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Man Who Assaulted Girlfriend On Cruise Ship Gets Time Served As Federal Defenders Warn Of Deportation

By Matthew Russell Lee, @SDNYLIVE

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 20 -- A man nearly suffocated his girlfriend on a cruise ship and on August 20 got a "Time Served" sentence with no Supervised Release, according to the version of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.   

The man's Federal Defenders, on the other hand, told District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald that the government overcharged their client and that the victim, who changed her initial statement, was largely to blame.  

The reason Supervised Release by the US Probation Department was such a focus of the August 20 sentencing at which Inner City Press was the only media present is that the defendant would be flagged for deportation to the Dominican Republic. Inner City Press files this report, as it does on dozens of SDNY proceedings every week, but is not not including the defendant's name.  

It was surprising to hear the publicly funded Federal Defenders saying the violence was the victim's fault. But maybe less surprising, now that across Pearl Street before SDNY Judge Abrams Federal Defenders are blaming a homeless victim for being stopped on by the Bellevue Shelter sargeant, click here for that.

    The Federal Defenders advocate for their clients, even if it means trashing a homeless man as crazy, or a domestic violation victim as deserving it. This is, perhaps, the law. 

 But what about the facts? Assistant US Attorney Ryan B. Finkel's sentencing letter says Norwegian cruise line "surveillance video shows Victim-1 fall suddenly to the ground outside Witness-12's door due to the apparent result of a push (Gov't Ex. 12, at 00:07)."   

But on PACER, there is no video. Requests to the US Attorney's office for the exhibit, as so far for the exhibits to the now concluded US v. Ernest Murphy trial, have yet to be filled. But does that mean time served is enough? Judge Buchwald thought so. But will that be the end of it? Watch this site. 

 Earlier on August 20 a jury returned guilty verdicts on drugs and gun charges  against Ernest Murphy, one of 15 defendants in a Brooklyn-based narcotics conspiracy case brought by the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY.

   It came after some electronic and laboratory evidence was suppressed by Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan, who rather than re-assigning has kept many of his criminal cases in the SDNY.

  Murphy's two Criminal Justice Act lawyers, Patrick Joyce and Robert Moore, complained to Judge Sullivan on the eve of trial that they had only then been given 16 gigabytes of audio and video recordings and lab tests on crack cocaine.

  Rather than delay the trial, Judge Sullivan ordered much of it suppressed. During the five day trial the government still had a number of NYPD lab technicians testimony, and played wiretaps of cell phone calls and calls from Riker's Island, whose location in The Bronx was cited as a basis for venue in the SDNY.

  In the intercepted calls, there was discussion of cooking, packaging and selling crack cocaine. Several times reference was made to bringing firearms to protect turf. A government slang expert witness said that "Shaquille" jersey meant .32 caliber pistol.

  After the jury got the case, they asked to examine the drugs. Judge Sullivan declined to send the crack and ecstacy pills into the jury room. Instead the juror came out and passed them hand to hand, in evidence bags, in the jury box.

 On the second day of deliberations the jury through the Court Security Officer passed a note that they wanted all audio recordings and transcripts. Judge Sullivan sent them in a thumb drive and three binders, as well as a menu to order lunch.

  But barely an hour later, the jury returned with its guilty verdicts. Judge Sullivan polled them, sent December 6 as the sentencing date - Murphy faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and perhaps more - then joined the jurors for their lunch. The case is US v. Ernest Murphy, 18-cr-373 (Sullivan).

  The US Attorney's Office, which had sent senior AUSA Michael D. Maimin over to try to put out the fire occasioned by the late discovery, must have breathed a sigh of relief. Inner City Press will continue to cover this case - and, we hope, Judge Sullivan's sentencing in another case he kept, US v. Rodriguez (05-cr-221), which the government is asking, under seal, to have sealed. Watch this site.

SDNY 500

  Judge Sullivan several times during the trial pointedly noted that it is an open courtroom, a strength of our system, anyone can just walk in -- except for US v. Rodriguez, apparently, on which Inner City Press will have more, as well as on the differences between the SDNY's and EDNY's boiler plate plea agreement letters. Watch this site - and see also @InnerCityPress and the new @SDNYLIVE.


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