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In #6ix9ine Case Carjacker Harv Ellison Gets 24 Years Amid Letters From MCC Staff

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Thread Scope
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - Vulture

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 4 – Daniel Hernandez a/k/a Tekashi 6ix9ine was sentenced to 24 months of total imprisonment on December 18 in a proceeding live tweeted by Inner City Press before U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

   6ix9ine was ordered released by an Order that at the US' request Judge Engelmayer withheld until 4 pm on April 2, analyzed on Patreon here, 2-minute podcast here.

  On May 8 #6ix9ine released and World Star released GOOBA, here. His proposed $250,000 grant to a child hunger organization was rejected by No Kid Hungry. Then Kooking 4 Kids said it wanted it. #6ix9ine has been doing Instagram Live's from Chicago and elsewhere.

  In a parallel universe Harv Ellison, who some refer to as Tekashi69's car-jacker, was sentenced on November 4 to 24 years in prison. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here:

Ellison's lawyer Cannick: In the Snow Billy incident, Mr. Ellison was called on to rescue Mr. Hernandez [69]. His brushes with the law were non-violent.

Judge Engelmayer: The Hovde incident is unsettling. How do you explain it? He slashed the man from ear to ear. Are you saying other than that and the kidnapping he's not violent? I'm trying to understand.

Cannick: My client loves his family and his community

 AUSA: The letters from staff at the MCC are against policy. Judge Engelmayer: So I'm not supposed to consider them? AUSA: There could be other motivations behind those letters. We have confirmed that letters are from those staff members. [Are they in trouble now?]

Judge Engelmayer: Unless this is some sort of Grisham novel and the letter writers are all corrupt and making it up -- AUSA: I've raised it.

Judge Engelmayer: I'm not sure the MCC should be clamping down on their employees speech.  Ellison: Can I use the bathroom?

Judge Engelmayer: I was thinking of giving a comfort break after you spoke. Or do you want it now? Ellison: Now. Judge Engelmayer: OK we'll take a break.

Ellison is back: "My lawyer mentioned Shotti, #6ix9ine - I don't agree with that, I don't agree with mentioning people. All I can mention is me. All I can give you is Anthony Ellison today.

Ellison: When I went to trial a few months back. I wanted to come back into chambers with you and eat bagels. But I couldn't. There's like a 95% conviction rate. These charges are serious. The prosecutors say I'm not accepting responsibility.  Ellison: I worked hard for those letters from the staff at the MCC. I wanted those document unsealed. I don't people to have a one sided story of me, the good and the bad.

 Ellison: I have told my mother the truth. It would have hurt her. An officer grabbed me by my neck when I was a pre-teen. I didn't say anything, I just ate supper. To protect my mother and my family.

Ellison: I'm not an angel. But I'm not a monster either. The moment comes when you understand your purpose, sort of like a blessing.

Ellison: I don't believe in throwing people under the bus. I don't like a language barrier to have communication with you. I know that you understand me. I really appreciate you, your Honor. I just wanted to be treated fairly, as an American. Proud to be one.

Judge Engelmayer: My perception is that your counsel is extremely energetic. I am now prepared to impose sentence. I have given it a great deal of thought, as will be made clear by the length of what I am about to say.

Judge Engelmayer: This was not a book club that you chose to affiliate with. The gang inspired fear with shooting, including in Manhattan. At time the violence was directed inward at dissidents. In Paragraph 22, the pre sentencing deals with Snow Billy

Judge Engelmayer: Snow Billy was shot in the head. You brought a gun to a house and threatened Nine Trey members whose loyalty you had begun to doubt. You participated in a fight at the LAX airport on Nine Trey's behalf. You cut Mark Hovde's face.

Judge Engelmayer: You were in Manhattan, on a date with Ms. Ramirez - but rushed to Smurf Village. You bailed on your date and stalked Mark Hovde, you slashed his face -- 300 stitches.

Judge Engelmayer: Jorge Rivera, the driver, he has done nothing to you. But you terrorized him. .. I've presided over a 78 defendant Bronx gang case. There is a need for general deterrence. But the scholarship on it does not show that long sentences matter

Judge Engelmayer: You have a record... in 2015 at age 28, you committed the crime of ID theft, and served 165 days. Also in 2015, another ID theft offense, a trial... disorderly conduct... other arrests for forgery, that didn't lead to a conviction.

Judge Engelmayer... Here's a letter from Carlos Lopez, Jr, who writing that "Harvie was always there for me as I grew up." Mr. Ellison, this is a part of who you are.

