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In SDNY Murky Mag Court Misnumbered Murder Case Tracks To Jesus Rivera and Hot Spoon

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 29 – While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are sealed or have case numbers given only later, on August 26 before Magistrate Judge Katherine H. Parker a defendant Jose Alvarez a/k/a Ignatio Alvarez was brought in extradited from the Dominican Republic charged with the 1999 killing of Jose Miguel Mendez, guns and drugs, with the case number twice given as 13-cr-454.

 But that case number is for US v. Raul Lebron for false worker's compensation claims. After three days of asking, Inner City Press on August 29 was informed that the information about Alvarez can be founded under docket number 13-cr-424, thirty case numbers earlier. That case initially named as the killer one Jesus Rivera "and other individuals not named." Later, Alvarez was named, then extradicted - under the wrong index number on the complaint.

We'll have more on that - this is about this cold case, from a press release the US Attorney's office never e-mailed to Inner City Press and which still on August 29 has annexed to it a Complaint with the wrong docket number: "ALVAREZ, along with other individuals, planned to rob and kill Jose Miguel Mendez to obtain money to invest in a drug robbery in Puerto Rico.  On the night of the robbery and murder, ALVAREZ and his co-conspirators ambushed Mendez inside an apartment in the Bronx, where they restrained him with duct tape, burned him, and questioned him.  Ultimately, ALVAREZ and one of his co-conspirators took Mendez to a location in Upper Manhattan, where Mendez was shot in the head, resulting in his death."

Rivera pled guilty in 2015 and in an August 26, 2015 change of plea proceeding before SDNY Magistrate Judge James L. Cott, AUSA Krissoff said that "the coconspirators proceeded to bind Mendez and burn him with a hot spoon in an effort to get Mendez to disclose the location of the drug proceeds or drugs." Rivera himself said he "was aware that the person I was assisting in the robbery possessed a gun, that he later used that gun to murder the person being robbed." That would be murder.

Jesus Rivera was sentenced to 270 months by Judge Kimba M. Woods on January 11, 2016. What might Alvarez get? Is it too late for Rivera to cut a deal to testify? We'll have more on this. Now that we have the right docket number, even if the complaint remains wrong, we will track it.

The 13-cr-454 number was read out twice on August 26 - first when Alvarez pleaded guilty, then after that when Criminal Justice Act lawyer Matthew Kluger was appointed as his counsel. Inner City Press asked in the Mag court - number confirmed - and then elsewhere where it has been directed in the SDNY, still no answer.

There is a copy of the complaint against Alvarez, photo here, with the index number 13-cr-454, which is already taken up with a closlosed case judgment filed October 6, 2014, photo here. How can this happened on a murder case? The case is assigned to Judge Kimba Wood, whom the AUSA said is unavailable until after Labor Day. Inner City Press will have more on this.



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