Fourteen Federal Trial Courts Selected for Digital Video Pilot Study

June 22, 2011

The U.S. Courts – The Third Branch in June 2011 released the following:

“Fourteen federal trial courts have been selected to take part in the federal Judiciary’s digital video pilot, which will begin July 18, 2011, and will evaluate the effect of cameras in courtrooms. All 14 courts volunteered to participate in the three-year experiment.

The courts were selected by the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM) in consultation with the Federal Judicial Center, the Judiciary’s research arm. The participating courts are:

  • Middle District of Alabama
  • Northern District of California
  • Southern District of Florida
  • District of Guam
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Southern District of Iowa
  • District of Kansas
  • District of Massachusetts
  • Eastern District of Missouri
  • District of Nebraska
  • Northern District of Ohio
  • Southern District of Ohio
  • Western District of Tennessee
  • Western District of Washington

The pilot will provide for participation by more than 100 U.S. district judges, including judges who favor cameras in court and those who are skeptical of them. Districts volunteering for the pilot must follow guidelines adopted by CACM. The pilot is limited to civil proceedings in which the parties have consented to recording.

No proceedings may be recorded without the approval of the presiding judge, and parties must consent to the recording of each proceeding in a case. The recordings will be made publicly available on http://www.uscourts.gov and on local participating court websites at the court’s discretion.

The pilot recordings will not be simulcast, but will be made available as soon as possible. The presiding judge can choose to stop a recording if it is necessary, for example, to protect the rights of the parties and witnesses, preserve the dignity of the court, or choose not to post the video for public view. Coverage of the prospective jury during voir dire is prohibited, as is coverage of jurors or alternate jurors.

Electronic media coverage of criminal proceedings in federal courts has been expressly prohibited under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 since the criminal rules were adopted in 1946, and by the Judicial Conference since 1972. In 1996, the Conference rescinded its camera coverage prohibition for courts of appeals, and allowed each appellate court discretion to permit broadcasting of oral arguments. To date, two courts of appeals—the Second and the Ninth—allow such coverage. In the early 1990s, the Judicial Conference conducted a pilot program permitting electronic media coverage of civil proceeding in six district courts and two courts of appeals.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Festus Postmaster Convicted of Receipt of Illegal Gratuities Charges, Missouri Direct Mailer & Postal Employee Previously Pled Guilty

June 6, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri on June 6, 2011 released the following press release:

“St. Louis, MO: The United States Attorney’s Office announced that Teresa Tremusini, Festus Postmaster, was convicted of two felony counts of Receipt of Illegal Gratuities. The owner of SG Print & Mail and two Postal employees previously entered guilty pleas in the $3.8 million scheme.

According to court documents and testimony presented at trial, Robert Scott Gray defrauded the U.S. Postal Service by falsely claiming stamps were used on bulk mailings and by concealing documentation of mailings from the Postal Service to avoid payment.

Teresa Tremusini became Postmaster of the Festus, Missouri, Post Office in December 2005. Robert Scott Gray was President and Owner of SG Print & Mail, Inc. Michael A. Jones was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service. Donna Beckman was an employee of SG Print & Mail from January 2005 to September 2007. Her duties included the preparation of the U.S. Postal Service paperwork that accompanied bulk mailings by SG Print & Mail.

SG Print & Mail provided direct mail services to clients. A client would contract with SG Print & Mail to perform a direct mailing, for example, 30,000 mail pieces. Typically, SG Print & Mail contracted with a printer to print the mail pieces. SG Print & Mail would then prepare the direct mailing by placing addresses on each mail piece and sorting the mail pieces by address/zip code for bulk mailing.

Between January 2005 and December 2006, Robert Scott Gray directed Donna Beckman to lie about the number of pre-canceled stamps that they used and to falsify the Postal forms describing how many they had used. Additionally, Gray paid Teresa Tremusini $20,000, payable in two cashier’s checks in August 2006, and in January 2007, and paid Michael Jones $10,000 cash. These payments were in return for the approval of bulk mail postal forms.

The loss to the U.S. Postal Service for these schemes total of approximately $3.8 million.

TERESA TREMUSINI, St. Louis, Missouri, was convicted on Friday, June 3, 2011, on two felony counts of receipt of illegal gratuities and is scheduled for sentencing August 26, 2011.

Robert Scott Gray, Fenton, Missouri, pled guilty in April to five felony counts of mail fraud, four felony counts of making false statements and three felony counts of giving an illegal gratuity. He is scheduled for sentencing July 13, 2011.

Michael A. Jones, Pacific, Missouri, pled guilty in March to one felony count of receipt of illegal gratuity, and will be sentenced on June 16, 2011. Donna Beckman pled guilty earlier this year to two felony counts of mail fraud and awaits sentencing on June 23, 2011.

Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. Each count of making false statements carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. Each count of bribery carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the United States Postal Service-Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Carrie Costantin is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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