Federal judge tosses out a case because grand jury that handed down the indictment wasn’t 'diverse' enough
Federal judge Analisa Torres, an Obama appointee, dismissed a shooting case against a reputed gang-banger because the grand jury that indicted him was drawn from a grand jury pool in White Plains with an "underrepresentation of Black and Latinx individuals."
It looks to me that Judge Torres is using an invented term, "Latinx," to invoke an invented right. Via the New York Post:
"The Government has failed to meet its burden by coming forward with evidence rebutting the presumption that such underrepresentation was the result of purposeful discrimination," she wrote Monday.
"Therefore, Defendant has established a violation of his Fifth Amendment right to a race-neutral jury selection process."
Underlying the argument is the fact that the indictment was handed down in Westchester County, not in Manhattan, where the alleged crime took place. Manhattan is more heavily minority than Westchester, where AOC grew up. That must be what led Judge Torres to make a "presumption" of motivation to discriminate. Since when do judges presume guilt?
The presumption is particularly unjustified, especially given that:
... in a follow-up letter to the judge, prosecutors said they wanted to "correct the factual record" regarding Scott's indictment in the June 23, 2020, shooting in The Bronx, saying it was the result of a "non-discriminatory exigency" amid the COVID-19 crisis that forced them to seek the charges in White Plains.
At the time, they wrote, "grand jury availability was exceptionally limited — generally, and specifically in Manhattan — due to the pandemic."
And when prosecutors sought to have Scott indicted on June 30, 2020, "there was no grand jury sitting in Manhattan" and no grand juries were convened between June 26 and July 8, 2020, according to the Monday letter.
Scott "posed a sufficiently serious risk to public safety that it was untenable to delay his prosecution until grand juries were more readily available," prosecutors Alexandra Rothman and Jim Ligtenberg wrote.
"Accordingly, to indict the instant case expeditiously and to protect public safety, the Government sought an indictment in White Plains, where a grand jury was available," they said.
Fortunately for society, the accused will still face justice, despite Judge Torres's move:
[P]rosecutors revealed that Scott had already been re-indicted by a different grand jury and his new case was assigned to a different judge.
Scott, 43, is charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition tied to the seizure of three, .380 Eldorado-brand shell casings following a caught-on-camera shooting in which the victim was shot twice in the leg.
Scott is a reputed member of the Bloods gang who allegedly opened fire outside 765 E. 183rd St. amid a dispute with the 36-year-old victim, who lives on the block, law-enforcement sources said.
Photo credit: Twitter screen grab (cropped).
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