Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I fear that the jailhouse lawyers advising Richard Chichakli are using a scatter-gun approach to his post-conviction motions, hoping that something that they file will be denied, and ultimately result in an reversal of his conviction, when the case goes up on appeal. Just when you think they have run out of ideas, they file something new, hoping that it will stick.

The latest effort is the assertion that the US Attorney has caused two documents to be illegally deleted from the court file, denying the defendant, and the public, the right to see them. He also states that the continued listing of co-defendant Viktor Bout in the case is "insidious,"meaning that it is subtle, but harmful, in a way that is gradual, and not easily noticed. He is alleging that the continued listing of Viktor Bout is improper, and caused him damage. All the textbook definitions of that term are extremely derogatory, and you can expect a strong response, on the merits.

Chichakli's accusations are based upon an erroneous interpretation of the law; he writes that the Doctrine of Speciality*, which forbids Federal Prosecutors from trying a defendant for any crime other than those which he or she was specifically extradited for, prohibits the US from charging Viktor Bout as his co-defendant. You will recall that Mr. Bout has previously been convicted in another case, which was the one which he was extradited from Thailand for. The defendant's reasoning is that Bout should never have been named as a defendant in Chichakli's case, for he was not brought to the United States for that case.

Unfortunately for the defendant, his legal reasoning is flawed. The case law interpreting the Doctrine of Specialty only prohibits the detention, trial, or punishment, of a defendant for a charge other than that for which he has been extradited, not his indictment on other charges. Mr. Chichakli's allies apparently neglected to research the issue before raising it. No legal authorities are cited anywhere in the filing.

Chichakli also complains that he alone was the subject of a Superseding Indictment, and since Bout was not named on that document, he should not longer be shown as a party defendant. Bout still remains a co-defendant, though he cannot be tried at this time. I do not see any merit to any of these issues that he raised here.

One puzzling note: I am still trying to understand why Chichakli is filing this flurry of Pro Se motions, for a new attorney was appointed for him after he discharged his stand-by counsel, and his new attorney has not appeared in anything other than a full capacity as defense counsel.
*United States vs. Rauscher,119 US 407, 7 S. Ct. 234, 30 L.Ed. 425 (1886). 

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