Thursday, September 18, 2014


I have read the submission of the US Attorney's Office in Seattle, regarding the objections lodged by counsel for the Russian hacker, Roman Seleznev, as to his restrictive confinement in the Federal correctional facility in SeaTac. Three of the defendant's lawyers have filed affidavits, attesting to their inability to meet with their client, give him access to Discovery, and prepare his defense with his assistance.

The boilerplate reply of the US Attorney's Office, saying that he is in the SHU because he is a security risk, and if he has a complaint, he should file an administrative appeal with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), strains credibility. The affidavits show that the BOP is clearly interfering with his right of access to counsel, and to adequately prepare for trial, and it would appear that their facility is inadequate, in disrepair, and ill-suited for any detainee who need to prepare a defense in a complex case. Put this defendant in a modern facility where everything works, please. Attorney visits with broken microphones are unacceptable, as are restrictions to one telephone call per month. The defendant is a hacker, not a terrorist.

I can see parallels with the mistreatment endured by Richard Chichakli in his pre-trial confinement, and be assured that I am being absolutely objective about the facts. Viktor Bout also had trial preparation problems while in custody. The Russian media is asserting that Russian nationals are not receiving a fair trial in Federal Courts in the United States. If the Bureau of Prisons keeps playing games with Russian detainees, which infringe their rights, I may start agreeing with them.

Let me humbly suggest, to the authorities in Seattle that they move Seleznev to a country jail in the area, one which has an ongoing relationship with Federal authorities, to house pre-trial detainees, and which is better able to give the defendant adequate access to counsel, access to the telephone and a non-Internet connected computer, so that he can review the Discovery, and prepare for trial.

Do we really want to see the defendant convicted by a jury, and then have his conviction overturned on appeal, because the constitutional rights available to every defendant, even a disruptive hacker like Seleznev, were not granted ? I think not. 

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