean Heller (R-NV) re-introduced on February 12, 2015 a bill proposing the Law Enforcement Access to Date Stored Abroad Act (“LEADS Act”), which would prevent law enforcement agents from accessing any data stored in the Cloud that is more than 180 days old without a search warrant.  The US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) interprets the now-in-effect Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require a law enforcement agent to obtain a search warrant only for unopened emails not more than 180 day old; all other information, including opened emails not more than 180 days old, and both opened and unopened emails more than 180 days old, only require a subpoena.  The LEADS Act also proposes to define the parameters by which law enforcement agents may access data stored outside of the United States.  Read The Hill‘s article here: “Republican Senator Pushes Bill to Require Warrants for Emails”

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