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     Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere.  Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations  Search This Site    Click for March 1, 2011 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.     Click here for Inner City Press front page

  ICP has published a (double) book about a variety of Bronx-relevant topics -- a review in Commonweal magazine of Dec. 5, 2003, opines  that "Predatory Bender... is as vivid an account of life in the Bronx as you are likely to read" -- click here for sample chapters, here for an interactive maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering information.  See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of ‘Predatory Bender’]," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. CBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts." The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters."   The Pittsburgh City Paper of Dec. 11, 2003, wrote that it "may, in fact, be the first great American lending malfeasance novel" including "low-level loan sharks, class-action lawyers, corporate bigwigs, hired muscle, corrupt politicians, Iraq War veterans, Wall Street analysts, reporters and one watchdog with a Web site."  And all in The Bronx!   Click here for that review; for more information, contact us.
2014: MRL on Beacon Reader

June 29, 2020

Bronx Lawsuit For Excessive Force by NYPD To Proceed With George Floyd Effect Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 26 – Edward Rosado was standing in front of a Footlocker on Fordham Road in The Bronx when he was grabbed by the throat by an officer of the NYPD and arrested. The Bronx DA declined to prosecute. 

 Jump cut to June 26 when U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.

   Judge Abrams granted the defendants summary judgment on municipal liability / qualified immunity and false arrest - but not on excessive force.

Whereupon Rosado's lawyer said it was time to go to a jury, given he said the "George Floyd jury effect."  

He also said he might ask for reconsideration on the judicially created doctrine of qualified immunity - he cited Clarence Thomas.

Judge Abrams said the issue is settled in the Second Circuit, perhaps one for appeal but not one to further delay trial in this matter.

The case is Rosado v. Soriano et al., 16-cv-3310 (Abrams).

June 22, 2020

Parkchester Security Wants To Settle Class Action As Objector Wants To Be Airbrushed Out

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 18 – The Bronx housing development Parkchester has a Department of Public Safety and it is settling a class action about not paying overtime. But one of the workers appeared to oppose it - then asked to not be named. 

 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl to his credit suggested that the settlement order should not pay tribute to the class action lawyers, who are in line for one third of the settlement, some $234,000. When asked how much a class member gets, there was no answer.   

The objector, after being rebuffed, asked to not be named in the order.

"She doesn't need the publicity," her lawyer said.

 But she has another public case against Parkchester, "ANNAMARIE HOLZKNECHT, Plaintiff, v. PARKCHESTER PRESERVATION MANAGEMENT LLC et al., Defendants. No. 19-cv-6006 (JGK)," here.

 And that and this case were public: Inner City Press was as always reporting on public proceedings.

The case is Wedemire v. Parkchester Department of Public Safety LLC d/b/a Parkchester DPS LLC, 18-cv-211 (Koeltl).

NYPD Shot Spotter Nabs Bronxite Now In Westchester Jail With Laptop and Lawyer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 17 – At 1:40 pm back on January 13, 2019 at Tinton Avenue and East 166th Street in The Bronx, there was a shoot-out recorded by an NYPD Shot Spotter device.

Eric Rodriguez, then under Federal supervision, went to St. Barnabas Hospital with a gunshot wound in the back; another man went to Lincoln Hospital.

    On June 17 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Sidney H. Stein held a proceeding in the case. Inner City Press covered it.

  Rodriguez' lawyer Andrew G. Patel said he lives near the jail and will be able to go in with a laptop, unlike in MCC and MDC. 

  Judge Stein said, It sounds like if you have to be somewhere, the Westchester County Jail is the place to be.     

Defense lawyer Patel replied, Other than there not being a coffee machine, you can review discovery at your heart's content. 

   Judge Stein said, Let's set a conference for July 28, hopefully in the courthouse but we'll just have to see. And trial September 29.

The case is US v. Rodriguez, 20-cr-77 (Stein).
June 15, 2020

Covid and the Courts Overheard From SDNY Press Room With Access Increasing and Redactions Opposed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 13 – How U.S. Federal courts have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic looks or sounds different from the press room than from the bench.

The U.S. District Court for the South District of New York has issued more written orders per week since it went virtual than before. This is perhaps a function of judges having more time, ruling from their homes, or of more lawyers in civil cases asking for decisions on the papers, without oral arguments.

