The schedule is now a little clearer for the trial of the four former Peanut Corporation of America executives on 76 federal felony counts. U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands has indicated that the trial could still begin Feb. 10, 2014, if an Oklahoma murder trial begins earlier than scheduled. Here’s the scheduling problem. The Oklahoma murder trial involving defense attorney James W. Parkman, who is also representing defendant Samuel Lightsey in the PCA trial, was to begin in October 2013 but was moved back apparently to accommodate the peanut case. Now, however, the Tulsa County District Court murder trial could begin earlier. “Although the Court is hesitant to create scheduling conflicts, it would be almost impossible in a trial of this length to accommodate the schedules of twelve attorneys without some dissent, “ Sands wrote in a Court order. “Perhaps the present conflict might be resolved once the Oklahoma court is made aware of the new trial schedule in this case and the resulting five months for trial.” The bottom line is that Sands is apparently not moving off the Feb. 10, 2014, start date for the PCA criminal trial. Further, government and defense attorneys have prepared a joint scheduling motion for all the deadlines that will be imposed leading up to the trial. Those deadlines include:
- Oct. 25, 2013, as the deadline for all preliminary motions related to dismissal of the indictment.
- Oct. 25, 2013, as the deadline for all preliminary motions with the exception of motions in limine, which typically have to do with including or excluding testimony by specific witnesses.
- Nov. 15, 2013, is the deadline for responses to motions.
- Nov. 29, 2013, is the deadline for responses to motions.
- Dec. 5, 2013, is the deadline for motions for all preliminary motions to be conducted.
- Dec. 23, 2013, is the deadline for all motions in limine.
- Jan. 13, 2014, is the deadline for the government and defendants to file responses to motions.
- Jan. 23, 2014, is the deadline for the government and defendants to file their replies to responses to motions.
- Jan. 28, 2014 is the deadline for motions in limine hearing and pre-trial hearing to be conducted.
- Feb. 3, 2014, is the deadline for the government and defendants to submit proposed voir dire questions and grand jury instructions. Parties by that date may also move to include or exclude or amend jury instructions at time during trial as ordered by the Court.
The scheduling order also has the government and the defense meeting on Jan. 29, 2014, regarding exhibits, demonstrative and evidentiary and exhibit lists to work toward stipulation. Lightsey is the former manager at PCA’s peanut processing plant at Blakely, GA. The other defendants are corporate officials Stewart and Michael Parnell and Mary Wilkerson, the quality control manger for PCA in Blakely, GA. A federal grand jury indicted the foursome in February 2013 after a four-year investigation following a 2009 Salmonella outbreak linked to PCA that killed nine and sickened 700.