EX JUDGE CLETUS MIRACLE, AND 5 OTHERS COULD BE OUT OF PRISON SOON Awaiting retrial after District Judge Danny Reeves overruled by 6th. Circuit
Published: July 31, 2013
By BRETT BARROUQUERE The_Associated_Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former judge from southeastern Kentucky and five other people could be released from federal prison soon while awaiting a retrial on charges they engineered a massive vote-buying scheme across three elections.
Federal prosecutors in Lexington told a judge Wednesday they didn’t object to former Clay County Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle, one-time county clerk Freddy Thompson and others being freed on bond before their new trial in October.
But the U.S. Attorney’s office is seeking to hold former school superintendent Doug Adams and ex-election officer William E. Stivers in custody because they violated their bond before being tried several years ago.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the group’s convictions on July 17 after finding that the trial judge committed several errors in handling the case.
The appeals court concluded U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves allowed jurors to hear some evidence that should not have been admitted and erred in his handling of transcripts of secret tape recordings that an informant made during the FBI investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman wrote in a motion that the appellate court’s decision will not be challenged
The decision to grant bond rests with U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell. The defendants who could be released include: Maricle; Thompson; former Magistrate Stanley Bowling; Charles Wayne Jones, who was the county’s Democratic election commissioner; and Bart and Debra Morris, a couple who owned a garbage business that had contracts with Manchester and Clay County.
Stivers and Adams have requested release, but Parman said each violated terms of bond leading up to the first trial on vote fraud charges. Parman said both men had impermissible contact with witnesses.
“This conduct establishes a serious risk that those defendants will obstruct justice and/or intimidate a potential witness,” Parman wrote.
Kent Westberry, the attorney for Adams, said his client had dinner with a potential defense witness during the first trial but did not discuss the case. His bond was later revoked. Westberry said all the factors point to Adams being released — a nonviolent crime, deep roots in the area and his agreeing to return to the prior conditions of bond.
“Finally, as a respected educator who passed all the rigorous screenings demanded of one who works in public education, Adams poses no danger to the community if released,” Westberry said.
Prosecutors argued that the group conspired to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy votes in one of the nation’s poorest counties in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Several other local officials pleaded guilty to vote-buying and corruption charges in related cases.
Reeves handed down lengthy sentences in the case, including 24 years for Maricle, 69, who is being held at a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, and 20 years for Adams, 61, who is being held at a federal prison in Elkton, Ohio.
Adams, who served as school superintendent from 1999 through 2007, was considered a political boss in Clay County. Maricle served as a judge from 1991 through 2007 and was also considered a political boss. Both men were portrayed by prosecutors as leaders of the conspiracy.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/07/31/2742311/ex-judge-5-others-could-be-out.html#emlnl=PM_update#storylink=cpy