SDNY Judge Jed S. Rakoff has mourned the inability to see and send visual signals to the lawyers making oral arguments before him, and the cases in which lawyers forego oral argument by phone. Things sound different from the press room and this is the beginning of that story. 

   Inner City Press has been covering or listening in on up to 16 proceedings a day, sometimes three at a time, from the PACER terminal in the SDNY Press Room since mid-March. At first it was mostly emergency motions for compassionate release or release on bond to escape the spread of COVID-19 in the prisons.

Each prison has a difference record: the MCC just across Pearl Street, the MDC in Brooklyn already famous for its lack of heat, and the cooperators' GEO private prison in Queens, here and picked-up here.

Then there are the state facilities used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, like those in Valhalla in Westchester County and the Newark's Essex Country Correctional Facility where, Inner City Press reported, visiting lawyers were made to use a shared oral thermometer to be checked. Further north there's the Auburn Correction Facility where Judge Katherine Polk Failla to her credit has inquired into the lack of a DVD player for an inmate to review video of alleged abuse by law enforcement.

   Soon, though, civil litigation started back up. Some were as mundate or telling as cases against restaurants closed down by COVID, some never to reopen and those losing jurisdiction. Others were habeus and immigration petitions, with detainees being sent back to countries with less known COVID conditions.

    Inmates' medical conditions, for obvious reasons, are often redacted in the public PACER docket. But there seems to be an increase in unilateral requests to withhold whole filings and issues, some overturned when challenged by the Press, some upheld.

Subpoenas about North Korea's United Nations Mission's e-mail account, originally "ex parte and in camera," where ordered unsealed by SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel when Inner City Press requested. But information on CJA lawyer Lisa Scholari's conflict of interest with regarding to a Takashi #6ix9ine co-defendant was, for now, been entirely withheld, while another perhaps related "sealed proceeding" was held. 

 To their credit, SDNY Judges Ronnie Abrams in 40 Foley Square for the sentencing of "meth warlord" and wanna-be Bitcoin miner Paul Leroux and from the White Plains Federal Courthouse Judge Cathy Seibel in a racketeering case have sua sponte suggested that filings should be unredacted.

  As with Judge Rakoff's run in with an unmuted listener who opined, "This is so boring," live-tweeted by Inner City Press and then reported elsewhere, there have been hiccups.

There was the supervisee who mid-rant asked, "Berman, you sound differen than usual, is that you?" This drew a typically good-natured response from SDNY Judge Richard H. Berman.

There was the Bronx immigration attorney who talked over SDNY Judge William H. Pauley III to say that she could not or would not submit a brief on the schedule he suggested. (Judge Pauley has been telling a joke about lawyers resisting agreeing to briefing schedules by saying their electronics had been taken by the Court Security Officers downstairs, an excuse not available from home. As an aside, starting June 15 those phones will be taken in single-use plastic bags). 

  Some judges and their deputies make a point of asking, Who is on the line? This led, in at least some proceeding listed as open to the public, to Inner City Press being asked to "bow out," by SNDY Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger, still unexplained.

District Judge Gregory H. Woods makes a point of a saying, I am not monitoring who is on this call, it is up to the lawyers to understand that this is an open proceeding. 

    Some lawyers still don't understand, or pretend that they don't, including one who wrote to an SDNY judge complaining about Press coverage of their own discussion, in "open court," of settlement numbers. While litigants can and somtimes due threaten each other with sanctions for frivolous threats, the media has less recourse and such threats or even filings could lead to self-censorship or simply not calling in.

   Chief Judge Colleen McMahon, as she does when in her courtroom, makes a point of welcoming family members to a sentencing, even if only over the phone.

But on the CourtCall platform, they cannot thank her back. Some judges has taken to Skype for Business, sometimes without listing the call-in number for the press and public, at least not on PACER.

    Judge Lorna G. Schofield schedules back to back status conferences in civil cases, and moves from one to the other with aplomb. Other judges use a single AT&T toll free line such that lawyers from the next case sign or beep into the last one, and hear what is going on.

Covering Magistrates Court presentments as more hit and miss than in person. Inner City Press cannot simple go to Courtroom 5A and sit in the back, trading stories about The Bronx as one charge of plea follow another under a just-detained defendant is brought out.

There seems to be no way to know when the CourtCall line is in use. The press officer of the U.S. Attorney for the EDNY announces many of these presentment, not only in the Molotov cocktail cases that went to the Second Circuit but even more day to day crimes. His SDNY counterparts sometimes mention presentments only after they have happened.   

