Friday, October 17, 2014


If you were wondering when the trial judge in Richard Chichakli's criminal case was going to rule on the plethora of Pro Se post-trial motions that he filed, so that he may be sentenced, it has now happened. In a 35-page Memorandum and Order, the Court disposed of all the pending motions, by denying the lot.

In an order containing both extensive citations to authorities, and details about what happened at the many status conferences held in the case, the Court ruled upon the merits of the motions, as well as the Speedy Trial issue raised by the defendant, with a nod to the reality that the defendant was seeking to create appellate issues. Here is a breakdown:

(1)  The Rule 29 motion, to set aside the conviction, and enter judgment of acquittal, which can be granted when the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction: The Court noted that the defendant had a heavy burden, and held that the essential element were proven.

(2) The Rule 33 motion, which sought a New Trial in the Interests of Justice: The Court stated that the evidence was competent, satisfactory and sufficient to support a conviction.

(3) The Rule 34 motion, for Arrest of Judgment, when the indictment is defective: The Court stated that it has already resolved that issue, against the defendant, in a prior opinion.

(4) On the Speedy Trial issue: the Court stated that it properly excluded some time from the computation, due to a number of reasons; the Government had to deliver significant discovery, and the ends of justice were served, due to the defendant's Pro Se status. 

Chichakli employed what I like to call a shotgun approach to creating issues for his appeal; the Court shot them all down:

(A) Ineffective Assistance of Standby Counsel: The Court noted that there is no constitutional right to Standby Counsel, and in any event, the defendant is responsible for trying a case when he goes Pro Se.
(B) Placement in the Special Housing Unit (SHU), which allegedly made his defense preparation impossible. Deemed legally insufficient by the Court.
(C) Admitting opinion evidence of a prosecution witness;Not sufficient.
(D) Jury misconduct; Court found did not occur.
(E) Admission of FRE Rule 404(b) evidence of Defendant's aliases; Court found it proper and relevant.
(F) Improper jury charge; Court finds it to be correct.
(G) Failure to rule that classified material from Bout case was Brady material and discoverable.
(H) Failure to produce search warrant and certain evidence.
(I)  Court's denial of defendant's request to call DEA agent and Federal Judge in Bout case.
(J) Denial of defendant's request to call then OFAC head, Adam Szubin.
(K) Allegation of perjured testimony of prosecution witness.

In another filing Chichakli is asking for a delay in the November 14th sentencing, stating that he did not timely receive the PSIR from Probation. The court has not yet ruled on this issue.

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