Is Kruse a “bright line” case in the food safety community?


— Commentary —

The jury is hung. The judge declared suspicious. Prosecutors may attempt a retrial, but it is not required.

you can leave it there. As one famous Texan put it, it may be wise. But what fun would it be?

I’ve been covering America vs. Paul Kruse from the first episode. We also covered in real time his 2015 listeriosis outbreak that led to the case.

So sharing post-action thoughts should be worth the risk. First, publisher Bill Mahler made an important point. Reuters reporter. He said there doesn’t seem to be “a particular rhyme or reason” for prosecutors to charge some food executives with felonies, others with misdemeanors, and others with nothing at all. Stated.

It’s from the nation’s top lawyer for food poisoning victims who’s been in business for 30 years. If he can’t figure it out, can someone in the food industry?

What the Texas trial was not was the “banality of evil.” It was on display at the 2014 jury trial in Albany, Georgia, and put the Parnell brothers away for a long time. They knew peanut products contained deadly pathogens, tested for them, and shipped the product knowing it was positive.

That was not the factual pattern of the government’s case against Paul Kruse, former president of Blue Bell Creameries.

And this might be the perfect place to say that there are intelligent attorneys on both sides of the United States v. Paul Kruse case. Kruse was trying to save his family’s company from the crisis, but he wasn’t trying to poison his customers. The charges were basically money, conspiracy and fraud.

This Texas juror is also worth a word or two. The Western District Court of the Federal Court System has selected a jury for its session on August 1 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

As I watched this progress, I was surprised by two things. One was the number of potential jurors willing to speak privately with judges and lawyers, and the second was the number of people who had an opinion they had to share with everyone.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that this juror hung up after four days of controversy, with two votes in favor of convicting Paul Kruse against ten votes in favor of his acquittal. .

Next to the Texas jury, I think the prosecution’s witnesses were the biggest driver of this miscarriage of justice. If you’ve been waiting for a “Perry Mason” moment from one of them, you’ve probably been disappointed.

The prosecutor’s office did an excellent job rounding up the upset people. This is because Kruse was cracking down on the flow of information early on in the outbreak. They were from institutions such as school districts and retailers such as Walmart.

During the cross-examination of these witnesses, defense attorney Chris Flood asked whether the person’s constituency — a school kid or a retail customer — had fallen ill, or whether Bluebell was completely out of credit or cash refunds. I asked if they were compensated.

In either case, prosecution witnesses would say there was no harm or foul. These responses have had the effect of taking a step back from the economy of intrigue and fraud.

When the government first filed the case in 2020, it failed to go to a grand jury and was dismissed. The government obtained a grand jury indictment within his five-year statute of limitations.

Trials for conspiracy and fraud were held 10 to 2 against the government’s positions. Still, the government has the full right to try Kruse for a second jury trial.

As for the food safety community, there is also a case of “brightline” that we would like to make a standard in the future. Is this?

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