As some of these proceedings go back to being in person, what will change, and what will remain? Big picture, Judge Alison J. Nathan's rulings to move and cleanse courtrooms and then allowing for a virtual juror may be a harbinger, although the Iranian banker's guilty verdict it resulted in has been walked away from amid controversy by the U.S. Attorney for Brady violations.

 Inner City Press hopes that, given public areas in courtrooms reduced by social distancing remodeling and rules, call-in lines remain including for trials. (One difficulty, as opposed to the very few trials with in-house live-feeds, will be knowing who is speaking). Judge Rakoff is right that forgoing oral arguments is a loss, not only for judge who want to ask questions but also journalists who want to report them to the public.

One innovation is forthcoming from the Central District of California: a deposition, albeit in the criminal case against Michael Avenati, made available live by phone to the public and press.

Inner City Press intends to "be" there. Watch this site, and and live-tweeted proceedings on this feed.

Law Firm Sued Bronxite For More Money Than She Ever Saw In Her Life Now In SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 10 –  Bronxite Iris Inoa was sued by Midland Funding of Delaware, LCC, which was represented by Pressley, Felt & Warshaw, LLP, which then entered judgment in 2009. 

The problem was, Inoa never knew about it. On June 10, 2020, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl had a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

 Inoa said she "does remember having credit card problems in 2005... She learned of the restaint form an email from Chase. The amount restrained, $22,496.08, was more money that she had seen in her life."

The case is Ynoa et al v. Pressler, Felt & Warshaw, LLP et al., 20-cv-2594 ( Koeltl).

June 8, 2020

For Molotov Cocktails At NYPD Remand By Marshals 2d Circuit Orders With Appeal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Soundcloud
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, June 5 –  Amid protests about the murder of George Floyd, late on May 30 the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York got a complaint signed by  Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara about a Molotov cocktail attack on an NYPD vehicle. Inner City Press, which covered the protested in Foley Square and at One Police Plaza on May 29 (video here and edited here), and aftermath on Fifth Avenue on May 30, publishes the complaint (later-written song on Soundcloud).

 On June 5 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals heard the government's appeal of the release of Mattis and Rahman. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here, and noted even that that the forthcoming decision might turn on EDNY District Judge Brodie's failure to mention the applicable presumption.

 Now after 5 pm on June 5, this remand: "The Government moves for a stay, pending appeal, of the district court’s order releasing Defendants-Appellees on bond, subject to conditions including home detention and electronic monitoring. It is hereby ORDERED that the stay motion is GRANTED. Whether to grant a stay is “an exercise of judicial discretion” that requires consideration of the relevant factors, including, most critically, the likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm to the movant absent a stay. Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 433–34 (2009) (quoting Virginian Ry. Co. v. United States, 272 U.S. 658, 672 (1926)). The United States Marshals are directed to take Defendants into custody forthwith. Defendants shall be detained pending further order of this Court. It is further ORDERED that the appeal shall be expedited. The Government shall file its opening brief no later than 11:59pm on June 10, 2020; Defendants-Appellees shall file their responsive briefs no later than 11:59pm on June 16, 2020; and the Government shall file any reply brief no 2 later than 11:59pm on June 18, 2020. The Clerk is directed to calendar the appeal with the first available panel thereafter." Full order on Patreon here. Watch this site.

Live tweeted thread of appeal argument here.

  On the afternoon of June 1, the defendants were presented before EDNY Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold." Inner City Press covered and live tweeted it, here.

Samantha Shader did not seek bail, and is detained. Both Rahman and Mattis were ordered released on $250,000 bond - but the US Attorney sought and got a stay of release, pending appeal to the Part 1 Judge, District Judge Margo K. Brodie.

  Inner City Press live tweeted that proceeding at as well, here. Judge Brodie upheld Magistrist Judge Gold's order of release. At the end, she denied Assistant US Attorney Ian Richardson's request for a 24 hour stay in order to confer with the Solicitor General for an appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. It was confirmed that the "U.S. Attorney’s Office intends to appeal Judge Brodie’s decision to the Second Circuit," per Office's Public Information Officer John Marzulli.

 On June 2, the appeal was filed, full text on Patreon here.

