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FOIA Delay By ICE and State About Nepal TPS Termination Challenged By SDNY Judge Woods

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 13 – It seemed like a simple enough request under the US Freedom of Information Act: information about the US Government's move to terminate the Temporary Protected States (TPS) designation for Nepal.

  But a year after the request was submitted, the US Government has yet to produce a single document.

 In an conference before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods on September 13, Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Jude said that the US Department of State hasn't even completed collecting the records. (ICE has finished collecting, but has yet to review).

  Judge Woods indicated that he was ready to order a schedule of production, but then gave the Government two more weeks to agree to a schedule. The problem is, the next appearance in two weeks will be by telephone, and therefore not accessible to the public. We hope to have more on this. The case is Adhikaar v. US DHS, CIS and Department of State, 19-cv-5881 (GHW).

Earlier in the week before Judge Woods: Cone Heads Ltd is a Harlem-based business which hires people with their own rubber no-parking cones to go out and block parking places or provide "flagging services."

   Josyn Chambers worked for Cone Heads and its own Terrence G. Swire from May 2017 to May 2018. He was not paid overtime, and he has made a Federal case out of it, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC 216(b).

  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods on September 11 questioned Cone Heads' lawyer if the company requires its employees to bring their own cones. Yes, was the answer - though if they show up with eight cones instead of the required ten, Swire might make up the difference.

And that might make all the difference, between an employee relationship and one of independent contractor, notwithstanding Cone Heads issuing payments as 1099s and not IRS W2s.

  The case of the Cone Heads appears headed for trial. Inner City Press, the only media in Judge Woods' courtroom on September 11, will aim to be there. Watch this site.

The day prior, before Judge Woods: Freddy McGrier was arrested in Harlem on July 28, 2019 with eleven small baggies of marijuana and Two Shot Derringer firearm. He pled guilty only to the marijuana charge, but on September 10 received a sentence of 24 months in prison. In the courtroom were his mother and brother, and Inner City Press.

Judge Woods, who recently sentence a Rockland County man who delivered deadly heroin to a 28 year old woman to 27 months, called this sentencing a hard one. He told McGrier's two family members he would be counting on them to help when McGrier gets out.

 Defense lawyer George R. Goltzer, whose sentencing submission quoted Clarence Darrow's summation in the Leopold-Loeb murder case, asked that McGrier not be assigned to the MCC. He said the MCC does not have the programs that McGrier will need. He also said that McGrier has no intention to appeal.

  In this case the U.S. Attorney's Office, while referencing the gun as a "Double Deuce" in AUSA Karin Portlock's sentencing letter, offered a plea deal with the gun missing, only the marijuana "with intent to distributed. Twenty four months and a full five years of Supervised Release...

Previously before Judge Woods: for prescribing oxycodone to at least 12 patients who did not exist, nurse practitioner Sharon Washington-Bhamre was sentenced to four months in prison on August 20 by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods. She had signed a plea agreement with a stipulated range of 70 to 87 months, but the government in writing under a sentence below that. It came out to four months.

The government's sentencing submission, by Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth A. Hanft, has a number of redaction, so it is not easy to know the basis of the Office's push for leniency in this case and not others. Her lawyer's submission, with REDACTED PORTION typed in in bold letters, leaves in references to "Big Ken." Has the government identified this Ken?

 Judge Woods said that despite the trauma that was redacted, the Oxy was a serious abuse of trust, and he was not sure that the defendant would not recidivate, even if the felony conviction would make it difficult to do so as a nurse. Self-surrender was set for September 3 at noon.



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