Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Sidney Scales Got 27 Years After Guilty In Jury Trial Citing Brother Ern Now Bit of Info

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 6 – Defendant Sidney Scales was on trial in the summer of 2021,  resulting in a jury verdict of guilty on five counts. He was charged on seven counts. His former co-defendant Ernest Horge back on February 27, 2020 said in open court that it is unfair he is in the same case as Scales, charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

On February 17, 2022, Scales was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role as the leader of a violent drug distribution organization that operated in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx, including his use of guns and participation in a murder-for-hire conspiracy in June 2017.  SCLAES was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, after being convicted at trial in August 2021 of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, conspiring to commit murder for hire, and related firearms offenses."

On March 7, this: "MEMORANDUM ORDER as to Sydney Scales re: [249]For the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby denies Scales's motions under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 29 and 33 for judgment of acquittal or, in the alternative, for a new trial. The Clerk is directed to close the entry at docket number 249. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 3/7/22)."

On October 31, 2023, a longer order and update: "ORDER as to Sydney Scales: On October 27, 2023, the Court received a letter from defendant Sydney Scales that was titled "Pro Se Motion for Modification of Protective Order." In aid of his pending appeal before the Second Circuit, Scales seeks access to materials that are covered by the protective order the Court issued in advance of his trial. See ECF No. 15. In a letter response submitted on October 30, 2023, the Government points out that Scales's appeal has already been fully briefed by appointed appellate counsel, and argues that "[a] defendant has no right to 'hybrid' representation in which he is represented by counsel but supplements his lawyer's work with selected prose submissions." United States v. Hage, 74 F.4th 90, 93 (2d Cir. 2023). Although the Government is correct that a criminal defendant has no right to such "hybrid" representation, Scales's appellate counsel has not entered an appearance in Scales's case before this Court, where Scales filed the motion. Even construing Scales's submission as a legitimately prose motion, however, the motion is unconvincing. Scales provides no reason to believe that modifying the protective order, which remains necessary to safeguard sensitive information about cooperating witnesses and victims, would support his ability to raise any non-frivolous legal claim on appeal. Indeed, because briefing of his appeal is already complete, any addition by Scales would be an untimely prose supplement to a counseled brief, which is plainly impermissible. See Hage, 74 F.4th at 93-96. The Court thus denies Scales' s motion. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 37 (a) (2) ("If a timely motion is made for relief that the court lacks authority to grant because of an appeal that has been docketed and is pending, the court may deny the motion."). (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 10/31/2023)."

On November 11, 2020, Veterans Day, the US Attorney's Office announced a superseding indictment that formally charges Scales with murder, and keeps Horge linked to him: "In the Superseding Indictment, SCALES is charged with causing another person to shoot at rival drug dealers on June 9, 2017, in the vicinity of 1135 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, New York, causing the death of Joshua Lopez.  SCALES and HORGE are also charged in the Superseding Indictment with engaging in multiple specific drug sales between November 2018 and February 2019, in addition to the narcotics conspiracy charged in the initial indictment." The case was reassigned to Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

 Now: "SYDNEY SCALES, a/k/a “Moe Black,” a/k/a “Sid,” has been found guilty on five counts in a Superseding Indictment, including charges of murder-for-hire conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, a firearms offense, and two counts of distributing crack cocaine."

 Note: the jury found Scales not guilty of murder while engaged in a narcotics conspiracy, and murder through use of a firearm.

  SCALES is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2021... Between in or about 2016 and in or about 2019, SCALES participated in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana in the Bronx and elsewhere.  SCALES also used, carried, and possessed firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, and aided and abetted such firearms offenses.  For example, the Government offered evidence that on December 1, 2016, SCALES caused a shooting at rival drug dealers standing in front of a convenience store located next to the entrance of the West Farms subway station.     In addition, in or about June 2017, SCALES conspired to commit murder for hire, agreeing to compensate another individual in return for locating and killing at least one rival drug dealer." There were seven counts in the superseding indictment.

The process: July 20, Judge Rakoff held a proceeding and ruled on a series of motions in limine. He also endorsed the defense's request that John Doe who had proffered with the government but now cites the Fifth Amendment be deemed unavailable for trial.

