Thursday, May 31, 2007

WAINWRIGHT: What's going on?

Some seemingly conflicting details have been written lately.

For example:

May 26: Hattiesburg American notes that:
"Wainwright was charged with the felony, punishable by five to 20 years' incarceration, at an initial court appearance April 20."
That sounds like an arraignment (which news stories tended to refer to as "a preliminary hearing") to me, which would mean that the 270 days rule mentioned here (from May 27), has already kicked in:
"Under state law, a defendant must be tried within 270 days of his arraignment. If not, a defendant is entitled to a dismissal of the charges."
However, a story from WLBT in Jackson on May 27 notes that there is "no hurry" to indict Wainwright.

Arraignment & Indictment already happened?

If Wainwright has already been charged with posting threats on the Internet (the law under which he was charged is quite vague and perhaps purposely so: "Posting of Messages through Electronic Media for Purpose of Causing Injury to Any Person"), isn't that an "arraignment?" And according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (quoted in Wikipedia):
"...arraignment shall...[consist of an] open...reading [of] the the defendant...and calling on him to plead thereto. He shall be given a copy of the indictment...before he is called upon to plead."
It seems to me then that Wainwright has already been indicted on April 20, despite claims of the DA to the contrary (HA, May 26--"Weathers said the law doesn't require investigators to move at a particular speed. 'The time factor kicks in after someone is indicted,' he said."). If that is the case, then the 270 days should be ticking, and 41 have passed since April 20.

Another discrepancy

Another discrepancy between some stories is where Wainwright was arrested. The Hattiesburg American originally said he was arrested at a gas station, but the AP says he was arrested at his home.

One thing on which everyone agrees

All of the stories note that Bob Hopkins, head of UPD, still won't say what Wainwright's "threats" actually said and that nothing that is currently available to the public appears to justify Wainwright's arrest and incarceration, which will have lasted two months this coming Wednesday.

It seems as though the DA wants the public to believe that they intend to let Wainwright rot in jail, even though time actually seems to be ticking for them to bring the matter to trial. By my estimate, they've got a little over 7 1/2 months to put up or shut up.

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