RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court refuses to give Don Blankenship a full re-hearing of his appeal.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 24 denied a request by the former Massey Energy with a three-sentence order.
“The petition for rehearing en banc was circulated to the full court," said the order signed by Court Clerk Patricia S. Connor. "No judge requested a poll under Fed. R. App. P. 35. The court denies the petition for rehearing en banc.”
On Feb. 10, Blankenship’s attorneys sought to vacate a Jan. 19 ruling by a panel of judges last that affirmed his misdemeanor sentencing in U.S. District Court. Blankenship wanted all the judges of the Fourth Circuit to hear the appeal anew.
The three-judge panel in January said the district court had "committed no reversible error.”
Blankenship’s legal team claims the three-judge panel of Senior Judge Andre M. Davis, Judge James A. Wynn Jr. and Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory wrongly approved a meaning of “willful disregard" at odds with precedent that a defendant would know his conduct was unlawful. They also say the judges were wrong to not conclude that Chris Blanchard, who ran the Upper Big Branch mine, should have been made available for re-cross examination.
Blankenship, who was sentenced to a year in prison on a misdemeanor conspiracy charge for the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners, reported to Taft Federal Prison in California on May 12, 2016.
A federal jury convicted Blankenship of the one misdemeanor count, while acquitting him on felony charges of securities fraud and making false statements. He is scheduled for release on May 10.