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

For Honduras JOH Trial Pushed Back to Sept 18 As Defense Says Hindered From Witnesses

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 10 – After the president of Honduras' brother Tony Hernandez was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to life plus thirty years, on April 21, 2022 the ex-president himself, Juan Orlando Hernandez, was extradited to the United States.

[Espanol aqui]

  Inner City Press which covered the trials of Tony Hernandez and Giovanny Fuentes Ramirez immediately published the unsealed JOH indictment, which was returned on January 27, 2022 but left under seal.

On October 25, JOH's October 27 proceeding was pushed back, to November 15, 2022 - and when it happened, Inner City Press was there, and live tweeted, thread here and below.

On January 3, 2023, the US asked to delay JOH's April 24 trial to mid-June, or to July or August as the defense requests. His lawyer had not gotten approved to view classified information. From the letter (full letter here) "The parties jointly write with respect to the April 24, 2023 trial date and other upcoming deadlines currently scheduled in this matter. The defense respectfully requests that the Court adjourn the trial to a date in July or August 2023... The Government initiated the process for defense counsel to obtain the requisite clearances to view the classified materials in June 2022 and understands that defense counsel is in the process of submitting necessary forms to obtain his clearances."

But Judge Castel did not approve it, at least not yet, ruling on January 4: "Docket Text: ORDER as to (15-Cr-379-10) Juan Orlando Hernandez. The Court has received the government's letter of January 3, 2023 seeking an adjournment of the April 24, 2023 trial date. The trial remains as scheduled.... (Signed by Judge P. Kevin Castel on 1/4/2023)."

Judge Castel convened a January 10 proceeding, at which JOH's trial was pushed back to September 18 with Tigre Bonilla. Inner City Press covered both, JOH live tweeted thread here:

JOH has been brought in by Marshals, wearing a blue COVID mask. He touches the microphone in front of him and it squawks. He covers it to speak with his lawyer beside him. No sign (yet) of his new lawyer who is authorized under CIPA

 All rise! Judge Castel: Defense? Ray Colon: For Juan Orlando Hernandez Alvarado.

Judge: I have this letter from the government that perplexes me. Is the US asking for an adjournment? Assistant US Attorney Tarlow: We agree with defense that it is appropriate.

Judge Castel: Why is an adjournment appropriate under the Classified Information Procedures Act? AUSA Tarlow: We have been coordinating with parts of the government who say they need more time to submit their declarations. Until March 17. Judge Castel: Then what?

AUSA Tarlow: We expect Section 5 & 6 of CIPA litigation Judge Castel: Why couldn't I hold to the April 24 trial date? Or just a few days past? AUSA Tarlow: The volume of classified litigation. To compress might be too aggressive. We cannot go into it in this forum

AUSA Tarlow: We could submit a letter -- Judge Castel: You could have done that before today. I have plenty of availability. Can I say, come back at 4 pm today? Or 10 am tomorrow? AUSA Tarlow: We could do it tomorrow. Judge Castel: How about today?

Judge Castel: How about a joint trial with Bonilla on September 18?  Ray Colon: We would be moving for severance. Judge Castel: That's usually what happens in conspiracy cases Ray Colon: I haven't seen the CIPA information. That's the seminal issue for us. Judge Castel: You are saying, no date works? Your letter says July or August

Ray Colon: The issue with CIPA is- Judge Castel: But you said July or August. Why doesn't CIPA volume impact that? Ray Colon: We don't know the volume. I go to that jail five days a week, to go over the discovery we have Soon we'll get 3500 material. Then the CIPA

Judge Castel: So you're asking me to vacate the trial date, and not yet another? Ray Colon: Yes Judge Castel: A motion for severance, you could file in the next 30 days, right?  Ray Colon. Yes. This process of vetting classified information, it is very complicated

 Ray Colon: I got in the mail yesterday from Washington, a letter asking me to be finger printed. But I already did it. It came out of left field. The government says they are speaking with other agencies. Is that the DEA? The CIA?

Ray Colon: We didn't consent to the March 17 date. Doesn't this all depend on them? Judge Castel: I'm not in a position to answer that. I haven't had delay problems in other CIPA cases. [Judge Castel was the judge in US v. Virgil Griffith, NorthKorea crypto case

 Judge Castel: I am going to adjourn the trial from April 24 to Sept 18. The schedule is already in the docket. Would it be convenient to file for a severance in next 30 days? Ray Colon: Yes. Judge Castel: US to respond in 21 days. I'll put an order on the docket

Ray Colon: I'm going to write to the government about activity by the Honduran government making it difficult for defense counsel to speak with certain individuals. That creates a problem for an effective defense

Ray Colon: We are going to ask, so that the US State Department make it easier for us. I had a military officer ready to testify, on a 4th Amendment issue, very salient, about an incident that did not occur who was described in Juan Antonio's trial.

 Ray Colon: The Honduras government has been placing obstacles for our defense. What US agency is influencing the relationship - the CIA or the DEA? This person was quite willing to be interviewed by me. But now he's told the family, only with a judge's order

Judge Castel: A Honduran judge? Ray Colon: If you order something, I assume the US State Department would tell the Honduran government. I don't think the present Honduran government would ignore your Honor. AUSA: This is the first we're hearing about this

AUSA Tarlow: We want to put your Honor on notice, we are looking into conflicts of interest with new counsel. We may request a Curcio hearing. Also, we want to exclude Speedy Trial Act time until September 18, to discuss any possible pre-trial resolution

Judge Castel: I grant a continuance to Sept 18, 2023 and exclude Speedy Trial Act time until then. I align the motion deadlines with the Sept 18 trial [of Tigre Bonilla], with final pre-trial conference in July.

OK - the conference is over, and Juan Orlando Hernandez had been taken back into the holding cell by the Marshals. What was Ray Colon trying to say, about being hindered by Honduran government in speaking with witnesses there


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 2006-2023 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]