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SDNY Grand Jury Probe of 2017-20 Had Balde Motion To Dismiss Denied But Ross' Granted

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 28 – On a legal call designed to give defense counsel information about White Plains grand juries in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, live tweeted by Inner City Press, it first emerged that a grand jury "met" in the SDNY in Manhattan, after being in exile to White Plains amid COVID.

 Now on June 28, 2021, after denial of a number of defendants' jury wheel make-up motions to dismiss, Judge Analisa Torres has granted one, without prejudice. Judge Torres notes:

"The Southern District’s demographic makeup is not uniform across the divisions. In the Manhattan Division, the jury-eligible population includes 20.92 percent Black or African American (“Black”) individuals, and 28.06 percent Hispanic or Latino (“Latinx”) individuals. 2 Martin Aff. ¶ 20. In the White Plains Division, however, the jury-eligible population is only 12.45 percent Black and 14.12 percent Latinx... Defendant has produced clear statistical evidence of (1) underrepresentation of Black and Latinx individuals in the pool from which his grand jury was drawn, and (2) a jury selection process that was susceptible to abuse. The Government has failed to meet its burden by coming forward with evidence rebutting the presumption that such underrepresentation was the result of purposeful discrimination. Therefore, Defendant has established a violation of his Fifth Amendment right to a race-neutral jury selection process. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment against him is GRANTED without prejudice to the Government’s seeking the return of a new indictment pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3289."

The case is US v. Scott, 20-cr-332 (Torres)

Here, previously, is the blow by blow, then background on one of the underlying cases, US v. Balde (there is also US v. Schulte, and other cases).

 On August 27, in the lead Balde case, "Defendant did not receive the expected production from the Jury Administrator."

  On May 17, 2021, Judge Failla held a proceeding in Balde, and Inner City Press covered it. It was to read out loud her decision, which was to deny Balde's motion to dismiss back on the use of the White Plains grand jury.

She called it a serious question, but noted for example a decision from the Northern District of New York, that it was OK to move a trial for a crime in Syracuse to less diverse Utica.

She said there is no right to a grand jury in the division of the SDNY a crime in committed in, and that COVID meant these was no prosecutorial gamesmanship. She mentioned Shulte, Tagliaferro and other cases.

Now on June 3, a US v. Balde trial date has been set: "ORDER as to Souleymane Balde: It is hereby ORDERED that the following trial schedule will be in effect as to Defendant Souleymane Balde, subject to courtroom availability: Trial will commence on February 14, 2022, at 9:00 a.m.; The parties respective jury charge requests, proposed voir dire questions, and any motions in limine will be due January 19, 2022; Any opposition papers to motions in limine will be due January 26, 2022; and The final pretrial conference will be scheduled for February 2, 2022, at 3:30 p.m. in Courtroom 618 of the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, NY NY."  Inner City Press will continue to cover the case.

  After an earlier proceeding, this was filed: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Katherine Polk Failla: Telephone Conference as to Souleymane Balde held on 6/30/2020. Defendant Souleymane Balde's presence waived; Attorney Jennifer Willis representing Defendant present. AUSAs Kiersten Fletcher, Mary Christine Slavik and Thomas McKay present. Court reporter Pamela Utter present. Thomas Burnett, Nick Chiuchiolo, Peter Davis, Sid Kamaraju, Lindsey Keenan, Sarah Kushner, Tom McKay, Daniel Nessim, Josiah Pertz, Andrew Rohrbach, Thomas Wright, Annalisa Miron, Ariel Werner, Christopher Flood, David Patton, Robert Baum, Edward Zas, Jonathan Marvinny, Donna Newman, Sabrina Shroff, Bobbi Sternheim, Michael Bachrach, Ken Montgomery, Counsel in the following cases, also present: 20 Cr. 288(LJL), 20 Cr. 293(LJL), 20 Cr. 286(WHP), 17 Cr. 548(PAC), 20 Cr. 301(PKC), 20 Cr. 300(PAC), 20 Cr. 303(RMB), 20 Cr. 294(PKC), 20 Cr. 292(PKC), 20 Cr. 304(AJN). Jury Administrator Linda Thomas and Counsel to the Clerk of Court Robert Rogers present. By 7/14/20, and after consultation with the expert, other defense counsel and the government, Ms. Willis hall file a letter in the Balde case, with defendant's request for records." We will have more on this.

  The case is now US v. Balde, 20-cr-281 (Failla).


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