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Alleged Master Mind Of Robbery of 10 Pounds of Pot By NYPD Latimer Gets 5 Year Sentence

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Thread
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 18 –   Michael Latimer, who as an NYPD Transit Officer stands accused of using his service weapon to rob a 10-pound bag of marijuana in The Bronx on February 6, was presented not in State but Federal SDNY Magistrates Court on February 7. Inner City Press live-tweeted this presentment, hereMore on Patreon here.

  On March 17 two of Latimer's co-defendants were presented in SDNY Magistrates Court, relocated for at least two days due to Coronavirus to the larger Courtroom 24B, for social distancing.

  Co-defendant Keith Lynch was detained on consent. But co-defendant Justin Rivers, the alleged master mind, argued to be released on bond - and was ordered freed, pending a stay to allow the US to appeal to the Part 1 Judge Valerie E.  Caproni.

  On March 18 Messrs Balsamelo and Franz squared off again before Judge Caproni. AUSA Balsamelo said that Franz was now offering more stringent conditions, which Franz denied.

 Judge Caproni said she was not crediting Balsamelo's proffer that Rivers had bought marijuana from the victim in the past, only that the two knew each other. Franz pointed out that the text messages in the case don't know references to a gun, only to ski masks and dark clothing.

  But Judge Captroni noted that it was a dangerous crime, that anyone could have gotten shot. She said home arrest is only as good as the person put under home arrest, and the dangerousness of this crime didn't allow her to get here. She ordered Rivers remanded.

 Franz asked for five minutes in her courtroom with Rivers, since he will not be able to see him in the MCC for the next month. The Marshals agreed, and the meeting began. Inner City Press left and wrote and uploaded this update. 
  While Rivers was described as the leader, who if released could organize another robbery even if under home incarceration, SDNY Magistrate Judge asked as he had the day before in two other cases why it had taken so long to arrest Rivers. The Assistant US Attorney explained that it has been based on obtaining the text messages between Rivers and the alleged perpetrators.

  Rivers' lawyer, with a CJA mentee with him, threw a Hail Mary: wasn't previously detained co-defendant Jamel Jones now out of Bureau of Prisons custody?

  Assistant US Attorney Balsamelo quickly said there would be many reason for that, including transfer out of the MCC to a state facility. Or to a GEO facility? The question was not answered.

Now on June 15, 2021, Judge Preska held the sentencing of Justin Rivera. There was a mandatory minimum of 60 months, and that's what Rivera got, followed by three years of supervised release.

This case is US v. Rivers, 20-cr-202 (Preska).

   Back on February 7, 2020 AUSA Jamie Bagliebter had sought detention for both Latimer, whose parents sat next to Inner City Press in the Magistrates Court gallery, and his ex-con co-defendent Jemel Jones.  

  But Latimer's Federal Defender Christopher Flood argued that Latimer has resigned from the NYPD at 4:30 am and no longer had a gun or posed a danger to the community. Jones' Criminal Justice Act lawyer noted that the seven year mandatory minimum applicable to the firearm does not apply to Jones, who didn't hold it.

   Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York took a recess to discuss the cases with Pre-Trial Services. Inner City Press interviewed some of those in the Magistrates Court.   Judge Netburn returned ordered Jones detained pending trial, because of his past criminal history, while noting his participation in the Exodus Project.

     Judge Netburn ordered conditions of release for now ex-officer Latimer: a $75,000 bond, $5,000 of which is to be secured, urinalysis and home detention. Pre Trial Services will have to visit the home, so Latimer will not be released this weekend.

   According to what was said in the Magistrates Court, Latimer will be in solitary confinement. More on Patreon here. The case is US v. Latimer, 20-mj-1442 (Netburn). 


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