Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Get Out of Jail Free Card for Sea Crook?

Get Out of Jail Free Card for Sea Crook?
Disgraced Council #Seabrook may get out of Jail early

By Michael Horowitz

BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 2- Former City Councilman Larry Seabrook, who is in the midst of serving a five-year jail sentence, could be a free man much sooner than most of his former constituents thought he would.

That’s because the U. S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has sent the former Councilman’s case back to Manhattan Federal Court over what many lay people would view as a legal technicality.

The appeals court, after a review of the facts in the case, has the power to order a third trial of the former Bronx lawmaker.

The judges in the Court of Appeals have sent the case back to the Manhattan Federal Court in response to the former lawmaker’s claim that he was denied his right to a public trial because three of his supporters were excluded from the courtroom during the jury selection.

The appeals court found that Seabrook’s appeal had merit based on the law. However, the court determined that it needed additional information on the exact circumstances relating to the jury selection before rendering a judgment on the former lawmaker’s appeal.

In his appeal of his July 2012 conviction on corruption charges, Seabrook charged that his brother, Oliver Seabrook; a friend, Carl Green, and a former constituent, Stuart Edwards, were instructed by the judge’s deputy to leave their seats to make them available for jurors.

Seabrook, in his appeal, also claimed that the media were excluded from the jury selection in his case.

"Excluding the public and the media was an error … and the integrity and public reputation of the proceedings were adversely affected by the `secret’ jury selection in this high-profile case,” Seabrook claimed, in his appeal of his July conviction on corruption charges.

Prosecutors, expressing another view, have said that the individuals who were told to give up their seats were not told to leave the courtroom.

The judge in the Seabrook case, Deborah Batts, was responsible for the vacating of a separate conviction in 2012 on grounds that are similar to those in the former lawmaker’s case.

In July 2012, a federal jury found Seabrook guilty of misdirecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for community projects to his girlfriend and relatives.

An earlier trial of Seabrook, in December 2011, resulted in a hung jury, when those on the panel couldn’t agree on whether or not the former Councilman was guilty or innocent.

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