 Judge Rakoff told the lawyers to appeal on July 22 at 9 am in Courtroom 24B, with the jury to arrive at 9:45 for opening statements.

On July 22, the defense told the jury that while Scales did sell some crack that they will see, he did not order or commit a murder. Then the evidence began, with a crime scene unit police officer, describing beach chairs and blood on East Tremont Avenue.

On July 23, the prosecution put on the stand a transit police officer who covered the 2 and 5 line, from Intervale Avenue to 180th Street. He described hearing gun shots and coming down, and a chase down 178th Street. A cooperator described going to Hunts Point with a gun to collect money.

  Another cooperator, a woman, acknowledged that in connection with her testimony, the US Attorney's Office paid for her and her child's travel. Judge Rakoff inquired into whether the victim's text messages are hearsay; he asked counsel to answer his questions and not volunteer information.

On July 26, a cooperator testified at length, about losing confidences in Sid, after starting dealing drugs at the age of 10, joining Nine Trey and going to GEO (trajectory of Tekashi #6ix9ine who is already out), then to Putnam. In the beween, Hoffman between 189 and Fordham Road in The Bronx. There were multiple objections, most of them overruled by Judge Rakoff.

On July 27, the defense cross-examined this witness, at length. He was asked about a written history of the gang, and the name of his Instagram account, now and then. Judge Rakoff, during a break, told defense counsel this was straining relevance. But as always he closely considered the proffered exhibits. But might the exhibits, at least those admitted into evidence, be placed on a publicly available platform or be otherwise made available, as ordered in the Weigand trial?

On July 28, the witness (Santiago) was still being cross examined, culminating in the defense getting admitted, over the government's objection, a recorded jail call of him saying he'd need a gun when he got out. There followed some re-direct, showing that Santiago was nonetheless sometimes broke, and helped out by a former girlfriend's mother who would bring groceries to Hoffman Avenue in The Bronx when she got off work at JFK.

On July 29, the prosecution apologized for errors in the binders and was told that coming up with a new chart of phone calls and introducing it without enough notice to the defense is not the way to proceed. There's also this: ORDER as to Sydney Scales: The C.J.A. attorney assigned to receive cases on this day, Bennett Epstein, is hereby ordered to assume representation of the witness Antanaron Demery in the above captioned matter. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff). Watch this site.

On Friday July 30 the defense on cross-examination asked the witness about lapses in memory, after all this time, and about how he was recruited as a cooperator. Then the defense asked for the weekend to make a written submission.

On Monday August 2, yet another cooperator was cross examined about how much time he spent with Sidney Scales, and how much with "Ern." The AUSA objected. The day ended with the charging conference, broken up by two unrelated bond hearings by Judge Rakoff, which Inner City Press also covered, here.

  On the morning of August 3, the US questioned a witness who used Google Earth and StreetView to describe the cell phone towers of West Farms, then captured calling patterns.

On August 4, the government described Scales using an innocent women to drive his shooters to Kingsbrige from West Farms via the Cross Bronx, and said he is responsible for the death of Joshua Lopez [DN, News12]. The defense said Jose Santiago framed him. Next, the instructions of law - then the verdict of guilty on five counts.

Jump cut to June 6, 2024 - Scales' lawyer told him there is new information but she couldn't show him, attorneys-eyes only. So Judge Rakoff rules: "ORDER as to Sydney Scales: to balance Scales's interest in learning information about his case with the Government's interest in protecting witnesses, the Court adopts the Government's suggestion of a more limited disclosure of information to Scales, as follows: ~A trial witness testified about a third party ('Individual-1') being present during a particular event involving Scales and a firearm. When interviewed in January 2024, Individual-1 informed the Government that Individual-1 had no recollection of such an event or of ever seeing Scales possess a firearm. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 6/6/2024."

The case is US v. Scales, 19-cr-96 (Rakoff). 


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.


Feedback: Editorial [at]
SDNY Press Room 480, front cubicle
500 Pearl Street, NY NY 10007 USA

Mail: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2020 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for