Friday, May 20, 2011

Appeals Court Panel Denies Kott and Kohring's Requests for Rehearing of Their Appeals


A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the requests of former State Reps. Vic Kohring (R.-Wasilla) and Pete Kott (R.-Eagle River) for rehearing of that panel's decisions to reverse their convictions but allow the federal government to retry them. As Jill Burke explained yesterday in her piece in, attorneys for the two ex-legislators caught up in the Alaska public corruption scandals were "pushing for a chance to have the court rule that prosecutors screwed up so badly that the only way to make things right is to throw the cases out."

The three-judge panel also denied Kott's motion for an evidentiary hearing into the trial prosecutors' handling of discovery.

The vote in both cases on the rehearing and Kott's motion for an was 2-1, with the dissenting vote coming from Circuit Judge Betty Binns Fletcher. In the earlier decision overturning the convictions, Judge Fletcher had been particularly scathing in her criticism of the conduct of the trial prosecutors in the Kott and Kohring cases.

This blogger maintains his view that the question of whether the Department of Justice has the legal power to retry Kott and Kohring is effectively moot, as the federal government would never exercise that power. Putting either of those two men back on trial would open doors the Justice Department is trying to leave closed.

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