Lawyers for a reputed Klansman argued Monday that prosecutors are citing an irrelevant civil case in their efforts to reverse his acquittal in the abductions of two black teenagers slain in 1964.
James Ford Seale, 73, was convicted in June 2007 on kidnapping and conspiracy charges related to the abduction of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. He had served just over a year of his three life sentences when his conviction was overturned by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September.
Soon after, federal prosecutors asked that the panel reconsider its ruling or that the full court hear the case. The panel’s ruling said the statute of limitations for kidnapping had expired in the four decades between Seale’s alleged crime and the federal charges.
In a highly technical legal argument, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division claims the panel overlooked an important court precedent and erroneously applied a statute of limitation.