By Lisa Babick | June 15, 2020
It seems that the governmental black hole of Constitutional violations against reputed members of organized crime is getting larger by the minute.
And the person at the helm of this ever-growing black hole appears to be federal judge Cathy Siebel and U.S. Assistant Attorneys Scotten Hagan, Scott Hartman, and surprisingly, Jacqueline Kelly, who disappeared into that gaping black hole after being replaced during Steven Crea’s pre-trial hearings in 2019 but now has apparently crawled out and resurfaced.
While most of the country is focused on corruption and misconduct taking place in police departments, it’s a problem that snakes through to even the highest levels of our justice system, including the FBI, prosecutors, and judges.
And in this story we’re going to focus on two Italian guys who have been caught in its ugly grips: reputed Lucchese Family members Joseph DiNapoli and John Castelucci.
Not only are they battling the beast of corruption, but also the beast of Covid-19, which has sort of taken a backseat in the headlines but still remains a deadly threat, especially to those with serious underlying conditions and especially to those who still sit in our nation’s prison systems where CDC recommendations can’t be followed.
If you remember, 84-year-old Joseph DiNapoli filed for compassionate release back in early May. He wanted to be put on home confinement until the Covid-19 crisis was over because he suffers from serious chronic medical conditions that put him at high risk of dying should he contract this deadly virus, including Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, glaucoma and a myriad of cardiac issues including previous heart valve replacements, open heart surgery, and angioplasty.
On May 18, 2020, Judge Siebel’s ruling included a “strong recommendation” for a medical furlough for DiNapoli. However, her “recommendation” only allowed her to sidestep her judicial duty (she could have and should have made the decision herself) and instead placed that decision in the hands of James Petrucci, the acting warden at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) where DiNapoli is housed.
But really what she did was throw DiNapoli’s request into that governmental black hole we talked about earlier because what better way to get rid of a major bug up your ass then send it into never never land?
After Siebel’s “recommendation,” DiNapoli’s lawyer, Roger Adler immediately sent off a letter to Petrucci but did not and has not gotten any sort of response either positive or negative. We can only guess that somehow Siebel’s ruling took a detour and never got to Petrucci or it could be that Petrucci just hit the black hole button on his computer once the ruling came through.
We don’t know what Petrucci’s stance is on reputed members of “organized crime” is, but we do know what Siebel’s is, and it certainly doesn’t align with her oath of being a fair and impartial judge.
And while we’re not going to get into the nitty-gritty of her past rulings, she does have a history of not being fair and impartial even in those cases not related to “organized crime” – though that area is her favorite to smash down with her hammer of injustice.
To be fair, we did reach out to the MCC and Petrucci TWICE but have not received a response.
So, the question is what happened to Siebel’s”recommendation,” and why isn’t DiNapoli even being given the courtesy of a response? It’s not that hard to say “yay” or “nay” unless Petrucci, Siebel, and all her minions are hoping if they stall long enough, maybe DiNapoli will become a Covid-19 victim and the issue will be mute.
On June 10, 2020 after not receiving any response from Petrucci or DiNapoli’s assigned inmate counselor after numerous letters and phone calls, Adler sent off a letter to Judge Siebel seeking a resolution, not only citing 8th amendment violations, but also informing the Court that DiNapoli had come into contact with a fellow inmate who tested positive for coronavirus, which makes DiNapoli’s situation even more dire.
Yet, once again, Siebel sidestepped her judicial duty on June 11, 2020 by “ordering” the goverment to “look into the matter.” Not only that, but she has also apparently become a licensed medical professional in her spare time because she stated she has been provided “no medical reason to believe that daily finger sticks or Ozempic (a diabetic medication to increase insulin production) are necessary, as opposed to preferred.”
That’s an odd statement to make considering she was supplied with documentation from DiNapoli’s medical doctor back in May. But then again, she did question whether the doctor’s signature was forged so maybe she tossed off that documentation as a fabrication perhaps because she and her team are so well-versed in that method of operation (read our Crea story for more on that) that she thinks everybody else must follow that down and dirty playbook, too.
If allowing a man to be exposed to potential death which is out of his control can’t be considered “cruel and unusual punishment,” we don’t know what is. And truthfully, her need to impose sentencing beyond the recommended time also violates the 8th Amendment which protects individuals from “excessive” punishment. She’s batting 1000 so far, and we haven’t even gotten to John Castelucci’s story yet.
So, we’ll patiently wait to see what her deceitful minions come up with – if they even respond at all – on June 17. We’re sure they’ll look into it in the most fair way possible.
