Donville Inniss Sitting Alone in the Dock
Submitted by Caleb Pilgrim
Re Inniss, a reasonable person might acquaint himself with any relevant rules of engagement. Such rules will inevitably vary from jurisdiction (e.g Barbados) to jurisdiction (e.g Florida or New York). But, familiarity with them can be instructive if not edifying. It can even save the inattentive and the unwary aggravation in terms of time, money, emotional anxiety and even personal liberty.
Donville’s case is important, not only because it represents a stunning reversal of fortune, a reckoning for him personally, as well as any possible harm to Barbados and its image abroad.
It is also important to Caribbean politicians as a whole, not just those a previous P.M described as a bunch of “wild boys”, or those who would kill and feast on “the fatted calf”. (Some may recall that the U.S once sought the extradition of a certain Sir. Lynden Pindling – the Bahamas – to face trial In the U.S. Mr. Bouterse’s – Suriname – problems may also come to mind. Others routinely excoriate Dr. Gonsalves – St. Vincent – in this blog).
But, certainly everyone knows that the U.S, despite the fact that it has only 4% to 5% of the world’s population, leads the world in terms of the number of prisoners with some 2.3 million incarcerated (25 %). In Barbadian vernacular this is a sort oBig “Dodds”.
(See -incomplete – List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes – Wikipedia
See also List of American state and local politicians convicted of crimes – Wikipedia
The late Judge John Sirica, a Watergate Judge, was remembered as having said that if a jury had voted to convict President Nixon, he (Sirica) would have sent him to jail. The Reader will therefore understand why President Ford hastily pardoned Nixon.
Even as of the time of this writing, there are at least a few Prosecutors (e.g James, Vance, Racine et al) patiently waiting in plain view to rendezvous with Trump just after high noon come January 20, 2021. He (Trump) is well aware of this fact. Hence all the increased chatter about pardons for his henchmen, political supporters, family and friends, and even pardoning himself).
(See: NY Prosecutor Hires Forensic Accountants as Criminal Investigation Into Trump Organization Escalates
Re Inniss’s prospects, a lawyer once related to me how he had had a case before the Eastern District Court of New York (E.D.N.Y). An elderly West Indian client passed. Her Executor, following certain stereotypes, retained NY counsel to settle the Estate. A problem arose when NY counsel sold a brown stone building and simply forgot to pay the proceeds to the Estate. (As an aside, it is gratifying to read of the new Chief Justice, Cheltenham, cautioning new members of the Bar to refrain from borrowing their clients’ funds). Proceedings ensued thereafter.
The matter came before the E.D.N.Y Chief Judge, the late David Trager, Judge in the Crown Heights case where Lemrick Nelson was accused of murdering a Rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, presumably in retaliation for the murder of a black child, Gavin Cato.
My lawyer friend advised me that his matter only resolved after some intense legal skirmishing and the lawyer was persuaded to disgorge the proceeds. His impression was that the EDNY, at least in his opinion, constituted a hostile work environment.
Thus, Mr. Inniss, metaphorically, finds himself like a man with a glock cocked against his temple, as he sits in anticipation of sentencing scheduled for Jan 23, 2021(?).
Mr. Inniss apparently fired his trial counsel, for whatever reason(s). He may not have agreed with his lawyers. He may now pursue his right to appeal and draw out the process.
However, claims such as “ineffective assistance of counsel” have typically been rejected in the overwhelming majority of cases (1 in 5, according to some sources). Similarly, the Judge’s Jury Charge will most likely have followed standard instructions in similar such cases. It might even be argued that Inniss, the Former International Business Minister, did not have a jury of his peers. Yet, none of these arguments may prevail on appeal. Hopefully, Inniss, Tasker and/or any possible corruptocrat will emerge sadder, wiser and chastened, by experience.
Happy New Year, y’all!y