Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snitching aint easy

The Herald has an interesting article this morning about a "cooperating witness" who wants to cut 13.5 years off of his sentence.  Chief Judge Moreno wants more information:

A federal prosecutor Tuesday recommended cutting one-time Haitian drug lord Jacques Ketant’s 27-year prison sentence by half, citing his “invaluable information” that helped authorities convict a dozen fellow traffickers, politicians and police officers from Haiti.

But U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno delayed his decision, saying he wants more details about the government’s attempt to recover $15 million in drug profits from Ketant, who was convicted in 2003 of smuggling 30 tons of cocaine into South Florida and New York.

Moreno also inquired about the status of Ketant’s Port-au-Prince mansion as well as an art collection of more than 200 paintings that boasted a Monet.

“It should be worth at least a million dollars,” Moreno said of the painting by the French Impressionist painter. “You don’t know where the Monet is?”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Kirkpatrick said the U.S. government already seized the Monet, was able to recover only a small portion of the drug profits, and that Ketant’s mansion was turned over to the Haitian government.
Uh-oh -- I hope that Monet isn't sitting in a DEA warehouse somewhere in Miami getting all moldy.  I wonder why the U.S. gets it as opposed to Haiti where this guy committed most of his crimes, except possibly murder which is alleged to have occurred here:
But the judge really caught the prosecutor and defense attorney by surprise when he disclosed that he had recently received a letter from a man who said Ketant was responsible for the alleged 1997 killing of his mother in South Florida, according to Moreno, who did not disclose names nor file the letter in the court record.

In court, Kirkpatrick said she was unfamiliar with the murder allegation and Oliva said it was unfounded.

The judge ordered both sides to address his questions within two weeks before he holds another hearing on the proposed sentence reduction for Ketant, who is imprisoned in Arkansas.

Ketant, 48, had lived as a virtually untouchable kingpin in his hilltop mansion overlooking Port-au-Prince. In 2003, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide expelled him under U.S. pressure because Ketant’s bodyguards beat up an official at a private school attended by children of U.S. Embassy personnel.


Anonymous said...

You have to love the inherent pun, "show me the Monet!"

Anonymous said...

Finally someone from the judiciary is willing to stand for something against the feds' willy nilly attitude about sentencing...

Anonymous said...

Please, the time to take a stand would have been when this guy was being paraded around by the feds in court, not when it comes to giving him the "benefit" of his deal.

There is no bravery in not reducing this guy's sentence, the bravery would have come from the judge grilling the government about all these supposed bad acts, and making sure that they were fully and completely disclosed, before he was allowed to appear in court.

Anonymous said...

If the judiciary is to stand for justice and fairness in sentencing then the criminal with the biggest social network of criminal associates should not receive a reduced sentence merely because of his previous "friends" and "likes." If two people walk into Burdines and steel a purse and both have similar priors etc etc, but the one guy with the more juice to offer the cops can negotiate a better sentnce because of this there is something wrong in our system as a result. Fairness is more important than the juice the criminal can provide the feds...the pen is not a federal prosecutor's motel, wherein they control the check out time. It is for punishment and rehabilitation and not as a meassure of the juice you come with. The federal judiciary should not abdicate its role as motel clerk to the Gov't in this way.

Rumpole said...

I always get confused between Monet and Manet....

Anonymous said...

Cooperating witnesses: the only defendants Markus thinks the system should be tough on!