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Aug 31, 2017

Franz Parke Suggested for Court of Appeal Justice; Fitness Questioned

Franz Parke, a Jamaican-American attorney, is being nominated for appointment to the Court of Appeal of Belize for a term of five years beginning with the October session. He was previously appointed to the court in 2015 alongside Justice Murrio Ducille, but it was not clear if he ever took office. However, despite an extensive curriculum vitae of work in Jamaica and the U.S., including work on both the prosecution and defense side of criminal justice, there are questions about his appointment. A news story out of Miami, dating back to 2000, reports that as a senior prosecutor in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, Parke was sent on administrative leave pending the result of a joint state and federal investigation.  No details were given and officials at the time made clear that Parke was not arrested. Parke left the office for private practice in 2002; however, he was appointed assistant regional counsel for criminal defense in Dade County in 2008. The Court of Appeal is headed by a Belizean, Manuel Sosa, but a majority of its members are non-Belizeans.

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