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Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

Brooklyn MDC Hearing Draws Big Crowd to SDNY As Judge Torres Orders 2 BOP Witnesses

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope video

NEW YORK CITY, February 5 – The conditions in the Brooklyn MDC were the subject of a hearing that began at 11 am on February 5 before Judge Analisa Torres of the the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Torres before the hearing ordered "the BOP and the parties to appear on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at 11:00
a.m., for an evidentiary hearing. The BOP shall produce witnesses who can address the issues
raised in defense counsel’s letters. The BOP shall also produce witnesses who can offer an
explanation and timeline with respect to when electrical power will be restored (temporarily and long-term), and how they will provide heat in the interim. The BOP is directed to produce June Bencebi and Anthony Sanon to testify. The defense may call witnesses who can testify as to the conditions at MDC." Inside the Daniel Patrick Moynahan Federal Courthouse entrance, the security line snaked around, longer then usual. Periscope video here. It made it difficult for Inner City Press to get in and still exit, retrieve electronics and report. There were hardly any attendees, and no journalists other than Inner City Press, last week when
a Bronx man who pled guilty to conspiracy leading to the burning down of a convenience store in the Bronx on 11 September 2016 was sentenced to 28 months in prison on February 1 by Judge William H. Pauley III in the SDNY.

  Arson and The Bronx were for a time synonymous, though few of the perpetrators were caught much less sentenced. Times have changed. Present at Friday afternoon's sentencing on the 20th floor of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse were only the defendant Richard Sanchez and his lawyer, a lone prosecutor, three family members and Inner City Press. Yet the tale was heartbreaking, in its way.

  Sanchez' lawyer Patrick Brackley recounted that he had prior run-ins with the law, citing an incident with a dirt bike. But, he said, Sanchez had used his time out free on bail to re-build his life. Sanchez himself read what he called an open letter to Judge Pawley, speaking about his ten year old daughter, a business he was starting and his brand.

   Judge Pauley said he took note of these but found it inexplicable that someone would, for $500, agree to find people to burn down a store in their own neighborhood. Sanchez was contracted by the owner of one deli to burn down a nearly-open competitor; both stores were across the street from where Sanchez lived. Judge Pauley told Sanchez he was lucky no one had been injured or killed, alluding to the felony murder rule which would have held Sanchez liable.

   While the prosecution via Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam S. Hobson sought a sentence of from 46 to 57 months, Pauley imposed 28 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, at a prison as near to New York City as possible.

   Restitution of $50,000 was ordered, and the same standard $100 mandatory special assessment that SDNY Judge Edgar Ramos had imposed the day before on former NYPD Lieutenant Paul Dean for his admitted role in gun permits for cash scam (see Inner City Press' story here).

  That sentencing drew a gaggle; that of Richard Sanchez for his role in the arson of a store in the Bronx did not. Pauley said to his mostly empty courtroom, The public must understand that people can't be going around burning down stores in their own neighborhood.

The case: United States v. Richard Sanchez, 18 Cr. 26 (WHP)

Upcoming in the SDNY is a just-filed complaint by the Bangladesh Central Bank for the $81 million hacking of its funds, which were then wired through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a case that Inner City Press will cover. Times change. Watch this site.


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