Saturday, October 4, 2014


Lawyers for Roman Seleznev, the Russian hacker accused of stealing, and selling,  massive amounts of credit card information from Seattle businesses, have been very publicly asserting that the Bureau of Prisons has actively denied their client access to legal advice, while being detained, pre-trial, at FDC SeaTac. The response of the US Attorneys Office in Seattle has pointed out that restrictions imposed upon Seleznev, while in custody, are not only justified, due to his actions, but indicate that neither the defendant, nor his lawyers, are inclined to obey the regulations regarding detainees in Federal custody.

Apparently, these events triggered Seleznev's designation as a security risk:
(A) His attorneys improperly let him use their mobile telephone, while meeting with him in the lockup. it is not known with whom Seleznev was speaking, but such a call is not only unauthorized, but a security breach.
(B) A mobile telephone was found in his attorneys' briefcase before a meeting with the defendant, and the phone was thin enough to be passed through the narrow slot that allowed document, only, to be shared.
(C) An incoming letter, improperly marked Legal Mail or Special Mail, was intercepted and found to be, not from legal counsel, but another Federal inmate at another prison. Did his attorney have a role in this charade ?

Affidavits by defense counsel asserted that Seleznev was improperly placed in isolation, that the antiquated attorney visiting room equipment interfered with attorney-client meetings, that the closure of direct contact document transfer prevented the defendant from access to documents brought in by counsel, and that legal mail was illegally opened and read.

He was placed in pretrial confinement, due to risk of flight, no contacts with the US, a citizen of a country that has no extradition treaty with America, and his special computer skills, and overseas wealth, which could facilitate flight from the jurisdiction.

The BOP has taken steps to address any possible issues;

(1) It moved the defendant from the SHU, the isolation section, into General Population at the detention center.
(2) It has ordered the immediate installation of equipment that will facilitate better voice communication between the defendant and his counsel.
(3) It has instructed counsel that a corrections staff member is at all times outside the attorney meeting room, and available to pass documents to the defendant from counsel, without reading them.
(4) It has advised counsel on the procedural requirements for Legal Mail to qualify as such.

His counsels' claim that he was being denied effective access to his attorneys may have been made solely for the purpose of delay, for the Court was then required to delay his trial date, while all this was sorted out, but it now appears that any issues they may have raised are now moot, and there is possibility that they were not all well taken. In any event, there has now been resolution, as far as I can see, and the case should now proceed to trial.

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