JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former congresswoman Corrine Brown is now asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow her to remain free on bond while she appeals her conviction on 18 federal charges of mail, wire and tax fraud.
Brown’s appeal focuses on the judge’s decision to remove a juror during the deliberations process, because the juror stated he had been guided by the “Holy Spirit.” Following her conviction, her attorney filed a motion for a new trial based on the same decision, and that motion was denied.
Brown’s new appellate attorney, William Mallory Kent, filed a 32-page motion Dec. 29, which seeks to prevent Brown from having to report to federal prison on Jan. 29, instead allowing her to remain free while her appeals are exhausted.
Brown had previously asked Judge Timothy Corrigan to grant bond during the appeals process, but that motion was denied last week. In that ruling, Corrigan agreed that Brown was neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. But the judge denied bond because the matter of the juror’s removal was not a “substantial question” that could result in Brown’s conviction being overturned.
Prosecutors used that same reasoning in a motion filed Jan. 8 arguing in opposition to Brown's motion.
In Brown's new motion, Kent claims that the matter is a “substantial question,” and argues that the juror’s mental process is not an external influence that’s prohibited during deliberations:
“To make a finding - which the District Court dressed up as a fact finding - that the Holy Spirt (sic) was an “outside source” was wrong in both law and theology. Wrong in law because as noted above, the external influences that the Supreme Court has barred from jury deliberations, finding them presumptively prejudicial to the defendant, are actual, real, physical phenomena of this material world - bribery or similar obstructive conduct or contact - and wrong as a matter of theology as well. Anyone familiar with the Bible would know that the Holy Spirit is an indwelling spirit, not an external force.”
The motion also includes transcripts of the court hearings that led to the juror’s dismissal, as well as biblical references in the footnotes.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will now have to rule on the motion for bond. The formal appeal of the conviction and sentence has not yet been filed.
It’s not yet clear which federal prison facility Brown would have to report to on Jan. 29, if her motion for bond is denied. However, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has already assigned her a federal inmate number, 67315-018.