Tuesday, February 22, 2005

First Circuit Speaks Out on Booker

Finally we have some word from the Frist Circuit on Booker. The Court issued two opinions, United States v. Antonakopoulos, No. 03-1384 (1st Cir. Feb. 22, 2005) and United States v. Sahlin, No. 04-1324 (1st Cir. Feb. 22, 2005).

Thursday, February 10, 2005

PRACDL Seminar on Booker and Crawford on February 24, 2005

The Puerto Rico Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PRACDL) will be holding a one-day seminar on the application of Booker and Crawford on February 24, 2005 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the amphitheater of Inter-American University School of Law.

The guest speakers for the seminar are nationally renowned attorneys:

  • The Honorable Nancy Gertner, U.S. District Judge, District of Massachusetts
  • Peter Goldberger, of Ardmore, Pennsylvania
  • Richard Strafer, Miami, Florida

This seminar is being co-sponsored by the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, and all CJA Panel members who attend will receive CLE accreditation.

Here is the PRACDL Booker & Crawford Seminar flyer. You should confirm attendance either by e-mail or by telephone (both e-mail and telephone listed in flyer).

It is very likely that most Judges will not schedule any criminal matters for this day, so as to allow as many in the defense bar to attend the seminar.

Please do not put your nonsense on the record

As trial continues, we keep getting on friendlier terms. Just a few days ago, at a sidebar, the persecutor wanted the record to somehow reflect that the Judge was not upset at defense counsel making numerous objections as to certain testimony from a snitch that, at best, constituted Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) against just one of the defendants on trial, but which was being presented as to all defendants in this drug conspiracy case.
MR. VAZQUEZ [the AUSA]: The Judge has never been upset with Mr. Lincoln at all.

MR. LINCOLN-SAN-JUAN: Mr. Vazquez, please do not put your nonsense on the record about this or that. I noticed that the Judge was upset. That's my perception.

THE COURT: The Judge is upset because we keep bringing it up again and again interrupting the trial, and the jury is getting upset with all these interruptions that we're having. It's not necessarily good for the jury.

MS. LIZARRIBAR-BUXO: If I may, Your Honor, but we have to, we have to object, Your Honor, to be able to have a fair trial. I mean, the fact that there is evidence coming in that we have had a concern since yesterday for several reasons keep opening up additional concerns on several other points of law, and right now, I am requesting a severance.
Ultimately the entire testimony of the snitch in question was struck, and then it was the prosecutor who was visibly upset.

Today, one police officer testified that he had arrested my client --at least he said my client's name-- but when asked if he saw him in Court, the witness identified another defendant. I have a distinct feeling that tonight every single police officer yet to testify is being shown pictures of all defendants.

Two other police officers were caught with numbers scribbled on their hands to "refresh their recollection" as they testified. Not surprising, since the prosecutor expects the witnesses to testify to evidence envelope numbers relating to seizures conducted more than 3 years ago!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Update on Puerto Rico Electoral Cases & Complaint Against District Judge Domínguez

The First Circuit issued a corrected opinion in Puerto Rico Electoral Cases - Rossello-González v. Calderón-Serra, slip op. No. 04-2610 (1st Cir. Jan. 28, 2005) -of which we earlier posted on here (original opinion) and here (denial of petition for rehearing en banc).

We have also learned that the judicial ethics complaint filed against U.S. District Judge Daniel R. Domínguez has been dismissed, although we have not seen the Order itself. In our initial report on this here we stated:
We have read a report of some sort of judicial complaint filed against Judge Domínguez by a non-party to any of the cases, alleging that he should not be hearing the electoral cases because the son of one of the candidates -former Governor Rossello- was a law clerk for Judge Domínguez. Funny that none of the parties have requested recusal. I wonder if this "concerned" citizen went to Puerta de Tierra and filed a similar complaint regarding Supreme Court Chief Justice Federico Hernández-Denton, for whom the other candidate, Anibal Acevedo-Vila, clerked at one time. I doubt the concerned citizen did any such thing, but I mention it because I am seeing and hearing too many persons who should know better, make cheap attacks against a highly regarded and impartial federal judge. There are good legal arguments on all sides, and we do not need to wreck our institutions for short term political agendas. Shame on that "concerned" citizen for being such a hypocrite!
We might have also wondered whether another Puerto Rico Supreme Court Justice (Fuster) should have also recused himself, since he once ran against Pedro Rossello for Resident Commissioner. I guess the complainant against Judge Domínguez simply did not know of these matters. Sure!