June 1, 2020

   While in the Bronx police filled shopping strips like Fordham Road, as captured in this song, the following happened:

For Molotov Cocktail At NYPD Van in Crown Heights George Floyd Protest EDNY Files Complaint

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Soundcloud
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, May 30 –   Amid protests about the murder of George Floyd, late on May 30 the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York got a complaint signed by  Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara about a Molotov cocktail attack on any NYPD vehicle. Inner City Press, which covered the protested in Foley Square and at One Police Plaza on May 29 (video here and edited here), and aftermath on Fifth Avenue on May 30, publishes the complaint (later-written song on Soundcloud).

"ELAINE SILADI, being duly sworn, deposes and states that she is a Special  Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, duly appointed according to law and acting  as such.  Causing Damage by Fire and Explosives – Police Vehicle  On or about May 30, 2020, within the Eastern District of New York, the  defendant SAMANTHA SHADER did knowingly, intentionally and maliciously damage,  and attempt to damage and destroy, by means of fire and one or more explosives, a vehicle  and other real property used in interstate and foreign commerce and in an activity affecting  interstate and foreign commerce, to wit: a New York City Police Department vehicle in  Brooklyn, New York.  (Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(i))  2  The source of your deponent’s information and the grounds for her belief are  as follows:
On or about May 30, 2020 at approximately 1:12 a.m., an individual,  later identified as the defendant SAMANTHA SHADER, approached a New York City  Police Department (“NYPD”) vehicle parked in the vicinity of Eastern Parkway and  Washington Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. A video provided to law enforcement  from a witness captured the events.

The video initially shows the defendant SHADER light  an incendiary device – specifically, a bottle containing an incendiary chemical (sometimes  referred to as a “Molotov cocktail” device) – while an unidentified male attempts to shield  SHADER from onlookers. SHADER thereafter throws the Molotov cocktail at the NYPD  1 Because the purpose of this Complaint is to set forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware.  3  vehicle, which was occupied by four NYPD officers. The Molotov cocktail shattered two  windows of the NYPD vehicle on impact and caused internal damage to the NYPD vehicle.  An image of the defendant Shader throwing the Molotov cocktail is shown below and the  video provided by the witness is appended by reference." Watch this site.

May 25, 2020

In NYC Four Hours and 107 New Lawsuits After Coronavirus Shutdown Inner City Press on Case

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

NYC COURTHOUSES, May 25 –  The filing of lawsuit was re-opened after the Coronavirus shut down on May 25 - Memorial Day - and in the first four hours here was the scorecard in the five boroughs of New York City, as compiled by Inner City Press:

Manhattan: 29 lawsuits; Bronx: 24 suits; Queens: eight new cases; Staten Island: two suits; and the leader, Brooklyn, with 44 new cases. 

  On May 22, NYS Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks announced in a memo: "This expanded use of NYSCEF will permit a significant broadening of civil litigation in a manner that continues to ensure the highest measure of health and safety to judges, court personnel, and the public."

 Inner City Press will be covering these, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York it is based in.

May 18, 2020

SDNY Judge Vyskocil Declines To Put AOC Challenger On Ballot With Invalid Signatures

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 15 – In a challenge in the Bronx - Queens Congressional District represented by  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Scherie Murray sued the New York State Board of Elections for cutting the time to gather signatures to appear on the ballot.

 On May 15 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil held a hearing. Inner City Press covered it.   

Judge Vyskocil asked New York State's lawyer, Do you agree that the Constitutional issues could not have been raised in the state court proceeding?    The NYS lawyer said no, and cited a Second Circuit case, "on res judicada grounds." 

  Judge Vyskocil continued, She's saying her right to be on the ballot has been burdened... They are asking me to direct that she be included on the ballot. 

  Another defense lawyer said, I don't think there's any basis for that, when they collected zero valid signatures here. Given the COVID pandemic, the signature requirement was changed. 

   Judge Vyskocil asked, Why not just eliminate the need for wet signatures? 

  The defense lawyer replied, The Executive Order was in March, I don't know if electronic signatures were available then... They sat on their rights. The claim is barred - he cited a Discover Bank case from 2009 about when cases can't be removed from state court. 

   Next Judge Vyskocil was told how difficult it would be to include Murray on the ballot, that testing will begin May 18. "We have to test the ballot scanners, for this district, in the Bronx and Queens, 10 or 15 sites."

    Murray's lawyer said, We did not raise any Constitutional issue in our complaint, only in our memo of law, to let the state court know we were going to go Federal.... The decision wasn't based on the subscribing witness being of another party.

