In 2011, Reggae singer Buju Banton was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for cocaine charges.
Banton was convicted by a Tampa, Florida jury of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kg (around 11 pounds) of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense. Banton’s lawyers had argued that the singer was entrapped by a federal informant. The 10-year sentence Banton received is the federal minimum for his drug crime, and an additional five years were added for the gun charge.
Last week, a federal judge threw out Banton’s gun conviction. According to the Associated Press, the turnaround was due to a finding that a juror in the 2011 trial had done independent research during the trial. The jury foreman in the trial had reportedly researched the federal Pinkerton rule, which was used to convict Benton on the gun charge. The judge who struck down the charge stated that the juror should face contempt charges for his actions.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, came to prominence in the 90s for albums such as Mr. Mention and Voice of Jamaica. Banton’s Before the Dawn album won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2011.
(via Associated Press)