Sunday, March 14, 2004

In Dixie Land, I'll make my stand...

A magistrate judge in Alabama ruled in favor of a Montgomery businessman scheduled to stand trial in May on federal drug charges after the government attempted to stop him from posting facts and pictures about informants, prosecutors and law enforcement officials.

Leon Carmichael Sr. won the right to post a Web site giving details about the case and asking witnesses to come to his defense, a judge said Wednesday. Judge Delores R. Boyd rejected the government's contention that the site was retaliatory and upheld Leon's First Amendment rights.

Carmichael, 50, who along with Freddie Williams, 59, (both pled not guilty), is charged with moving 1000 kilos of marijuana and contends he needs to post the information in order to reach witnesses with exculpatory information. The court agreed.

The US Attorneys are reportedly studying their options and have not indicated thus far whether they intend to appeal.

I find this ruling surprising, mainly because it comes out of such a conservative state. I don't know much about 'Bama, but people who do, often tell me not to go there; the implication being that it was no place for a loud mouth liberal like me. I'd like to think this ruling might imply the judge was feeling lenient because it was only a cannabis offense. Then again, I always have been a ridiculous optimist.


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