U. S. Court of Appeals rejects Klansman’s challenge

This past Friday, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected a challenge of the conviction of white supremacist James Ford Seale.

Seale was a reputed member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi in the 1960’s and was allegedly involved in at least one violent incident where two men were murdered in Warren County, Mississippi.

Seale was convicted in Mississippi in 2007 and sentenced to three life terms in federal prison. The jury was able to determine that Seale and other Klansmen conspired to abduct, interrogate, beat, and murder Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charlie Eddie Moore, both of whom were only nineteen at the time. Seale’s convictions were appealed and he argued that a 1972 amendment to the federal kidnapping statute changed the statute of limitations to only five years.

In September of 2008, a three judge panel agreed with Seale, overturning his convictions. The U. S. successfully urged the full court to rehear this case and to keep Seale imprisoned. This past Friday, a divided court upheld the trial court’s decision to deny Seale’s motion to dismiss the indictment based upon the statute of limitations. The appeal will return to the original three judge panel for resolution of the remaining issues.

Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, was quoted as saying, “We are pleased with today’s decision rejecting the argument that it was too late to bring Seale to justice.” Based on the evidence presented at trial, the jury concluded that on or about May 2, 1964, Seale and his accomplices did perform the following criminal acts: Abducted Dee and Moore and drove the young men into the Homochitto National Forest in Franklin County, Mississippi Upon arrival in the Homochitto National Forest, Seale and his accomplices beat the victims, interrogated them at gunpoint and bound them with duct tape Seale and his accomplices then drove the victims to Parker’s Landing in Warren County, Mississippi, passing through Louisiana, and secured the men to heavy objects and threw them into the Old Mississippi River, causing them to drown Seale is the first and only defendant to be convicted for participation in the kidnapping and murders of Dee and Moore.

Seale’s conviction is a result of many years of painstaking work and a joint effort between the FBI, the U. S. Attorney’s Office, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Adams’ County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The case was prosecuted by Dunn Lampton, former U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi and Special Litigation Counsel Paige Fitzgerald and Eric Gibson, both of the Civil Rights Division. The appeal as handled by Tovah R. Calderon, an attorney who is also with the Civil Rights Division.

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One Response to “U. S. Court of Appeals rejects Klansman’s challenge”

  1. Noggin Says:

    Time for an update. Vacation can only last for so long.

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