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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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12/6/2011 9:59:00 PM
Ray to appeal homicide conviction
Mark Duncan
City Editor

PRESCOTT - As their client begins serving a two-year prison sentence, attorneys for James Arthur Ray on Monday filed their intent to appeal his conviction, sentence, restitution and fine.

On Nov. 18, Judge Warren Darrow sentenced Ray, a well-known motivational speaker and author, to three two-year terms, to be served concurrently, over the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman. The three perished from heat-related trauma they suffered while taking part in an October 2009 Ray-led sweat lodge ceremony at a spiritual retreat center near Sedona.

In addition, Darrow ordered Ray to pay $57,514 in restitution to the families of the victims and a fine of $20,000 plus an 84 percent surcharge, totaling $36,800.

During his pre-sentence hearing, Ray expressly agreed to the restitution amount. When it was later determined that the law allows for settlements from civil suits to offset restitution, Darrow ordered that any amount Ray pays toward the fine be directed to the victims.

Ray's insurers have paid about $3 million to the families of Brown, Shore and Neuman.

The notice of appeal, filed in Superior Court, does not refer to specific issues of law Ray's attorneys will raise with the actual filing at the Court of Appeals. During Ray's four-month trial in Camp Verde, the defense made at least five motions for mistrial based on issues that included the admissibility of evidence, disclosure violations and prosecutorial misconduct. Darrow denied each mistrial motion as well as a motion for a new trial the defense filed shortly after Ray's June conviction.

Now, the state has 20 days to file a notice of cross-appeal, an action that Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has indicated she intends to take.

"There were several rulings against the state that I disagreed with and look forward to raising on appeal," she said.

Ray's attorneys did not immediately return calls and emails asking for insight into the nature of the issues they plan to raise.

The appeals process is a lengthy one, with cases often waiting six months or longer for review by the court. The court will only review contested legal issues and not the facts of the case. The three-judge panel will sometimes ask for oral arguments on the issues.

After review, the appeals court can uphold the conviction and sentence or set aside the judgment and order Ray's release. It can also order a complete re-trial or a re-hearing of parts of the case.

Statutes call for Ray to serve at least 85 percent of his two-year term, minus the 24 days he spent in Yavapai County Jail after his indictment and arrest in February 2010.

According to corrections department records, he now resides at the Lewis prison complex south of Buckeye. His sentence is set to expire in October 2013 but his earliest possible release date to community supervision is listed as April 2013.

The earlier date is the result of 2010 efforts by the Legislature and the department to alleviate prison overcrowding and budget shortfalls through the early release of non-dangerous offenders.

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• James Arthur Ray will serve 2 years in prison for sweat lodge deaths

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Article comment by: Jake Sun

You people are so blind. You would put Mr Ray down for being out for the money. Well, what were those SUPPOSEDLY honorable "warriors" out for when they broke their written promises and took James Arthur Ray for every penny they could get? Weren't they OUT FOR THE MONEY???

The families of those three broke the promises they made to take full responsibility for their actions in order to take Mr Ray for every penny they could get. If they weren't OUT FOR THE MONEY then I don't know who is!

You dishonorable people just don't have a clue what it means to be truly honorable!!

You should be ashamed of yourselves, but you cannot understand why you should? You dishonorable people of Sodom and Gomorrah for whom promises mean nothing!

Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011
Article comment by: John B

@ Citi Zen: An excellent post and very well written. I would only say though, that sometimes one does need some guidance and help in their journey of creating a better life. I had an extremely bad year this past year and if it wasnít for the help and guidance of my best pal I donít know if I would even be here today. After supporting me during the rough spots he helped me see things more clearly and helped me grow both as a person and a man. He provided me with the road map and pointed me towards the right path in trying to improve myself spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally the rest was up to me. Of course I had to walk that road myself, he could not do it for me, but he was there, and still is there, to gently nudge me or sometimes give me a swift kick back in the right direction, if I stay off that highway. My buddy did help me find satisfaction with my existence and helped me to realize my full potential. The difference between him and James Ray is that he did it because he cares about me as a friend and didnít want to see me heading where I was, nor did he charge me a cent. (OK a couple beers now and then but thatís different.) James Ray does not care about his client ďfriendsĒ he is only in it for the money. One does not need to pay a false prophet or plastic guru tens of thousands of dollars to find the path for happiness and self improvement, talk to a family member, a priest, minister, rabbi or imam or talk to a friend. Hey, it works, I know. Thanks Pal!

Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011
Article comment by: To Bob

Per above "attorneys for James Arthur Ray on Monday filed their intent to appeal his conviction, sentence, restitution and fine." Ray most certainly is appealing the conviction (as well as everything else) and I do not understand why you think otherwise. I actually hope Ray is successful at getting the court to overturn the verdict and remand the case back to YC for a new trial where Ray can be convicted of higher charges and sentenced to much more time. Meanwhile, it appears that Ray owes his attorneys over $5 million per the latest court website information but can't pay (I guess they got scammed, too).

Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011
Article comment by: bob grant

Hes appealing the sentence not the Conviction give him at least 10 years for each!!!

Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011
Article comment by: Citi Zen

I feel very sorry for people who are educated, well-off financially and accomplished in their careers, who would fall prey to a guy like this. Despite all that they have, they still feel the need to "find themselves" through this type of activity. How sad. But be that as it may, they certainly don't deserve to be harmed in the process. I just hope this stands as a very clear lesson to everyone. Such claims of being able to help you find your "true self" or to help you find ultimate satisfaction with your existence are just a FRAUD. "Finding" one's self and realizing their full potential as a human being comes from handling the daily efforts of life. If that comes easy to you, then your task is to help as many other people as you can. Paying a guy 15 grand to go and let him torture you for a few days is getting way off track.

Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011
Article comment by: To Rock Stone

You dishonorable just don't have a clue that truly honorable Spiritual Warriors keep their promises whether they sign liability waivers of not. The dishonorable just can't understand what it means to keep your promises without having to sign a document!

Posted: Saturday, December 24, 2011
Article comment by: Rock Stone

The irrationally deluded fans of James Ray just can't understand that civil liability waivers are not sacred treaties and when a person issuing such a waiver causes injury or death due to their negligence this voids the waiver. Nor can they understand the deceased are incapable of breaking promises and that calling those who have passed on and their grieving families dishonorable is the ultimate in being dishonorable. Of course being dishonorable themselves the fans of JAR will not understand this and only the sane and rational will agree with me.

Posted: Saturday, December 24, 2011
Article comment by: Its Not Double Jeopardy

If the appeals court sets aside the verdict and remands the case back to the trial court for retrial, double jeopardy does not apply. It means that the first trial was rescinded due to judicial mistake. It is like a mistrial, you start over. It amazes me that Ray would risk this result happening since he could easily be found guilty of the original manslaughter charges rather than the lesser charges and sentenced to a lot more than two years time. But I think if it happens, it would be good thing for someone who can't seem to admit his serious mistakes.

Posted: Saturday, December 24, 2011
Article comment by: Sam Stone

The dishonorable just can't understand that when the honorable make a promise they keep it whether they sign a document or not. It's a matter of honor and the families of those three who died obviously have no honor. Why, if those three would have broken their promises to make money they would be dishonorable people, period!

Posted: Thursday, December 08, 2011
Article comment by: Happy in PV

Is Mr. Ray related to Lindsay Lohan? Some folks just don't get it till they have a little "time out" to think about it. Two years is not enough thinking time for this man.

Posted: Thursday, December 08, 2011
Article comment by: Who are the Dishonorable?

Hey Lee Kuan, or I see its Frank Barone today, you keep going on and on about people not being honorable because they are not taking responsibility for their actions as they promised to do in signing the (((CIVIL LIABILITY))) waiver. Who exactly is it who is not being honorable, you have yet to tell us that? The three victims of James Ray who perished? It seems that is who you mean so please explain how three people who died are capable of not being honorable.

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: Frank Barone

Hey, if I promise to take full responsibility for my actions at an event that is what I do and I don't need to sign an agreement to do it. Of course, only truly honorable people will agree with me. Since most are dishonorable this will make no sense to most. The dishonorable are always looking for legal trickery around their promises. It the way the dishonorable operate and most, apparently, are dishonorable in American society.

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: Double jeopardy

Double jeopardy prevents him from being retried on the original charges.

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: The Rev

The right to a vigorous criminal defense can really get annoying sometimes.

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: Be Careful What You Wish For... just may get it! While Jimmy Ray probably will get his appeal and release, s new trial under a different judge could prove his total undoing with a manslaughter conviction, a stiffer sentence or both. Remember Jimmy-boy the Law of Attraction works both ways.

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: bob grant

Let him appeal ,then give him more,much more time.Hes a con man no heart .

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: Morgan James Bensenhaver

Mr. Ray, Just shut up and take your medicine like a man and quit whining. Your victims can't appeal the death sentence they received. I hope you never deceive anyone else .... Get a real job when you get out. The secret to "The Secret" is that it's all a bunch of hogwash.

Posted: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Article comment by: jennifer mcdonald

Good luck you should have received more time...

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