Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen who own the Colorado cantaloupe farm linked to a deadly 2011 Listeria outbreak have reportedly been arrested on six misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce and aiding and abetting. According to court records, they purportedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning process in May 2011 and never used the chlorine spray incorporated into the system. The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that they "were aware that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that people in 28 states consumed the contaminated cantaloupe, 33 died, 147 were hospitalized, and a pregnant women miscarried. The brothers reportedly pleaded not guilty and face a December 2, 2013, trial. If convicted, each could serve one year in prison and be fined up to $250,000 for each charge. See DOJ News Release, September 26, 2013; Fox News, September 27, 2013.
Meanwhile, a federal court has apparently chastised the attorneys who represented the former Postville, Iowa, meatpacking plant CEO who was sentenced in 2010 to 27 years in a federal prison for his conviction of bank, mail and wire fraud, which came to light after a May 2008 immigration raid at the facility. In violation of a local court rule, the attorneys purportedly contacted the jurors who convicted Sholom Rubashkin. A U.S. attorney reportedly filed a motion in the matter after a former juror informed him that a private investigator and Rubashkin’s daughter contacted him at home asking for his assistance in a possible appeal.
According to a news source, Rubashkin’s attorneys told the court that they believed the proscription on jury contact had been lifted after the trial when the court informed the jurors that they could talk to "anyone or no one." U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade reportedly stated that the lawyers were "dead wrong" to think this gave them permission to contact jurors. She also apparently admonished them not to waste her time "with a ridiculous argument." Reade will decide at a later date how she will sanction them. See The Gazette, September 23, 2013.