Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Federal Detention Center SeaTac
Having been there myself once upon a time, I know that most jailhouse complaints have no basis in fact, but are lodged because the individual in custody has nothing better to do. There are notable exceptions, however, and we have seen more than I like to see, when it comes to Russian nationals in custody, in Federal cases.

We have been covering the case, involving the Russian hacker, Seleznev, in US District Court in Seattle, and it appears that his problems are real. His attorneys have filed  three affidavits, detailing the difficulties they are experiencing, with securing client contact:

(1) Seleznev is being held in the Special Housing Unit  (SHU), which is an isolation unit, as the Court will not allow him into General Population, due to his access to money, which could influence other inmates to assist him, and possibly to obtain identities for escape.

(2) The SHU apparently has a solitary attorney visiting room, with a glass partition, and the microphones used for communication are defective. Counsel cannot confer with his or her client.

(3) Only a thin opening in the partition, suitable for single sheets of paper at a time, allows the passage of documents between attorney and client. This is unacceptable for complex criminal cases.

(4) The defendant's efforts to place telephone calls to his attorney are not being facilitated by corrections staff, according to his attorney. he is getting one (1) per month. Other SHU detainees get regular calls. This is clearly wrong.

(5) Letters from his attorney were not delivered to him for seventeen days,  and were delivered already opened, a violation of BOP regulations regarding attorney mail, when marked as "special mail," which can only be opened, to check for contraband, in the detainee's presence.

(6) The inmate was reportedly told, by BOP staff, that he will never be allowed into General Population, and get regular access to his attorneys, the way other defendants do. If all this is true, his right to counsel is being interfered with.

(7) The defendant must review electronic and non-electronic Discovery. He needs access to a computer for that purpose.

Are these complaints the Russian Government has been making, about how Russian nationals in the Federal system are being denied their rights, correct ? I had thought that the complaints had no merit, and were being made solely for political purposes, but now I am not so sure. Someone needs to tell those people as FDC SeaTac that the defendant, no matter what we may think of him, is being denied his 6th Amendment Right to counsel, and his 5th Amendment Right to Due Process.

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