One Case, One Judge, Lots of Law

When last Eastern District of New York Judge Jack Weinstein’s decision in Peter Polizzi’s prosecution was discussed, it was because the judge held that  Polizzi was entitled to let the jury know the consequences of their decision.  As many predicted, the 2d Circuit reversed, and Polizzi (whose name is now spelled Polouilizzi) is back.  And making more law.

From the New York Law Journal,



[Judge Weinstein] found that the monitoring, mandated by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, constitutes unconstitutionally excessive bail and violates defendant Peter Polouizzi’s procedural due process rights.


“The basic defect of the Adam Walsh Act, as applied, is that it imposes a mandatory limit on freedom of an accused without permitting an ‘adversary hearing,’” Weinstein held in United States v. Polouizzi (Polizzi), 06-cr-22.

When the case was sent back to Judge Weinstein by the Circuit, the Adam Walsh act required the court to impose,as a mandatory condition of bail, that he wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.  No big deal?  Not according to Judge Weinstein.


“Required wearing of an electronic bracelet, every minute of every day, with the government capable of tracking a person not yet convicted as if he were a feral animal would be considered a serious limitation on freedom by most liberty-loving Americans.”
Of course, feral animal is exactly the sort of description that one would expect from John Walsh.  He’s not particularly “liberty-loving” when it comes to taking any risk with someone accused of a crime. 

The case has been twice dismissed by Judge Weinstein, and the government’s appeal of the second dismissal is pending.  Polouizzi’s lawyer, Mitchell Dinnerstein, has his hands full with this case, but keeps pushing.  Not too many lawyers have to deal with release conditions after a second dismissal, second government appeal in federal court.  It’s like a full time job, and far too easy to burn out in the process.  Instead, Dinnerstein has continued to push hard, and he’s done an incredibly good job, judging from the results.

In a strange sort of way, one can only hope that the Circuit reverses again, and maybe a few more times, so that Judge Weinstein can render a few more decisions in this case.  After all, there are still some applicable and misguided laws that he’s yet to rip to shreds.  Given enough time and the right circumstances, the Polizzi/Polouizzi case may well produce more law, and good law, than any other case I can recall. 

And if you’re inclined to raise a glass of wine in the next night or two, perhaps you would consider a toast to Judge Weinstein’s continued good health.

H/T Sentencing Law & Policy

One comment on “One Case, One Judge, Lots of Law

  1. Laura from Cabo

    I believe in the Denver metro area, some judges impose an electronic monitoring device that supposedly measures alcohol in the blood routinely for first-offense DUI defendants. Interestingly, if the individual is convicted of DUI a no-drinking probation condition is not typically imposed. In addition, the DA’s lobby in Colo. passed years back a bond violation law, that is enforced capricously or vindictively, but rarely logicially. The no drinking at all bond condition (even with no monitor) is routine. Should a DA choose to charge it, the penalty is a six-month minimum mandatory, consecutive to any other sentence. The cases there drag on forever, so these bond conditions are like short-leash probation prior to conviction.

    For felony bonds, a violation carries a one-year min man consec.

    Anyone practice anywhere else with these laws or any fellow Coloradans?

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