Judge Engelmayer: I am taking into account the harsh conditions of imprisonment during the COVID 19 pandemic. That will count, there will be a reduction - but your crimes were horrific.

Judge Engelmayer: Kifano Jordan engaged in gunshots, one hit a foot. A rival was robbed in Times Square. He got 15 years. Mr. Young, he was charged with attempted murder and got 20 years. Yours has to be longer than either of theirs. 

Judge Engelmayer: But I think 360 months is not necessary.  I find that a sentence below this can accomplish what it must. [Drum roll].  Mr Ellison, I sentence you to 24 years, followed by five years of supervised release.

Judge Engelmayer: I hope when you get out you are not tempted to return to crime. The Department of Probation will have its eyes on you. 

Cannick: Mr. Ellison would like Fort Dix or Danbury, they have academic programs for his return to society.

Judge Engelmayer: Mr. Ellison, let me say it may not feel that way, but you are still a young man. With 15% good time, you'll be out in your early 50s.  I was impressed by the letter, including from prison staff. I wish you well. We are adjourned.

It began on October 22, below - then got pushed back again, to November 4, so Ellison could meet with his lawyer Mr.Cannick. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

Judge Engelmayer: I denied the motions of Mr. Ellison and his co-defendant [Nuke] Mack... I have reviewed numerous letters on behalf of Mr. Ellison, and certificates of classes he's taken while in custody. I have a handwritten letter from Mr. Ellison, notarized

Judge Engelmayer: Mr. Ellison, have you reviewed the pre sentencing report? Harv Ellison: Yes, Your Honor. Judge Engelmayer: Have you reviewed it with your lawyer Mr. Cannick?

Harv Ellison: We never went over it all at all.

Judge Engelmayer: But he said he didJudge Engelmayer: Do you want to speak with your lawyer now? Harv Ellison: What would be great, your Honor. This is my first time seeing my attorney... Judge Engelmayer: Mr. Cannick, you've spoken him by phone, right? Cannick: Lawyers weren't allowed in.

 Judge Engelmayer: OK let's take a five minute break.  Judge Engelmayer: Mr. Ellison, I recommend that you communicate with me through your lawyer. Otherwise what you say may be against your legal interest... How about re-convene on November 4?

Judge Engelmayer: So November 4 at 10:30 am. The one caveat is, the Board of Judges will have a say, so I can't totally commit to this. But tentatively, that's the date. Mr. Cannick: we'll pick up on the Nov 4 where we left off today. I'll ask if any objections

Judge Engelmayer: Mr Cannick, you can meet with your client Mr. Ellison in my jury room right now. Is that OK with the Marshals? Marshal: OK Judge Engelmayer: Or you could use Marshals' cell block in 500 Pearl, with the wire mesh.

 Judge Engelmayer: OK, everyone leave separately. We stand adjourned. Watch this site.

 In advance, his lawyers had gotten permission to redacted and withhold at least half of their letter: " the defense would respectfully request that certain portions of the exhibits be filed under seal. As an initial matter, Mr. Ellison’s letter reveals the horrors that he has experienced and continues to experience while being incarcerated at MCC-New York. Mr. Ellison’s letter presents a record of conditions at MCC-New York that are appalling. It is clear that the conditions within MCC-New York are truly harsh, especially during the pandemic caused by COVID-19. These circumstances have caused Mr. Ellison anxiety and his submission was prompted by the uncertainty that he necessarily feels during this time. The defense submits that Mr. Ellison meant no disrespect to the Court and the defense would respectfully renew its request that the Court consider imposing a sentence below the guidelines due to the truly harsh conditions that Mr. Ellison has experienced while being incarcerated." Then two full paragraphs redacted. On what basis?

In June Kintea McKenzie a/k/a Kooda B, who pled guilty then while on COVID-19 related release was filmed celebrating without social distance, on June 3 had his assigned Criminal Justice Act lawyer Lisa Scolari withdraw. Inner City Press covered and live tweeted the proceeding, as it will the sentencing - when it happens. There was this:

"The Court adjourns Mr. McKenzie's sentencing until September 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., in recognition of defense counsel's request that sentencing not be held at a time when traveling to court may present heightened health risks to counsel. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 6/18/2020)."

