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At the Federal Judges Discretion

Updated on January 2, 2012

Discretion Defined

Discretion is defined as

1: the quality of having or showing discernment or good judgment

2: ability to make responsible decisions

3: individual choice or judgment

A Federal Judges discretion is wide and large encompassing decisions made by taking law, common sense and individual facts into consideration. Prime example Buju Banton’s case. Although pressured by the prosecutors to deny bail the federal judge gets creative to allow bail while seriously weighing both arguments from the defense and prosecutor and trying to achieve fairness for both parties.

To say that Buju, his manager and his attorneys have jumped hoops to get him released would be an understatement. Time and again motions to set bond had been denied by the federal magistrate as the federal prosecutor strongly feels Buju is a flight risk. Two of the co-defendants have already pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing neither of which have implicated Buju. Although at first glance that may look unfavorable when you consider the co-defendant’s inability to pay for their defense and when you take the 99 percent conviction rate of the feds into consideration, it may be a no brainer for some to take a plea deal.

BuJu Banton

Happy and Free for Now
Happy and Free for Now
Buju's Attorney David Marcus and friend  Stephen Marley waiting on Buju's release
Buju's Attorney David Marcus and friend Stephen Marley waiting on Buju's release

Buju Banton a Jamaican raggae artist and four time Grammy nominee has been released this week from federal detention in Tampa, Florida pending his new trial in February 2011 thanks to a Federal Judges discretion. The defendant had been incarcerated for a full year. He has been charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and tried once. The jurors inability to reach a unanimous decision just a couple of months ago resulted in a hung jury or mistrial and hence a new and costly trial begins for both defense and the feds. Prosecutors have adamantly opposed any bail be given.

In view of the hung jury the federal judge magistrate Porcelli allowed Buju to post bond and get released to prepare with his attorneys for the new trial, and spend time with his enormous family for the upcoming holidays. The judge has more than covered himself by imposing rare and even unheard of conditions. The magistrate of course wants to make sure the defendant will not flee the US as he is an international celebrity with family and friends the world over. Limited mobility and the most stringent conditions were placed by the federal judge upon Buju as part of conditions for his release.

The federal judge imposed a $300,000 property bond which was met by his childhood friend Steven Marley (son of Bob Marley) and his wife by putting up their home as security for the bond. Buju Banton also posted a $25,000 federal bond by paying the premium and putting up additional collateral. He is to report and be monitored by federal pretrial and subject to random drug testing, wears an ankle bracelet at all times, has had to install an alarm in his home to keep him indoors and pays a private security company 24 hours a day 7 days a week to monitor him and make sure he is in compliance with all of the judges conditions. His movement is confined to and from his attorneys office, scheduled court hearings, doctor appointments and pharmacy runs for medication. Any other trips need the prior approval of pretrial services. In addition an immigration hold had to be lifted to allow for his release.

Before the Dawn - Buju Banton Newest Release

Buju’s real name is Mark Antony Myrie. He comes from a large family where he is the youngest of 15 sibling and the only male. He himself has numerous children and is most proud of his 9 sons and 6 daughters. He is currently fighting federal charges for conspiracy to possess and distribute 5 kilos of cocaine. He is looking at life in prison if convicted. A man of principles and faith he firmly believes he was entrapped by a confidential informant on the feds payroll. He vows to fight until the end, refusing any type of plea agreement.

Buju Banton first started singing and recording at the age of 15. He is now 37 years old. That makes having been in the music industry more than half his life and touring places like Jamaica, Europe, Africa, and the US. His new album Before the Dawn was recently released in September 2010 while he was still detained behind bars. It contains 10 songs some of which are about incarceration and the struggle with titles like In the Air, Battered & Bruised, Bondage, Struggle Together and Innocent.


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    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago

      Mickey Dee

      Our criminal justice system is certainly not perfect. Until judges start using more common sense instead of just following the letter of the law we stand no chance at getting real justice.

      Funny you should comment on this hub today. Bujus concert happens today at Bayfront in Miami. While still on bond he is working to raise money to pay his legal fees. Thanks for your comment, Mickey. I truly appreciate you and all my readers.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Great post. I know nothing of this man. I do know that our courts are rife with corruption. In North Carolina the state is continually under investigation for mishandling of cases and trials. Great write.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago


      good hearing from you again. I can't complain, I have been blessed in many ways including with my career. I thoroughly enjoy what I do as well as writing about it here in HP. Thanks for checking in on me!

    • profile image

      lyjo 7 years ago

      What an interesting job you must see an awful lot of things pass your way...what great strength of character...this was a very interesting hub, thanks, take great care!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago

      Hey partisan patriot

      Amen to that! In this case though Porcelli is relatively new. He was a federal prosecutor appointed as magistrate judge by district judges when the position became open last year. Magistrate judges sit for 8years and go up for reelection unlike federal judges that basically rule for life. Thanks for the comment.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago


      Thanks for your support. Good to see you around.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago


      I love my job as you can probably tell. Everyday is different and there can be quite a bit of excitement without even mentioning some of the characters I come across. I'm glad you find my hubs entertaining at least someone is reading them! Not all is lost. Anyways I really appreciate your most gracious comment, Soon I'll write about our recent pickup in Yauco, P.R. Take care my friend.

    • profile image

      partisan patriot 7 years ago

      Elections have consequences and this is an example of those consequences. A lot of Federal Judges were appointed during the 90's under William Jefferson Clinton; all Liberal Activists!

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 7 years ago

      Very interesting.

    • jrsearam profile image

      jrsearam 7 years ago from San Juan, PR

      You must love it when the judge gets creative. Since I'm kinda new around these parts I hadn't been able to check out more of your stuff. Now, after spending some time reading about: federal judges and Reggae artists, how to find Skips, tracking good girl strippers that missed their court dates, and one of the most entertaining takes on Dog's woman I have ever heard, I gotta say you should have your own show. Talk about stimulating careers. It's cool to have the opportunity to know someone like you in a field of work such as yours. Your experiences make for very enjoyable reading and your writing enhances the experience. Thank you also for the very practical and useful information, particularly the Skip Tools series. I'll be visiting again real soon...Blessings,JR