Fishy ? Vindictive


A year ago I mentioned an extraordinary decision by a federal judge in Indiana who threw out the money laundering conviction of defense attorney Jerry Jarrett after concluding that the government had vindictively prosecuted him as payback for his effective representation of a physician accused of prescribing narcotics to addicts. On Tuesday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit overturned that decision, reinstating Jarrett's conviction. "A claim of vindictive prosecution is extremely difficult to prove," the court noted. "While the district court was troubled by what it regarded as various suspicious circumstances surrounding Jarrett's indictment, suspicion is not proof, and we do not find in these events the clear and objective evidence needed to establish vindictive prosecution."

Maybe not; the evidence against the government, which waited four years to bring charges against Jarrett, is mainly circumstantial. But the appeals court's summary of the evidence against Jarrett shows he was indicted and convicted based purely on the say-so of two drug-dealer clients who were proven liars with every motive to lie in this particular case. The crucial issue was whether Jarrett knew that money he handled for his clients came from drug sales. He said they told him "the money came from gambling winnings, selling cars, and rehabbing houses." Jarrett's account may or may not be true, but it's not so transparently false as to erase reasonable doubt, unless you assume that anyone who represents drug offenders must be a shady character.

[via Drug Law Blog]

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  1. “…suspicion is not proof….”

    That should be good for a few belly laughs at Gitmo, hey?

  2. Double standard here. Proving what was in Atty. Jarret’s head (ie, whether he knew where the money his clients gave him came from) is just as difficult as proving what was in the prosecutors’ heads (ie, whether they were acting in good faith when they charged him).

  3. Can drug offending clients ever purchase legal defense?
    Aren’t all of their funds tainted?

  4. This is hard to follow because the Drug Law blog link to the 7th Circuit decision seems to be dead and the link at the year old HnR blog entry seems to be (understandably) dead as well.

    Who convicted Jarett? Did he opt to fight his conviction on vindictive prosecution grounds rather than appealing his conviction in the standard way (simply called an appeal)?

  5. It’s pretty clear, that he was guilty of actual money laundering – not of being paid in dirty money. From the case law:

    “Jarrett, it is alleged, began cleaning up dirty money
    in April 1999, when a drug dealer named Carlos Ripoll
    brought him $67,000 in cash. Jarrett deposited the
    money in a series of small transactions (to evade currency
    transaction reports) into the bank account of a
    dormant small business he controlled.1 Jarrett then prepared
    a backdated stock purchase agreement, representing
    that Ripoll had ?invested? $15,000 in Jarrett?s company,
    and issued a series of checks to Ripoll totaling $54,452 for
    ?return on investment.? As compensation for his services,
    Jarrett pocketed $12,000.”

  6. Also, joe, it is not a double-standard. His conviction wasn’t based upon what was in his head, his conviction was based on the fact that he operating a pretty fucking obvious money-laundering scheme…

  7. we do not find in these events the clear and objective evidence needed to establish

    Not my area of law, but isn’t it pretty unusual for an appellate court to retry the facts?

    I wonder if they are this solicitous of the evidence when they aren’t protecting prosecutial privilege.

  8. RC Dean,

    IANAL, but this doesn’t look like an ordinary appeal; the appellate court seems to have been “trying” the defendant’s counter-charge of vindictive prosecution.

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