 And now on September 8, this: SCHEDULING ORDER as to Kintea McKenzie. At the defendants request, reflected in a letter properly filed under seal, the Court adjourns sentencing for 30 days, until October 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. The Court does so out of respect for defense counsels concern that travel to and from an in-person sentencing proceeding may expose counsel and the defendant to medical risks in light of the current pandemic. The Government does not oppose this request. Mr. McKenzie's conditions of release remain in place. In the event of a request for an additional adjournment, the Court will promptly convene a telephone conference to address the request and to set a prompt date for Mr. McKenzie's surrender. The parties should consult the Court's Individual Rules and Practices for Criminal Cases for sentencing-related procedures and practices. Consistent with the Court's Rules, the defendants sentencing submission shall be served two weeks in advance of the date set for sentencing. The Government's sentencing submission shall be served one week in advance of the date set for sentencing. The parties should provide the Court with one courtesy hard copy of each submission when it is served. If a party does not intend to file a substantive sentencing submission, the party should file a letter to that effect. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 9/9/2020)." So, October 15. A letter sealed in its entirety, rather than redacted?

  On June 8, Judge Engelmayer issued these two orders: "ORDER as to Kintea McKenzie: At a conference held on June 3, 2020, the Court permitted Lisa Scolari, Esq., to withdraw as court-appointed counsel for defendant Kintea McKenzie, based on her representation to the Court that on or about May 15, 2020, she had become aware of circumstances that presented a conflict precluding her continued representation of Mr. McKenzie. The Court appointed Richard Rosenberg, Esq., as successor counsel. To assure itself that the nature of Ms. Scolari's conflict does not present a basis to invalidate Mr. McKenzie's guilty plea, entered in June 2019, the Court directed Ms. Scolari to file, for the Court's ex parte and in camera review, a letter detailing the circumstances under which Ms. Scolari recently had become aware of the circumstances giving rise to a conflict. The Court has reviewed Ms. Scolari's letter to that effect, dated June 5, 2020, which the Court has directed Ms. Scolari to file under seal. The Court is satisfied that no conflict existed with respect to Ms. Scolari's representation of Mr. McKenzie until mid-May 2020, and that the emergence of this conflict does not, in any way, cast doubt on the viability of Mr. McKenzie's guilty plea or any other aspect of Ms. Scolari's representation of Mr. McKenzie. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 6/8/2020) (ap)"

 Then, minutes later: "ORDER as to Kintea McKenzie: On June 5, 2020, the Court received a request, via email, from Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, seeking to unseal filings concerning a conflict of interest raised by Kintea McKenzie's now-former counsel, Lisa Scolari, Esq. Later that day, the Court received an ex parte letter, via email, from Ms. Scolari, explaining the nature of the conflict of which she recently had become aware. The Court has determined that Ms. Scolari's ex parte communications relate to highly confidential facts about a separate attorney-client representation, and thus are properly not publicly filed. Accordingly, the Court denies Mr. Lee's request. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 6/8/2020) (ap)."

  While the order is appreciated, not knowing more about these "highly confidential facts," what happened to the presumption of public access to filings in criminal cases? To the idea of redacting rather than withholding in full? The logic seems circular: it is simply "highly confidential." Why?  Watch this site.

Judge Engelmayer previous said, "An issue arose in March, letter of April 6."

Judge Engelmayer: I expect to grant your request since you say unwaivable conflict. However, this relates to some other legal representation of yours. Which predates this one. At some point some person may claim you've worked under a conflict. I want to know more.

Judge Engelmayer does not order the filing of a public letter, but one "ex parte" with him, in camera so the public will never see.

[Inner City Press wonders: How does the presumptive public nature of Federal criminal cases apply to this?]

Scolari: I will take that under consideration.

Judge Engelmayer: If it is the case that the information you would share would case Mr. McKenzie in a bad light, I could disregard it. When will you send the letter? End of the day Friday. It will be emailed - "We can take care of submitting it under seal."

 Judge Engelmayer: I need to understand why this did not undermine your prior advice to Mr. McKenzie during the plea proceeding. Any order I issue will not disclose any confidential material contained in your letter.

Next CJA lawyer is Mr. Rosenberg.

Judge Engelmayer: You have no connection with Nine Trey?

A: I do not.

Judge Engelmayer: Do you agree, AUSA Longyear?

AUSA: I do.

Judge: Are you ok with this Mr. McKenzie?

A: Yes.

  But what is the conflict that existed at the time of his guilty plea? Watch this site.

We'll have more on this - more including order on Patreon here.

 The case is US v. Jones, 18-cr-834 (Engelmayer). More on Patreon here.


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