Warden tells Minor no funeral, hope lays with Holder

Imprisoned former attorney Paul Minor spent the day before his wife’s funeral in a federal prison camp in Florida while his attorneys pressed the U.S. Justice Department to free him long enough to attend the service.

Services for Sylvia Minor are planned Friday in New Orleans, but it wasn’t immediately clear if her husband, one of Mississippi’s most successful civil lawsuit attorneys before being convicted of bribing two judges, would be allowed to attend.

Sylvia Minor, 62, died Monday of brain cancer.

The warden at the federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., denied several requests for a temporary release or “even an escorted visit to the funeral,” according to Minor’s attorney, Hiram Eastland Jr.

Eastland wrote an urgent letter Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to intervene on Paul Minor’s behalf and let him attend the services and comfort his two grown children.

“Paul and Sylvia were married 41 years, and he is a decorated war veteran that loyally served his country in Vietnam,” Eastland wrote. “It is also indisputable that Paul Minor has done a huge amount of good in his life and neither he nor his family deserves this cold hearted, draconian treatment refusing to allow him to be with his family to honor his wife.”

The decision to allow an inmate to attend a family funeral on a furlough or an escorted trip is generally made by the warden of the facility. It is a privilege, not a right, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Web site.

AP, via Miami Herald 4/16/9

Sylvia Minor’s obituary

Sylvia Fleming Minor, 62, beloved wife, mother and daughter, died peacefully on April 13 surrounded by her family.

She is survived by her husband, Paul; two children, Kathryn and Stephen; daughter-in-law-to-be, Reed Weeden; mother, Hortense Fleming Crifasi; sisters, Peggy Fleming and Jane O’Brien; brothers, Dr. Hugh Fleming, Robert Fleming and Paul Fleming; father and mother-in-law, Bill and Gloria Minor.

Sylvia grew up in Alexandria,before graduating from Louisiana State University in 1968. She went on to obtain a Masters Degree in Social Work and Community Health Planning from Tulane University in 1972 and her board certification in 1973.
She and her husband, Paul, were married in December 1968. After moving to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Sylvia and Paul formed the Law Office of Paul S. Minor. She served as the firm’s business manager for 10 years. In addition, Sylvia worked at the Mississippi Marine Resources Council as Coordinator for the Coastal Zone Management Program from 1974 – 1978.

In her community, Sylvia served on the Advisory Board of the Gulf Coast Community Hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi from 1978 – 1983 and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi from 1990 – 1993. From 1992 – 1995, she served on the Mississippi Library Commission and as its Chairperson from 1994-1995. She was a Member of the Board of Directors for the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi from 1998 – 2002 and served as its Vice-President in 2001. All who knew Sylvia knew of her passion for landscape architecture, residential real estate renovation as well as her love for her children and Boston Terriers.

The funeral service will be held at 11am on Friday, April 17, 2009 at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., New Orleans, Louisiana 70124.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either of two organizations:Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center or Hospice of Baton Rouge.