   Judge Vyskocil said, I am going to rule now. Long standing principles of preclusion may be at issue in this case. But that's for another day... The government's minimizing contact, by shortening time for collecting signatures, was reasonable, and narrowly tailored. All of her signatures were invalidated for reasons upheld by Justice Carter in the state court proceeding. The Court also observes that the timing of this application belies any claim of urgency, needed for a TRO. So the motion for a TRO is denied. We'll follow this with a written ruling. If anyone orders the transcript, please file it on the docket.

The case is Murray v. Cuomo, et al., 20-cv-3571 (Vyskocil).

May 11, 2020

Bronx Man Sued City For Boston Road Police Stop Now SDNY Judge Failla Floats $50000 Settlement

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 5–  Hafeez Shaheed was driving on Boston Road in The Bronx on December 12, 2015 when he was pulled over by police.

He was ordered out of his car, was tightly handcuffed and taken into detention in the 47th Police Precinct. He was denied medical treatment. The criminal court summons filed against him was dismissed and sealed on February 10, 2016. 

  In 2017, Hafeez Saheed sued the City of New York and the police officers.

On May 5, 2020, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Katherine Polk Failla in a public telephone conference which Inner City Press covered as it does others asked Hafeez Shaheed if he would be willing to settle for less than $100,000.

  Yes, he said.

 Judge Failla asked, Less than $50,000?

   Hafeez Saheed said No. 

   Melissa Wachs of the NYC Law Department, representing the City and Officers Kevin Kenny, Ou Wu and William Nakelski, said she did not have authority to go above or to $50,000.

  And so a tentative jury trial date of December 7, 2020 was set. Judge Failla genially said she has already had to postpone a June jury trial, so even December is not entirely sure.

  Hafeez Saheed indicated he would like to amend his complaint, that "NYLAG" told him he could ask the Judge later do to it. That is not so clear, after his complaint survived summary judgment. 

  But Judge Failla has given him time to write to her, into the public docket, why he wants to amend and what NYLAG told him. Inner City Press will continue to cover this case and others like it. This case is Saheed v. City of New York, et al., 17-cv-1813 (Failla). May 4, 2020

Olszewski Fled Bronx Halfway House Now Wants Out of MCC Amid Coronavirus

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 1 – Shawn Olszewski sought compassionate release from the Metropolitan Correctional Center on May 1 citing COVID-19 and his thyroid, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge William H. Pauley III. Inner City Press covered it.

  The defense lawyer says she'd heard that MCC "just some new tests."

    Judge Pauley asked, Why is your client particularly at risk, more than others, from COVID-19? 

  The defense lawyer replied, If his thyroid medicines not functioning. And some healthy people suffer bad bouts and die... All 26 people in his unit share a single toilet, a single urinal and a single sink. The temperature checks have stopped. Staff work 12 hours shifts because others are out sick. I could not visit him. 

   Judge Pauley asked, You can avail yourself of video or audio calls by signing up, no? 

  The defense lawyer said, I heard today they are finally making video calls available. 

   Judge Pauley asked, Has the Warden responded to your compassionate release response? 

   The defense lawyer answered, No, not that I'm aware of.

   Assistant US Attorney Sidhardha Kamaraju said, The defendant does not have any unique medical situation with respect to COVID-19. The statute requires extraordinary and compelling reasons. The MCC has begun to implement procedures. 

   AUSA Kamarathu zeroed in on the defendant and applicant: He's back in MCC because he fled from the residential re-entry center. The motion should be denied. 

   Judge Pauley asked, Hasn't he served 46 of 48 months? So why is his release date in March 2021?

   A second AUSA, Justin Rodriguez, answered: I'm not sure he's served 46 months. 

  The defense lawyer said, Because he fled, he lost credit for the RDAP program. 

Judge Pauley continued, Didn't he pick up another charge in Ilinois?   The defense lawyer acknowledged, Yes, that did happen. He's made strides... We have a facility 50% over capacity. We need to decarcerate. 

    Judge Pauley said, I'm going to have to think about this. I'm reserving decision. I'm asking the government to ensure blood testing for his thyroid condition, if BOP deems appropriate, and to report on Tuesday. 

The case is US v. Olszewski, 15-cr-364 (Pauley). 

April 27, 2020

NYC Prisons Move Toward Video Calls Which Authorities Can Watch But Not Press or Public

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 18 – Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, and as first reported by Inner City Press prior to promulgation, a procotol for video conferencing with New York prisons of the MCC, the MDC in Brooklyn and the GEO / cooperators' private prison in Queens has emerged.

