The legal team acting on behalf of Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán have launched a second appeal to overturn his conviction and dismiss the life plus 30 years sentence handed out on 17 July 2019.
Guzmán was found guilty on various charges, including drug trafficking with intent to distribute, homicide, kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms and money laundering. Aside from his custodial sentence, he was also ordered to forfeit in excess of $12.6 billion.
The second appeal was filed with New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals on the evening of Friday 4 September, and consisted of a 245 page dossier. As part of the motion, lawyer Marc Fernich stated, “Chapo Guzmán’s prosecution was marred by rampant excess and overreach, both governmental and judicial.”
Lawyers initially appealed against Guzmán’s sentence on July 18, 2019 – the day after learning of his fate. It was argued that several of the jurors were in violation of the orders of the judge, Brian Cogan, and had been following the case via social media. This appeal was denied.
One of the legal team acting on behalf of Guzmán, Mariel Colón Miró, recently told reporters, “We are very optimistic that something positive will come out of this.” She stated her hopes that the latest appeal will lead to a new trial for the former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. The motion could take between two and five years.
The new appeal reiterates the original jury impropriety, but also states that Guzmán was prevented from associating with his legal team before and during the trial. “These measures of total confinement, extreme torture even when his innocence had to be presumed (before his conviction) violated his fifth and sixth amendments,” Colón said.
Guzmán is currently serving his sentence at ADX Florence, a Supermax prison in Colorado. He arrived there via helicopter, two days after sentencing, on 19 July 2019. Visits to the prison have been banned due to the coronavirus crisis, and Guzmán’s lawyers have been unable to meet with him in person since March of this year.
Mariel Colón Miró recently told CNN, “He’s even more alone now after Covid-19. They completely canceled all visits, legal and social. He was allowed three hours a week of outdoor exercise but that has also been suspended in order to limit his contact with the guards, so of course this has been hard, or harder on him and it has affected Mr. Guzmán emotionally and psychologically in my opinion.”
Guzman spends his time alone in a small 7×12 foot concrete cell However, his lawyers remain optimistic.
“My personal impression is that everyone that is facing a life sentence like that is going to hold on to every piece of hope, and, of course he’s very much looking forward to this appeal because he wants the opportunity to have a fair trial,” said Colon.
DEA Special Agent Ray Donovan said the chances of “El Chapo” getting out of jail are slim.”The one thing you have to understand about the trial is that there is a mountain of evidence against El Chapo.” Donovan spent a great deal of his career chasing down Guzman.
Donovan stated he believes El Chapo will live out the rest of his days alone, in prison.”No one has ever escaped Supermax. He has no chance at all of ever getting out of there.”
Related story: Footage of El Chapo Being Processed at Mexican Jail
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