Like former PCA President Stewart Parnell, Michael Parnell is before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta with a petition to vacate his conviction and sentence. Those petitions by the Parnell brothers have previously moved on similar tracks, but Michael’s appellate documents have been granted extended time for filing.

Michael Parnell, the peanut broker involved with the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America, has been on the move this summer.

Broker Michael Parnell, 64, and his brother Stewart Parnell, 69, were the top executives at PCA when in 2008-09, its peanut processing plant in Georgia was found to be the source of a multiple state Salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands and resulted in several deaths. PCA’s peanut butter and paste recall was among the largest in history, involving more than 3,000 products.

What’s currently occurring is that the Bureau of Prisons decided this would be a good time to move Michael Parnell down the I-95 S/I 85 S corridor from his previous incarceration at Fort Dix, NJ, to Butner, NC, outside Raleigh. In mid-July, however, BOP opted to park Michael Parnell in Philadelphia, just 50 miles from  Fort Dix.

For Michael Parnell, the move came with at least a couple of advantages. He is assigned to low security, and the North Carolina prison includes BOP’s largest medical complex.  It is known for its oncology and behavioral sciences; The Federal Medical Center serves inmates from all security levels with health issues.

At age 64, Parnell has raised health issues by suggesting he should be the subject of a “compassionate release.” Parnell will be among 958 low-security inmates at Butner.  It houses a total of about 5,000 inmates.

That caused some confusion on the part of Parnell’s appellant attorney, Elliott M Harding of Charlottesville, VA, who was not sure where his client was. He sought the Court’s understanding and time extension.

Harding has filed transcripts from the District Court proceedings and its list of interested parties for the appeal.  

In His Habeas Corpus petition, Stwart Parnell has already won appealability grounds and filed his appellate brief. And  Stewart Parnell has not been moved from his place of incarceration in West Virginia.

The Parnell brothers were convicted by an Albany, GA, jury in 2014 for multiple felony counts associated with the multistate salmonella outbreak.

After jury conviction, they were sentenced to federal imprisonment — 28 years for Stewart and 20 years for Michael. Their convictions and sentences were upheld by the 11th Circuit in 2018.

Both federal inmates were eligible to file federal Herbs Corpus petition 2255 Motions in 2019. Hearings were held before the federal Magistrate judge for the Middle District of Georgia, but rulings went against the brothers at the District Court.

The 11th Circuit allowed Stewart Parnell to proceed with appealability on two issues: jury prejudice and ineffective assistance.

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