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Food Safety News

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criminal prosecutions

11th Circuit sets date for arguments in PCA criminal appeals

Oral arguments for the appeals of Stewart Parnell, Michael Parnell and Mary Wilkerson are set for the week of Nov. 6, according to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The trio, once associated with the now defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), is appealing their jury convictions and sentences for their roles contributing to a Salmonella… Continue Reading

DeCosters make Top 10 list of cases justices should have heard

It won’t get either of the DeCosters a better place in the lunch line or relief from working a shift in the laundry, but their case has made the “Top Ten” of October-term certiorari petitions the Supreme Court should have granted. The annual list by the 40-year-old Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), which advocates for “a sound free… Continue Reading

DeCosters want to choose where they serve their 3 months

Since the U.S. Supreme Court denied Austin “Jack” and Peter DeCoster’s petition for writ of certiorari on May 22, time has come for the father and son to serve their jail time.  They’d like to self-surrender at a prison of their choosing. At the moment, they are back before the trial judge, Mark W.Bennett in Sioux… Continue Reading

Appellate judges won’t release Wilkerson while awaiting appeal

The extended visiting hours for Memorial Day weekend at Federal Correction Institution (FCI) Marianna probably won’t be much consolidation for 43-year-old Mary Wilkerson, who was denied in her second request for release on bail. She remains incarcerated at the western Florida panhandle federal prison. It’s about an hour from Wilkerson’s home in South Georgia. Circuit Judges… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: Supreme Court weighs in without a word

High court declines to hear appeals of egg men in cases related to 2010 Salmonella outbreak

Opinion

I can hear a bit of silence in the board rooms of America. Monday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals of Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, without comment. In April 2015 U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett sentenced the DeCosters to prison, saying they knew or should have known about the… Continue Reading

Supreme Court will not review DeCoster sentences in egg cases

Austin “Jack” DeCoster, 83, and his 53-year old son Peter DeCoster are not going to get their day in the Supreme Court after all, but instead are likely to spend their summer and fall taking turns doing 3-month prison sentences at the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton, SD. The DeCosters had petitioned the U.S. Supreme… Continue Reading

Wilkerson seeks release on bail as Lightsey gains his freedom

Crimes and consequences in cases of peanut executives and deadly Salmonella outbreak

Samuel Lightsey, the one-time operations manager for the Peanut Corporation of America’s processing plant in Blakely, GA, is out of prison with a new job at a company equipping the peanut industry. Another key figure in the PCA Salmonella saga, 43-year-old Mary Wilkerson, wants to be released from prison pending the outcome of her appeal,… Continue Reading

‘Fry them’ comments in jury room could get Parnells a new trial

Defense lawyers for executives in peanut butter Salmonella trial say jurors had loose lips

The conduct of the 2014 jury that convicted Peanut Corporation of America executives delayed sentencing for about year, but in its final analysis the district court found a new trial based on jury misconduct was not warranted. Appellate attorneys for peanut broker Michael Parnell filed lengthy after-hours arguments Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals… Continue Reading

Elderly man sentenced to 18 months for certification bribes

A 71-year-old man is facing 18 months in federal prison for taking bribes in exchange for giving false food safety training certificates to foodservice workers from 2008 to 2015. Ernest Griffin negotiated a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in the case, admitting last year to one count of federal program bribery. U.S…. Continue Reading

Enforcement of meat inspections not limited to Secretary of Ag

Congress was not “clear and unambiguous,” but the “better reading” of federal law finds it did not intend to withhold jurisdiction from the district courts in deciding criminal violations under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. That finding by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit means the criminal convictions of William B. Aossey Jr., Jalel… Continue Reading