Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For Ringleader Of "Rogue" Cops Trial Prep A Problem

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Defense lawyer Jeffrey Miller is having a tough time preparing for trial.

His client, former Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Liciardello, has been held without bail for six months in the SHU, or Special Housing Unit, AKA "the hole."

Liciardello, the feds say, is the alleged ringleader of a rogue band of six former narcotics cops charged in a 26-count federal racketeering indictment with stealing more than $500,000 in cash, drugs and personal property. While on their crime spree, the feds claim, the narcs allegedly used excessive force, kidnapped drug dealers and falsified police reports to cover their tracks.

The government in discovery has turned over to defense lawyers some 77,000 pages of documents on computer discs. But Liciardello, who's in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, can only call his lawyer once a week. Liciardello also doesn't have his own computer to review any of the documents that will be used as evidence in his trial scheduled to begin on March 30. Meanwhile, the other five defendants in the case are all out on bail and all have their own computers.

"You can't prepare for trial like this," Miller complained to U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno.

On his floor in the SHU, Liciardello has to share one computer with 40 inmates, Miller told the judge. His client "stands in line" in the SHU to get access to that one computer so he can review documents in his case, Miller told the judge. The defense lawyer pleaded with Judge Robreno to let his client out off jail so he could prepare for trial while wearing an electronic ankle bracelet on house arrest.

"I'll go to his home," Miller offered.

Robreno, however, who has already denied bail twice for Liciardello, denied it a third time today during a pre-trial conference. The judge, however, did say he would talk to the magistrate assigned to the case to see if an "immediate" hearing can be held to figure out how to help Liciardello and his lawyer prepare for trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek didn't seem too concerned about Liciardello's lack of trial prep. The prosecutor told the judge he didn't want to turn defense lawyer Miller into a pack mule, but that Miller always had the option of making paper copies of the documents and dropping them off for his client to read at the SHU.

But Miller said that the corrections officers at the SHU will not allow Liciardello to keep documents in his cell. They make the lawyer take the documents with him when he goes out the door.

"I couldn't leave it with him," Miller said about documents he has brought to jail. And the government has given him way too many documents to copy.

"We're talking about 77,000 pages," Miller reminded the judge.

Another defense lawyer in the case, James J. Binns, is spending some 10 hours a day with his client, former Officer Michael Spicer, Miller told the judge. "I'm lucky if I get 10-to-15 minutes" on the phone with Liciardello, Miller said.

The defense lawyer asked the judge to provide Liciardello with his own laptop so he can review the documents in the case.

"It's crucial for trial prep," Miller told the judge.

"I'll call him up," the judge said about the magistrate.

Today's pretrial conference lasted almost 90 minutes. It began when the judge told the lawyers in the case that he was probably going to need some 200 potential jurors during jury selection, scheduled to begin March 16.

We'll bring them in 60 at a time, the judge said. Lawyers in the case will pick twelve jurors and six alternates. When the case gets started, the judge said, he'll whittle the amount of alternates to just four. 

The judge wanted to have two spare alternates in case any of the jurors, or the alternates, come down with a case of "buyer's remorse." Robreno said his experience has been that after agreeing to sit in on a lengthy trial a couple of jurors will often bag out.

The defense will have 13 preemptory strikes; the government, 7, the judge said. The judge said that during jury selection he would give each side three other strikes.

The case is expected to last eight weeks, during which the prosecutor said he expects to call some 80 witnesses.

Michael J. Diamondstein, the defense lawyer who represents former Officer Jonathan Speiser, told the judge he has waded through all the government documents turned over during discovery. And Diamonstein has a problem.

"We've reviewed it all and there's nothing there," Diamondstein told the judge. "I don't know what it is that my client did that was illegal."

Diamondstein said that none of the government documents in the case even mention his client.

"He's lost his job, he's lost his good name," the defense lawyer told the judge about his client. And the defense lawyer still doesn't know why.

 The lawyer said he was asking the judge for a bill of particulars, a motion that the judge said he would take under advisement.

In response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wzorek told the judge that there's no mystery here. Speiser participated in a conspiracy, the prosecutor said. He was part of "a crew" that robbed and beat people, the prosecutor said.

45 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Where were you Ralph?

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    1. I've been working on a book about Vince Fumo. George has just published a new book, "Gotti's Rules," now available on amazon.com:

      http://www.amazon.com/Gottis-Rules-Junior-Demise-American/dp/0062346873/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423049098&sr=8-1&keywords=george+anastasia

      But we are back and this site is back in business.

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  5. I too was wondering if you closed shop. I am glad you are back Ralph. I enjoy reading your post. Extremely informative!

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  6. Truth be said i hope the cops get found not guilty screw them drug dealing hood rats

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    1. The defense lawyers in the case are extremely confident. There's a lot going on here that doesn't make sense. I really don't get how one defendant can be stuck in the hole and the others out on bail preparing for the same trial, with 77,000 pages of government documents to read. How on earth can that be justified?

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    2. Im no lawyer Ralph but u would think down the road depending on the verdict there could be an appeal on certain protocol u would think. Also love ur work on the Billy Doe case. U and George should be pretty busy then with three cases coming up in next 12 wks. Again keep up the Great work Ralph.

