Buju Banton, the Reggae superstar who was arrested in 2009 on drug charges, has suffered another legal setback. Banton was unsuccessful in securing an appeal for retrial for one of the four counts against him after appearing in court this week.
Buju Banton, born Mark Anthony Myrie, was arrested in Florida in December 2009 by Drug Enforcement Administration agents. The 41-year-old Banton was charged by the U.S. Attorney with conspiracy to distribute and possess more the five kilograms of cocaine.
Banton was charged officially with conspiracy to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine; attempt to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine with intent to distribute; possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm during the course of a drug trafficking crime; and aiding and abetting the use of a telephone to commit a drug trafficking crime.
Banton was found guilty of three of the four counts. The count Banton was hoping to appeal was the firearm charge, which had been postponed by his attorney on suspicion of jury misconduct. If the gun charge sticks, it would add a possible additional five years to Banton’s 10-year and one month sentence he received in 2011. Banton also sought retrial for the other two counts against him.
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The court determined the jury foreman in Myrie’s case had previously served on juries for criminal cases, took notes about the case in her car, researched the jury instructions, and informed other jurors about her research.
Myrie went to the federal appeals court in Atlanta to seek retrial on the two other counts of which he was convicted, but a three-judge panel found Wednesday they lack jurisdiction “since the pending charge against Myrie prevents us from hearing his appeal at this point in the proceedings.”
“If we were writing on a clean slate, we would conclude the district court’s order granting in part and denying in part Myrie’s motion for a new trial finally and irreparably affected Myrie’s rights as to Counts 1 and 4 and his convictions on those counts constituted separate cases which were brought to a conclusion by sentencing,” the unsigned order states.
Banton is slated to be freed from prison in 2019 if current charges hold.
Photo: United States Marshal Service