|No Trial Date Set in 2015 Adams Terrorism Case |
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
04:46PM / Wednesday, February 22, 2017
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It likely will be at least mid-June before there is any talk of a trial date in the case of the United States vs. Alexander Ciccolo.
On Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson set June 20 for the next hearing in the case, which has dragged on for more than 18 months while the Adams man accused of federal terrorism offenses is held in a Rhode Island detention facility.
Robertson also ordered the exclusion of the time between Wednesday and June 20 from the speedy trial rules while Ciccolo's counsel and the U.S. Attorney's Office continue to discuss what evidence needs to be turned over to the defense.
On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deepika Shukla told Robertson the government had "substantially" completed the process of reviewing what materials it was comfortable turning over to the defense and there was probably "1 or 2 percent" of the material left to vet.
Ciccolo, who was arrested July 4, 2015, was not in court on Wednesday. He is represented by Northampton attorney David Hooose and Ramzi Kassem, a professor at the City University of New York. Kassem participated in Wednesday's hearing remotely but did not speak during the 15-minute status conference.
Hoose told Robertson that he and the government had a "very productive" meeting earlier this winter to discuss the discovery issue.
"The course we felt was productive was, rather than haggle over each request, I suggested the government produce what they feel comfortable with and I could assess [what more is desired]," Hoose said. "They produced in the last several days, and obviously, I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, unredacted materials that we're in the process of matching up with the former materials.
"At this point, it's fair to say we're still assessing what we have and making a determination if we want to make further letter request or will we need to make motions on things the government hasn't produced."
After discussions with both sides, Robertson set March 15 as the deadline for the government to turn over the remaining "1 to 2 percent" of the evidence, April 13 as the deadline for Hoose to decide what new requests he needs to make, May 12 as the date for Hoose to file formal discovery motions to the court, June 2 for the government to file a response and June 20 as the hearing date if one is needed to decide on such motions.
"My inclination is to set the next date in this court as June 20," Robertson said. "If it's a hearing date, it's a hearing date. I hope at that point it's a final status conference. … On June 20, I'd, in any event, set a date for you to appear in front of [U.S. District Judge Mark G.] Mastroianni."
In addition, Robertson told the attorneys that she wanted to be able to report to Mastroianni whether the defense is considering a "public authority or insanity" defense and whether there is talk of a plea deal
"I suppose by June 20, it would be helpful to know whether there … have been any discussions of a resolution short of trial," Robertson said. "I don't know if that's happening in this case. We don't have cases like this in this court."
Neither Hoose nor the U.S. Attorney on Wednesday indicated to Robertson whether a plea had been discussed.