Judge rules Corrine Brown's appeal filing is too long

Appeals brief exceeded 13,000-word limit set by court

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal appeals judge in Atlanta has given attorneys for former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown two weeks to file a new initial brief, appealing her 18 federal convictions, after ruling that her first filing was too long.

The initial appeal brief addressed the issue of a juror who was removed during deliberations after telling others that he had prayed and believed the Holy Spirit had told him Brown was not guilty.  The filing spanned more than 60 pages, containing 16,352 words. The rules of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit state that an initial appeal brief can be no more than 13,000 words, so Brown's attorney, William Kent, filed a motion to exceed the word count, along with the appeal itself.

On Monday afternoon, prosecutors filed their opposition to the motion to exceed word count, arguing the appeal involves only one issue, stemming from a trial that was not long or complex.  Prosecutors said the appeal "presents no extraordinary and compelling reasons for additional words."

DOCUMENTS: Ruling ordering new appeal briefGovernment's opposition to brief's length | Corrine Brown appeal brief | Request to file lengthy appeal

Government attorneys also mentioned that Brown's appeal contains "thousands of words in lengthy quotations from a variety of sources."  In addition to dozens of court cases the appeal referenced, the News4Jax I-TEAM noted it also referenced 11 Bible passages and more than a dozen other writings, including commentaries on the U.S. Constitution, commentaries on the laws of England and a poem by William Brighty Rands.

In a two-sentence order issued Tuesday, Chief Judge Ed Carnes denied Brown's motion to exceed the word count, directing her and her attorneys to file an initial brief that complies with court rules, within 14 days.

Brown, 71, began her five-year sentence Jan. 29 at a minimum security prison camp that is part of the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Central Florida.  She had requested to remain out on bond while she appealed her conviction, but that request was denied by the court.