  It does not yet provide for press and public access to video feeds of court proceedings under the CARES Act. Inner City Press is publishing it here:

 "all three facilities shall establish dedicated hours to allow court appearances by telephone and video capability (hereinafter referred to as “videophone”). 

It is understood that both MCC and MDC are currently working to increase videophone capability, but that access to inmates is needed immediately.  Therefore, this protocol sets forth for each facility one plan to begin immediately, and another plan to begin once the videophone equipment is expanded.

a. In the MDC:  MDC shall accommodate up to three one-hour court appearances in the morning and at least six half-hour attorney calls or calls with Pretrial or Probation in the afternoon and evening per floor.  Prior to the expansion of videophone capability, between the hours of 9 AM and 12 noon Monday through Friday one telephone per floor of MDC shall be dedicated for inmates to appear in court proceedings. Between the hours of 1 PM and 3:30 PM, two telephones per floor will be used for Probation and Pretrial interviews and for attorney calls.  After the expansion of videophone capability, each of the floors will be equipped with videophone equipment, which will be used for the court appearances and non-court calls, as discussed above.  The MDC will ensure that the female inmates, who are housed in a separate building, either have a dedicated videophone or can be regularly brought to elsewhere in the institution for court proceedings and non-court calls.  Inmates in the SHU will have the telephone brought to their cells, or they will be brought to the SHU videoconferencing room, for court proceedings and for non-court calls.

b. In the MCC:  Prior to the expansion of videophone capability, the telephone in the unit manager’s office in each unit shall be dedicated for inmates to participate in three one  hour court proceedings in the morning and up to four half-hour  attorney calls and Probation and Pretrial interviews in the afternoon between 1 PM and 3:30 PM.  There is a unit manager’s office equipped with a telephone inside each of the ten housing units at MCC.  After the expansion of videophone capability, eight of the units that have a social visiting room attached to them (which is all of the units except Unit 3, which is currently housing inmates in isolation, and the women’s unit) shall receive a videophone that will be used for court proceedings during the morning and for Probation and Pretrial interviews and attorney calls in the afternoon.  MCC shall accommodate up to three one-hour court appearances in the morning in each room and up to four half-hour attorney calls or calls with Pretrial or Probation in the afternoon in each room.  The MCC will either place a dedicated videophone on the women’s unit or ensure that the female inmates have regular access to another videophone in the institution for court proceedings and non-court calls.  Inmates in the SHU will have a telephone brought to their cells or be brought to the counselor’s office so that they can participate in court proceedings and have scheduled non-court calls.

c. In GEO:  The GEO facility already has two videoconferencing rooms that it can dedicate to remote court appearances in the morning and attorney calls and Probation and Pretrial interviews in the afternoon.  GEO is not expecting to receive additional video conference devices.  At this time, this equipment appears to be sufficient to meet the needs of court and counsel, but this is subject to further review. d. MDC, MCC, and GEO shall keep a log that tracks all attorney calls and Probation and Pretrial interviews, including when the call was requested, when the call was approved, whether the call was attempted, whether the call connected, and the approximate length of each call.

4. After the expansion of videoconference capability at the MCC and MDC, a private room on each floor must be equipped with a telephone, and a videophone to the maximum extent possible, in order to connect to an AT&T Conference Call or other Court provided conference call number and to the Court’s Cisco Videoconference Bridge.  Assuming the technical details can be worked out, the videophone will be used so that court appearances can be facilitated through CourtCall or Cisco Jabber.  To the extent possible, the court conference will be conducted pursuant to a conference call platform that has the ability to provide for both (i) communication between the inmate, the inmate’s counsel, the court, the United States Attorney, the Defendant, and interpreter (if needed) and a court reporter; and (ii) private “breakout sessions” between the inmate and the inmate’s counsel. Should the platform not have that capability, the telephone must be used to provide private breakout sessions between the inmate and counsel.

5. Corrections staff may be present for all public portions of the court appearance.  If the Court permits a private conversation between the inmate and his/her attorney, BOP/GEO staff must exit the room and close the door but may remain outside in a way that allows them to visually monitor the inmate for security reasons." We'll have more on this - watch this site.

April 20, 2020

Bronx Defendant Without Taste Is Denied Release From MCC By SDNY Judge Failla As Danger