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Child Sex Offender Donnie Fetters Pled Guilty Now Accepted With Control Not Sentencing Date

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Video

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 25 – A man who flew from Iowa to New York City after negotiating to have sex with a seven year old girl and a nine year old boy was on May 10, 2019 allowed to go free on bond by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang. The proceeding went until 8 pm with Inner City Press the only media in attendance.

  In March 2021 - twenty two months later - Fetters is still free and getting his case adjourned without much transparency: "ORDER as to Donnie Fetters. The conference shall be scheduled for Friday June 4, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. All parties to this action consent to an exclusion of time from the Speedy Trial Act until June 4, 2021 ( Pretrial Conference set for 6/4/2021 at 11:30 AM before Judge Victor Marrero.)" 

On July 20 - twenty six months now - the US Attorney's Office has written to Judge Marrero asking for another adjournment of 30 days of the conference scheduled for July 23, "the parties are currently engaged in discussions regarding a pretrial disposition."

On July 21, Judge Marrero issued an order: "ORDER as to Donnie Fetters: Counsel for the Government, with the consent of counsel for Defendant (see Dkt. No. 41), requests that the status conference currently scheduled for July 23, 2021 be rescheduled. The conference shall be scheduled for Friday August 20, 2021 at 1:00 p.m."

On August 16, another letter, seeking another 30 days: "The parties have made great progress in their efforts to resolve this case and we anticipate a disposition before the ened of the month. If we do not reach a disposition by then, the parties will be prepared to set a trial schedule on the adjourned date."

 On August 17, more than 30 days were granted: "ORDER as to Donnie Fetters: Counsel for the Defendant, with the consent of counsel for the Government (see Dkt. No. 43), requests that the status conference currently scheduled for August 20, 2021 be rescheduled. The conference shall be scheduled for Friday October 1, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. All parties to this action consent to an exclusion of time from the Speedy Trial Act until October 1, 2021. It is hereby ordered that time until October 1, 2021 shall be excluded from speedy trial calculations. This exclusion is designed to guarantee effectiveness of counsel and prevent any possible miscarriage of justice. The value of this exclusion outweighs the best interests of the Defendant and the public to a speedy trial. This order of exclusion of time is made pursuant to 18 U.S.C. งง 3161(h)(7)(B)(i) & (iv). SO ORDERED."

On September 9, 2021, the Assistant US Attorney asked Judge Marrero to make a CARES Act finding that Fetters can plead guilty virtually, to SDNY Magistrates Court, date not stated.

And on September 13, Judge Marrero OK-ed it for the Magistrate - which Magistrate, and which date, still not set: "ORDER [45] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Victor Marrero from Ni Qian dated September 9, 2021 re: CARES Act Order. Counsel for the Government, with the consent of counsel for Defendant (see Dkt. No. 45), requests that the Court conduct a plea remotely (via teleconference or videoconference) under Section 15002(b) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act"), which allows for felony plea proceedings to be held remotely only when the district judge "in a particular case finds for specific reasons that the plea or sentencing in that case cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interests of justice. Therefore, the Court authorizes the magistrate court to proceed remotely in this matter. (Signed by Judge Victor Marrero on 9/13/21)."

And now on September 27, just like that, it was done - a virtual guilty plea to Count 1. Bail was continued and rather than a sentencing date, the docket refers to "control date" of January 3, 2022.

On October 25, Judge Marrero formally accepted the plea: " WHEREAS, with the defendant’s consent, his guilty plea allocution was made before a United States Magistrate Judge on 6HSWHPEHU 2021; WHEREAS, a transcript of the allocution was made and thereafter was transmitted to the District Court; and WHEREAS, upon review of that transcript, this Court has determined that the defendant entered the guilty plea knowingly and voluntarily and that there was a factual basis for the guilty plea; IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the defendant’s guilty plea is accepted." We'll have more on this.

  The defendant, described by Judge Wang's Deputy as "Donnie Fetters, 19-MAG-4559," sat for an hour shackled in a Carhartt shirt. His Federal Defenders lawyer Julia Gatto emphasized that he is a crane operator and farmer of hogs. After a long break Judge Wang said he can return to the farm, with his travel paid for by the taxpayers, as long as he uses a flip phone and stays away from Starbucks. It turns out, however, that the GPS monitor she ordered may not be available in the Southern District of Iowa.

  Troublingly, there appeared to be an attempt to keep parts of the proceeding non-public, to avoid coverage by the Press. With Inner City Press the only media in the SDNY Magistrates Court, Judge Wang sought to have the Pre Trial Services oral report outside of the courtroom. But the defendant had a right to be present. So it was held, in whispers, at the defendant's table. Inner City Press heard much of it but is not reporting at this time.

  Publicly it was said that the defendant told an undercover agent that he has already had sex with an eight year old girl, who contacted him recently, now thirteen years old. He lives alone, making any monitoring of him by "unannounced" PTS visits dubious at best. Then it emerged that there may not even be GPS capability in the Southern District of Iowa.

  Now on May 31 we can report: not only was Donnie Fetters freed and flown at taxpayer expense back to the Southern District of Iowa - now he is permitted to travel to the Northern District of Iowa as well. He has been indicted, and the case now assigned to SDNY District Judge Victor Marrero. We'll have more on this - for now there's more here on Patreon.

The case is US v. Fetters,19-cr-387 (Marrero).


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