Search I-Reggaenation

Friday, March 26, 2010

Feds Claim Buju Banton is Treated Fairly; as Opposed to his Lawyers' Claim

TAMPA - Claims that a Grammy-nominated reggae singer is being treated inhumanely in jail while awaiting trial on drug charges are "lies," afederal prosecutor said today.
A lawyer for singer Buju Banton filed a motion Monday saying his client had been placed in maximum security because he "had the audacity to share his food with another inmate."
Defense attorney David Oscar Markus also claimed Banton had lost 40 pounds because he was denied the vegetarian diet he requires for religious reasons. He said Banton's "mental and physical health has been rapidly deteriorating," and that the transfer has hindered his ability to prepare for his April 19 trial.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston presented evidence that Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, has gained 11 pounds.
Banton was 150 pounds when was booked into the Pinellas County Jailon Jan. 5. After Markus filed his motion, Banton was weighed again and the scale read 161 pounds, a jail official testified.
Markus challenged those records, asserting Banton's weight when he was booked was just an estimate.
But Pinellas sheriff's Capt. Mark Fletcher said the numbers were supported by records kept by jail medical staff, who have weighed Banton several times during his detention.

Markus complained he hadn't seen the records before the hearing.
"Unfortunately, it seems like we're playing gotcha," he said.
Fletcher testified Banton never asked the jail chaplain, who handles such requests, if he could be placed on a vegetarian diet. He said he reviewed records of Banton's commissary transactions and found purchases of meat and fish, including chicken, tuna and mackerel.
Fletcher said that after Markus telephoned him, he directed that Banton be given a vegetarian diet.
He said he couldn't tell from the records whether Banton shared hiscommissary purchases with others, which would be a violation of jail rules.
"Food is money in jail," Fletcher said. "It's a commodity. We have to make sure it goes where it's supposed to."
Markus said Banton gave other inmates the meat he bought in the commissary. He said Banton told him he filed a diet request with the chaplain and also had a cleric phone the jail on his behalf.
Banton was arrested in Miami in December and transferred in January to the Pinellas jail, which holds federal prisoners awaiting trial. The Jamaican citizen is being held without bail on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting his co-defendants in possessing a firearm during the course of cocaine distribution.
Markus asked a federal judge to release Banton on bail so he can be transferred to an immigration detention facility. Failing that, Markus requested that Banton be moved to a "non-maximum security" wing.
Fletcher said Banton is not being housed in maximum security or any kind of administrative segregation. He said Banton is being kept in an older part of the jail where the security arrangements are different, but not punitive.
Fletcher said deputies moved Banton after he argued with a corporal who told him not to give his food away.
Markus complained that his client's current quarters do not have a microwave or hot-water maker, so Banton cannot cook food he purchases from the commissary.
"It's hard to come here in federal court and complain he's not allowed to make tea," Markus said. "But it is a concern."
U.S. Magistrate Anthony Porcelli said he would not interfere with jail operations. He also said he would not order Banton's release because he believes there's a risk he could flee to his home country.

1 comment:

  1. Buju using a microwave?? Mi nah tink so...what a set up and Babylon prove dem a vampire~