August 5th, 2010
09:58 PM ET

Kosher processer Rubashkin asks for a new judge

From CNN's Talya Minsberg:

Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin’s trial may be becoming nearly as messy as his shuttered meatpacking plant.

Rubashkin’s lawyers claimed Thursday that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda Reade, the judge in the case, met with the law-enforcement team that participated in the May 2008 immigration raid of Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa.

According to Rubashkin’s counsel, Judge Reade had not disclosed this information before presiding over the trials.

“The government’s own memoranda show that more than six months before the raid, Judge Linda Reade began a series of meetings in which she collaborated with the law-enforcement team that prosecuted the case against Sholom Rubashkin,” Nathan Lewin, lead appallete counsel for Rubashkin, said Thursday.

“Without disclosing to defense counsel her meetings with the U.S. attorney and the support she expressed for the raid, she presided at Mr. Rubashkin's trial, and then immediately had him imprisoned, and sentenced him to two years more in prison than the prosecution requested,” Lewin said.

Rubashkin, who is currently in prison, was sentenced to 27 years in prison in June. Prosecutors had sought a 25-year sentence.

Attorneys for Rubashkin filed a motion on Thursday that the case be transferred to another judge. “The jury’s verdict must, on this account, be vacated, as well as Judge Reade’s decision to deny release on bail to Mr. Rubashkin,” Lewin said.

A press release from Rubashkin’s legal team says the government did not initially respond to the counsel’s request for Freedom of Information Act documents in February 2009. Those documents were released to Rubashkin’s lawyers after the trial concluded.

“What can be learned from the redacted memoranda about Judge Reade’s participation in the planning of the raid on Agriprocessors may be only the tip of the iceberg,” Lewin said. “But even this tip is sufficient for an objective observer to doubt the perception of impartiality.”

Neither Reade nor the prosecutors were immediately available for comment.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Food • Judaism • Kosher

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. LARRY

    see this interesing article:

    Amicus Brief Slams Judge For Misconduct, Prejudice


    January 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  2. larry

    "The nation’s most prestigious authority in legal and judicial ethics has issued a scathing indictment of Judge Linda Reade’s conduct in the Rubashkin case.

    "In a written legal opinion addressed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Professor Mark Harrison, one of the key architects of the Code of Judicial Conduct – the country’s standard judicial ethics guidebook – asserts that Judge Reade repeatedly violated the Code’s provisions.

    "Harrison’s affidavit accompanies a new motion, filed this week by Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s lawyers, for a stay of the September 7 deadline for filing an appeal..."

    see full story:

    September 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  3. Different standards for similar businesses

    Ever wonder why Jack DeCoster was allowed to continue business as usual, even after all the run-ins with authorities over the years – concerning the operation of his business – even with the massive fines paid out over the years because of the blatant disregard for the rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of his business?

    While Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of Agriprocessors, was immediately tried and convicted of practically the same charges DeCoster faced at one time or another.

    I'm not saying what either of these men did was excusable, it's just interesting how one person was arrested, tried by a jury of his peers and sentenced, and the other is allowed to continue business without any type of [criminal] charges, seems pretty unfair to me.

    – Jerry Whiteley, Des Moines

    September 1, 2010 at 1:51 am |
  4. Nick

    There is a lot to the case against Mr R. His lawyers once turned down a 7 year deal. Let's have a new trail. Jurly found him guilty once, they will again. Then sentencing – we'll see.

    August 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  5. Asher

    Linda Reade should be the subject of a wholesale judicial review. Her actions in the Rubashkin trial constitute a criminal misuse of power. Her dishonesty and clear lack of objectivity should result in criminal charges. The American people are entitled to an honest and fair judicial system where judges are not immune from the consequences of their own corruption.

    August 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Carl

    This last sentence makes me laugh:
    "Neither Reade nor the prosecutors were immediately available for comment."
    They were always ready to comment during and before the trial....

    August 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  7. Howard

    Judge Linda Reade has enthusiastically SUPPORTED the raid against Sholom Rubashkin Agriprocessors plant, she then presided over the case going against the judicial ethics, the case was suppose to be only about finances yet she allowed evidence that had nothing to do with finance such immigration, when Judge Linda Reade should have recuse herself.

    Linda Reade will be known forever to have engraved a huge disgusting bad stain in the great American Justice system, the courts are suppose to be impartial instead Judge Linda Reade openly supported the raid which made her automatically biased against Sholom Rubashkin, then sentenced Sholom Rubashkin beyond the judicial guidelines of 27 years that is not comparable to the crime.

    There is no doubt that even if Judge Linda Reade was to be impeached and\or disbarred she would always fight to have Sholom Rubashkin sit in Jail for her own personal bias against Sholom Rubashkin and nothing to do with justice.

    August 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.