By the way, the American Diabetes Association, which is a more authoritative source on diabetic procedures than Judge Siebel’s half-assed medical knowledge, says at the very top of its home page that “Blood glucose (blood sugar) monitoring is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood glucose levels are within your target range.”
Who would put your faith in? A judge with a vendetta or an association that has been at the forefront of the disease for 81 years?
Before we move on to John Castelucci, it should be noted that Castelucci’s brother, Eugene Castelle, was recently granted compassionate release and put on home confinement for the same medical conditions that put him at risk for catching Covid-19 as DiNapoli.
However, Castelle was lucky enough to have his case presented before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein who does take his judicial oath to be fair and impartial quite seriously. Kind of ironic isn’t it, especially after you read what we’re about to tell you regarding Castelucci’s travails with the “honorable” Judge Cathy Siebel.
Like his brother and Joseph DiNapoli before him, John Castelucci filed for compassionate release and home confinement due to his age and medical conditions that put him at risk of catching Covid-19.
However, unlike his brother but very much like DiNapoli, Castelucci had to face Judge Siebel, so we pretty much know how this story is going to end.
But what’s interesting here is that Castelucci’s request was denied even though he has only six more months to serve on his sentence, while his brother Eugene was released to home confinement after only serving nine months of a 77-month sentence.
And there’s even more disturbing aspects to Castelucci’s story.
When Castelucci originally filed his request through his lawyer on April 5, 2020, the BOP told him he had to file the request himself, which he then did. The BOP approved it on April 30, 2020, and even conducted, according to Castelucci’s lawyer Chris Cardillo “a virtual inspection of Mr. Castelucci’s future home.” The BOP also informed Castelucci that he would be “going home shortly” and even updated his release date on the Bureau of Prison’s website.
But then, a few days later that decision was reversed because they learned he had a “violent felony conviction (on his record) from approximately 20 years ago.” He was convicted in 2000 on drug trafficking, extortion and loansharking charges.
So, Cardillo took it to the Court and the rest, as they say, is history. However, it should be noted that in her denial, Siebel referenced something quite unusual in her claim that Castelucci was a “danger to the community.”
She based part of her decision on the uncorroborated testimony of a government witness by the name of John Pennisi who had testified at Crea’s 2019 trial that Castelucci ordered him to give Crea’s former son-in-law, Edward Davidson, a “hospital beating” back in 2016 – an event that Pennisi couldn’t even get around to doing himself after months of trying
Plus, this “beating” took place a year after Davidson and Crea’s daughter divorced and this “violent beating” wasn’t anywhere near what you would think of considering Davidson, in his own testimony right after Pennisi’s turn on the stand, said it was done with some sort of rubber tubing that didn’t require him to go to the hospital.
It was such a mild “beating, that he didn’t even report it to the police. In fact, Davidson said that as it was happening, one of the perpetrators yelled something to the effect of “stop messing with the wife” which would be an odd thing for someone to say since Davidson was already divorced by that time. And let’s not forget that this was a charge that wasn’t even brought against either Castelucci or Crea.
So, why was Siebel bringing it up as one of the reasons for denial?
Could it be that she needed it to explain away the fact that Castelucci was allowed to self-surrender three months after his sentencing which would prove the “danger to the community” argument mute? Because if he was such a “danger to the community,” why was he allowed that accommodation after he pled guilty to charges that included extortion, no less?
And throughout his entire criminal history, not once has he ever violated any rules or conditions of bail or supervised release. Yet, six months left in this current sentence and home confinement isn’t even an option?
One other thing that needs to be pointed out is that Castelucci entered the BOP’s Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) which helps inmates with substance abuse problems prepare for life outside prison. He was given a glowing review by one of the counselors who stated, “Mr. Castelucci has demonstrated that he is invested in change and committed to the treatment process.”
Yet, just like she did with DiNapoli’s doctor’s signature, Siebel questioned the authenticity of Castelucci’s entrance into that program, claiming that someone at the BOP was “fooled or compromised or monumentally careless.”
Making judgments without proof – just like a fair and impartial judge should be doing.
We want to make it clear that we are aware that both DiNapoli and Castelucci are convicted criminals. However, that does not and should not deny them their Constitutional rights. They are U.S. citizens and this isn’t Russia, is it?
The Constitution is supposed to work for all of us, but as we’ve seen, it all depends on how the presiding judge chooses to interpret that sacred document.
And at least in one judge’s case – aka Judge Siebel – the Constitution just doesn’t exist when it comes to reputed members of organized crime.
This article was originally posted “here“