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SDNY Defendant Freed On Condition of Getting COVID Vaccination, Inner City Press Tweeted It

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 16 – A defendant seeking pre-trial release has been granted it on condition she get vaccinated for COVID-19. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl has referred bail review petition of Elouisa Pimental to Judge Jed S. Rakoff as Part 1 SDNY judge for the week. (Judge Koeltl is away).

 Judge Rakoff asks, If she vaccinated?

Federal Defender Ian Marcus Amelkin: No, it's been offered, but no. 

Judge Rakoff: So she welcomes the chance to infect others?

Federal Defender: Many of our clients are skeptical about the vaccine. 

Judge Rakoff: Do I have the power to release her on the condition that she have the COVID 19 vaccine?

FD: (Laughs. Then says) She didn't understand since offered didn't speak Spanish

FD: She is interested in receiving the vaccine. 

Judge Rakoff: If I have the power to release her on condition she stay 24 hours in home confinement, to protect others, how don't I have the power to order her to have the vaccine and thus prevent danger?

FD: I haven't thought about it. Judge Rakoff: That's fair. I appreciate your honesty. We'll see what the government thinks. AUSA: She faces a significant sentence. It's 1.25 kilos of fentanyl. She faces 71 months. Judge Rakoff: The sentencing guidelines are blatantly irrational. AUSA: She has no ties to the US. She came at 18, she is 24. Her 2 kids live in the Dominican Republic

 AUSA: The defendant did contact her supplier before turning herself in. She said she wanted to become a police officer. We don't credit that. And we think she was not aware of the consequence - now, I think, she i more likely to flee.

Judge Rakoff: The defendant has raised her hand. Let her talk to her counsel. Federal Defender: She has a work history. She worked at a restaurant in The Bronx for 3 years until the pandemic, and before that as a barmaid, albeit off the books.

Judge Rakoff: Did she notify her supplier? Federal Defender: Yes, because otherwise her family would be a risk. Judge Rakoff: If they thought she might spill the beans, doesn't that increase her risk? FD: Good point. But the package was seized.

 Judge Rakoff: She is not going to be released until she at least receives the first shot - if it's the two shot set, the second must be had within 30 days. $100,000 bond, signed by two financially responsible people at least one of whom is a member of her family. 

Judge Rakoff: Get me the order and if it's in order, I'll sign it. She will not be released today.

FD: On her own signature?

Judge Rakoff: No, all the condition have to be met.  Adjourned.

The case is US v. Pimental, 21-cr-451 (Koeltl / Rakoff)


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