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In SDNY For Middle Aged Murder For Hire Duo Judge Castel Asks If Death Eligible But No

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 19 – While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are sealed, on June 13 SDNY US Attorney Geoffrey L. Berman announced the arrest and presentment of two middle aged men for murder for hire, and said they had already been presented in the Magistrates Court.

But even an hour later, the case file or docket for 19-cr-395 said "This case is under seal." Inner City Press asked, as to this and other murky Mag Court cases, Why?

 On June 19 Inner City Press went to cover the arraignment of the two men, who each with a CJA lawyer. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel asked, Is this death eligible?

 There was a silence.

 Finally Judge Castel was told, the murder didn't happen. He nodded, adding that there was no "learned counsel" requirement triggered.

 Back on June 13 Inner City Press asked, Why did a second man help the husband, Ramon Ramirez, to try to hire another man to kill the man they though was sleeping with the first man's wife?

   The announcement said, "Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing of a federal indictment charging VANCE COLLINS, a/k/a “Big AK,” 50, and RAMON RAMIREZ, a/k/a “Obendy,” 48, with hiring a hitman to murder an individual believed to be having an affair with RAMIREZ’s wife."

 In the courtroom gallery on June 19, other than Inner City Press, there was only a couple who stood up when the arraignment was over. Assistant US Attorney Allison Nichols asked to exclude time under the Speedy Trial Act and Judge Castel agreed. He told Vance Collins that he had known his CJA lawyer Gerald J. DiChiara for years and asked, Do you have any questions for me?

  No, Your Honor, Vance Collins said. The two men were led back into custody, but not before Ramirez' lawyer Matt Kluger said he might make an application for bail. Judge Castel said to make the application to him, not the Magistrates Court.

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