Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jack Morrison off the Hotseat and Other Thoughts on the Monea Trial

At the end of the latest story about the latest weird turn in the Paul Monea case, we learn that the other shoe is not going to drop for attorney Jack Morrison:

    Monea also tried to conceal the source of the money from his attorney who helped arrange the sale, [Assitant US Attorney Robert Bulford] said. Monea's attorney, Akron lawyer Jack Morrison Jr., had testified that he was unaware of the drug connection.

    "(Morrison) was being used," Bulford said. "His firm was being used."
So the government's position is, and will almost certainly remain, that Morrison didn't know that the undercover agents led Monea to believe that he was helping wash drug money. That should close the book on questions about Morrison's culpability.

As for the entrapment argument raised by Monea, it's less a legal defense and more a jury appeal argument. You can argue it, but except in the most extreme cases it's not a basis for any kind of constitutional challenge. Certainly it's a stretch in this case, given Monea's history.

I reserve judgement about the affidavits submitted by Monea's attorney until we get more information. If Monea is convicted the affidavits will serve as the basis for a motion for a new trial and possibly an appeal based on ineffective assitance of counsel. If he is acquitted, the issue will probably die.

I should probably disclose at this point that over a decade ago I worked for Monea's attorney Bill Whitaker and that my family still sees Whitaker and his family socially on occasion.