Early in 2009, legendary reggae performer Buju Banton stood behind a microphone at his Gargamel Studio in Kingston, Jamaica, and belted out what now seems to be a frighteningly prophetic tune: "Innocent." "Jah knows I'm innocent. Jah knows I'm innocent," the track opens, the 39-year-old artist's gravelly sing-song style stretching the last syllable for emphasis. After the brass section kicks in, he wails, "The forces have gathered, for what I don't know, I really don't know." A few months after recording the song, Buju was 600 miles away from his homeland, loafing around his Tamarac duplex in pajamas. Then there was a knock at the door.
Internationally acclaimed Reggae artiste, Buju Banton wants no part of his next scheduled court appearance as he plans to skip his upcoming sentencing hearing. On October 30, Buju Banton faces a sentencing hearing in a Florida courtroom in relation to federal drug and gun charges stemming from his initial 2009 arrest. Buju issued an appeal to overturn his conviction and subsequent 10-year sentence on drug charges earlier this summer but was denied. As a result, a previous gun charge, which was tossed out during his trial in February 2011 was reinstated, thus sparking the possibility that Buju may face another five years in prison. After a request for a new trial fell through, Buju Banton could be facing even more dire straits. Now, the embattled Reggae star hopes to skip his upcoming sentencing hearing after a member of his new legal team, Ihmotep Alkebu-lan intimated that his client formally requesting that he be absent from the hearing.
The legal woes of imprisoned reggae superstar Buju Banton continue to mount after a Florida court on Aug. 7 denied his request for a retrial on his drug conviction, and the possibility that he may face additional charges. Buju, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was sentenced in February 2011 to 10 years in prison after he was convicted on three drug-related charges, including conspiracy to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting a person’s use of a telephone to facilitate a drug crime. In December, Buju’s legal team, led by Florida-based attorney David Oscar Markus, appealed the sentence, citing a potential violation of the Speedy Trial Act, and the questionable nature of renowned government informant, Alexander Johnson, among other grounds for dismissal.
REGGAE star Buju Banton is now being transferred from the Pinellas County Jail in Florida to a correctional facility in Mississippi to begin serving his 10-year sentence. Banton will be taken to the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Mississippi.Defence attorney David Oscar Markus, who represented the embattled artiste, in his drug trial, told the Sunday Observer that United States magistrate James Moody recommended that Banton serve his sentence at a facility in Florida, but a shortage of beds caused him to be transferred to the Mississippi-based prison. “The judge recommended that he serve his time in Florida, but there were no beds in Miami, and the ultimate decision was made by the Bureau of Prisons.