Like ranch hands on a runaway wagon in the Old West, attorneys for Stewart Parnell and Michael Parnell are trying to get the reins straightened out while slowing down just enough for some to jump off. Appellate attorneys Justin M. Lugar and Joseph R. Pope, who respectively represent Stewart Parnell and Michael Parnell, want the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to delay the briefing schedule in the brothers’ appeals. The attorneys want to put the action on hold until after a Jan. 26 restitution hearing in the Parnells’ criminal cases. pcaBlakeley_406x250Restitution is the only undecided issue in the criminal trials, which landed on the docket of U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands just as he was transitioning to senior status in February 2013. Prosecutors won convictions of the Parnell brothers and three of their managers at the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). The company’s products   were linked to a 46-state Salmonella outbreak in 2008 that sickened at least 714 and killed nine. Restitution is why U.S. Marshals have, since the Parnells’ Sept. 21 sentencing, kept the brothers parked in the Crisp County Jail, not far from Judge Sands courtroom in Albany, Ga. But, Michael Parnell does not want to wait any longer for relocation to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility. “I hereby knowingly and voluntarily waive my right to be present at the hearing on my restitution,” according to his signed affidavit. Judge Sands sentenced Michael Parnell to 20 years and Stewart Parnell to 28 years after a jury found them guilty in September 2014 of multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy. Their mother posted a $250,000 secured bond for their release after the verdict. That bond did not carry over after sentencing a year later. While slowing down their appeal so restitution can become part of it, the brothers are continuing to press the Eleventh Circuit for their release on bond. Prosecutors have argued they should remain locked up because the length of their sentences and for the potential access to Stewart family financial resources. But their attorneys insist the government’s arguments do not hold water and the government’s comparisons to other cases are faulty. Parts of the arguments put forth by Lugar and Pope use identical language. Each brother is described as having “strong ties to his family and community” and as having “remained free on bond without incident” for years. The appeals attorneys also both contend that their clients lack “a valuable and easily transportable skill-set” and don’t have foreign assets, making it less likely they will flee. Lugar also cites Stewart Parnell’s limited abilities as a pilot as a reason he should be released on bond. “Despite the government’s claim that Stewart has international flying experience, he is far from an experienced commercial pilot with experience landing at clandestine airfields. Instead, Stewart maintained a private pilot’s license for small, propeller aircraft that permitted him to fly from Virginia to the PCA plant in Georgia and to the plant in Texas, which required a lengthy layover to refuel. And while it is true that Stewart Parnell has some international contacts from his days as a peanut salesmen, he has never sought to or attempted to leave his family. Indeed, when traveling for his prior job as a peanut broker, Stewart had ample opportunity to flee to a non-extradition county while he was under investigation. He did not, and he has proven that he will not flee.” Pope writes that Michael Parnell’s health and lack of travel experience make him a good candidate for bond. “Michael is a 56-year-old diabetic who has spent the vast majority of his life in Virginia, with no history of international travel,” Pope states. “Notably, the government points to nothing in the record showing Michael personally has significant assets; instead, it relies on the fact that his family was able to cobble together $250,000 to provide a secured bond for he and his brother Stewart while on release pending sentencing.” Lugar mocks the government’s assertion that the Parnell brothers have access to financial resources because their mother posted a $250,000 secured bond following their convictions. “Obtaining familial support for a secured cash bond is not the same as having personal foreign assets far from the reach of the United States to use for financial support while living outside the country,” Lugar contends. Pope argues Michael Parnell should be able to bond out of jail pending appeal because his appeal involves substantial questions of law or fact “likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial of counts on which imprisonment has been imposed.” Pope says the government’s conviction of Michael Parnell “is built on a foundation of sand that cannot withstand close judicial scrutiny.”