Anthony Burfoot’s voluminous appeal will cost his family $25,000 – and that’s just to print it out
By Scott Daugherty, The Virginian-Pilot – 10/26/2017
It will cost the family of former Treasurer Anthony Burfoot more than $25,000 to appeal his four public corruption and two perjury convictions.
And that, according to court documents, is just for the physical printing of his paperwork. The cost of transcripts, copying exhibits and his attorney’s legal analysis are all extra.
“It’s a very expensive undertaking,” defense attorney Andrew Sacks said of the five-figure printing bill. “It’s the nature of the business.”
In all, he said, a printing company is producing five copies of a 13-volume “joint appendix” that will include a detailed record of the most important things filed and said in Burfoot’s case, along with five copies of Sack’s opening appellate brief. Each volume must be paginated and bound like paperback books in accordance with the court rules.
“It’s a very specialized job,” Sacks said.
The documents in Burfoot’s case must be filed by Friday with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Burfoot, 50, is serving a six-year sentence handed down in April by U.S. District Judge Henry Morgan Jr.
A jury convicted him in December following a five-week trial, during which he was acquitted on two other perjury charges.
Several developers testified that they bribed Burfoot in exchange for votes and other help while he served on the City Council. Brothers Dwight and Curtis Etheridge said they paid him to support their company, Tivest Development & Construction. Businessmen Ronnie Boone Sr. and Tommy Arney also testified that they had bribed Burfoot to support their ventures.
Prosecutors argued Burfoot took more than $464,000 in bribes, but Burfoot took the stand and denied it all.
Following his client’s conviction, Sacks repeatedly tried and failed to get Morgan to overrule the verdict. Among other things, he argued that the jury reached its decision too quickly and therefore did not follow the court’s instructions to fully consider all the evidence. He also questioned whether Boone was qualified to testify against his client, given that Boone’s defense attorney later told a judge he could be suffering from early onset dementia.
Sacks is expected to make those and other arguments in Burfoot’s appeal.
While defendants often appeal their sentences, most do not have to pay the full cost being shouldered by Burfoot and his family. Many, if not all, of the defendants convicted during the Bank of the Commonwealth trial were unable to afford their appeals. The federal government ultimately appointed them attorneys and, in turn, the government picked up the cost of printing the appendixes and opening briefs.
“A lot of times, people don’t have the resources,” Sacks said. “It’s certainly difficult to put a price on one’s freedom and reputation.”
Attorneys who specialize in appellate cases said the costs associated with printing Burfoot’s appeal seemed reasonable.
“I’ve seen them that high,” said L. Steven Emmert, an appellate lawyer based in Virginia Beach who publishes Virginia Appellate News and Analysis. “Or at least in that range.”
He said there are a half-dozen printers in Richmond that specialize in this type of work. He said you can’t take an appeal to just any copy shop.
“Maybe you could, but Kinko’s really has no expertise in court procedure,” he said.