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  7. Our prayers are with u and ur familys through these trying times God bless .

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    1. Good luck in March Boys.
      BONA FORTUNA ....!!!!"

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  8. Thought this website went bust too. Wonder if Beasley is cutting funds for this endeavor. Are the other writers gone?

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    1. It.s a baby sitting Job screening the comments im sure George hates the e mails about comments by those who take cheap shots and don.t post there names can.t blame him and Ralph for that. It get.s old real quick. I suppse they can block people who repeat nadty comments not really sure

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    2. Oh ya and im sure the money is.nt that great either.

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    3. I'd invite the audience to stay on topic. This isn't the place to talk about Uncle Joe. If you do expect to get whacked. If it keeps up I will just have to shut down all the comments.

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    4. We're still in business and all of our correspondents are happy.

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    5. I thought the Catholic Church shut you down.

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  9. It seems that the Judge in this case is a snob. He gives such bad answers to the defense attorneys. A request for a bill of particulars seems reasonable-why take it under advisement. The man needs to prepare for his case whereto we like him or not. Federal judges need to be elected. That appointment for life is just pure bullshit. Look at how they think? They are rubber stamps for the US Attorneys anyway.

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    1. I think Robreno is a man of integrity. He does what he wants and does not care who likes it.Just because he does not tolerate idiots that put themselves in bad positions, does not mean he is a snob. I don't know the facts of this case totally and I am not calling police idiots, but he is a more stand up judge.

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    2. Why cause it's a dirty cop sitting in jail waiting for trial. Not a drug dealer or a gangster. Judge Robrebo gave my friend 44 yrs in jail for purchase of fake P2P a chemical that makes meth. He was intrapped by the Fed's. He should have walked free now poor Tommy who ran around the streets robbing and stealing pistol whipping ppl just to fill his pockets. There keeping him in there cause there were other narc cop's that did the same thing capt sergeants the list goes on. They are trying to break him. They will he is a bitch. I waiting for the Kelly brother to get picked up. They were worse than Tommy

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  10. Robreno hates Italians

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    1. Are u for real its got nothing to do with italians. The guy don.t play dot ur i.s cross ur t.s. Present ur case defend ur case and let the Jurors decide the defendents fate based on the information given. And don.t act like a ass hole like Sal Pullulo in the court room. Mr Robreno Just a pure professional of his craft and has no time for nonsense period no mattet what race u are. Not like the Judges and DA Seth Williams who drop the Ball by putting Junkie Billy Doe on the stand. Mr Robreno is a class act and knows his work enough said.

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    2. Is that dot your I's and cross your T's? You're right, the jurors are supposed to base the verdict on the information presented to them during trial...Robreno decides what those jurors get to hear!

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  11. Why is he in in the SHU in the first place??

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    1. Probably for his own protection. A cop in jail is not in a good place.

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  12. He's there just because he's a cop from what I've been told.

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  13. Poor judgment by the US Attorney's office for treating the cop in the hole by denying him 77,000 pages to read and prep for his trial. That is almost certainly guaranteed to get the charges dismissed by a judge once he is made aware of this.

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  14. hey big trial. Net Georgia Anastasia put the comment section back on

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    1. Satin.s step childFebruary 7, 2015 at 5:13 PM

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    1. open up and take it like men. just like you al gave it.(mob guys) open it up big trail. net

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  17. Satin.s step ChildFebruary 7, 2015 at 5:26 PM

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  18. Satin.s step ChildFebruary 7, 2015 at 5:31 PM

    OH WISH ALL THE OFFICERS WHO WERE CHARGED THE BEST OF LUCK IN UR UP COMING TRIAL.

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  20. Satin.s Step ChildFebruary 8, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    The reason they get nasty on hear is on purpose so that George A gets aggravated and shuts the mob comment sectoon down.
    This has been going on for the last 1 1/2 the only reason it ladyed a day this time is nobody knew George and Ralph were psting again. There is a way to shut down those who don.t get it iv.e seen it on other sites and it works without shutting vommemt dection just saying nut i know u have to put in more time to baby sit and the money must not be worth the time it tskes to decipher the few who want it down purposely like Uncle Joe Georgie and mazzicas who don.t like to hear the truth so will just shut the comment section down to appease them.

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  21. Truth be said do ur Job and delete what u don.t like posted if u feel ur not paid enough to check through each morning them illinate commemts altogether because the hatred from both sides of this forum for mob articles and the Billy doe Catholic bullshit is off the charts. And ya im one who gets carried away too but to hear these idiots post the same shit is annoying but its done purposely so that comment section is shut down so it might be easier to check it each day and scew them who.s feelings get hurt for few hrs there.s a solution don.t read the blog ur not gonna like what u read if u have thin skin as for the haters hate ur family idiot who put u in the lime lite instead of the familys ur idiot brother or father ruined. Its easier to blame others and harder to look ur asshole family member in the face and tell him he.s wrong. And for the post above ignore it cant correct the misspelling but u get my point im sure.

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  23. Hey u guys don't get that much traffic that you can shut the comments down. If you take away what people want to read about u will be out of business soon

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