Mexican cartel leader ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s life sentence upheld after New York court rejects his appeal
- The 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has denied Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s request for a new trial
- El Chapo and his lawyers argued that the members of the jury were following the trial in the media
- A juror, whose name has not been released, told Vice News that at least five jurors followed the case by following news coverage of the trial.
- The 64-year-old Sinaloa cartel co-founder was found guilty in February 2019
- El Chapo is serving his life sentence at ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado
- The facility is the most secure prison in the country; Ted Kaczynski, also known as The Unabomber, is being held in the same prison
A federal appeals court in New York has upheld the life sentence of Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The 2nd Court of Appeals for the U.S. Circuit in Manhattan has dismissed El Chapo’s claims that several members of the jury closely followed his high-profile case throughout his three-month trial.
The court also rejected several other arguments the notorious kingpin had raised to seek a new trial, including that his conditions of detention were deplorable and that the US government had selectively targeted him for prosecution.
“I’m sure Mr. Guzmán will seek Supreme Court review,” the defendant’s attorney, Marc Fernich, said in an email.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace’s office in Brooklyn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s bid for a new trial was rejected by a federal appeals court in New York on Tuesday
The 64-year-old was convicted of 10 counts in February 2019, including trafficking billions of dollars in drugs and conspiracy to assassinate enemies as a co-founder of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.
El Chapo is serving a life sentence at ADX Florence, Colorado’s most secure federal prison, and was also ordered to forfeit $12.7 billion.
The convicted cartel boss‘s legal team based their appeal on a Vice News article published a week after the verdict, in which an anonymous juror said that at least five other jurors followed media coverage of the trial and lied on this subject to the president of the court.
The coverage included accusations that Guzmán drugged and raped teenage girls, which his attorneys denied and U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan refused to allow the trial.
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán (pictured during his July 17, 2019 sentencing) was found guilty of 10 counts by a federal jury in New York in February 2019
El Chapo will continue to serve his life sentence at ADX Florence in Florece, Colorado. No prisoner has ever escaped from a super maximum security facility
In high-profile cases, judges typically order jurors not to follow their trials in newspapers, on television, and on the Internet.
Circuit Judge Jon Newman said the anonymous juror’s unsworn and unsubstantiated statements to Vice News were not ‘clear, strong, substantial and irrefutable evidence’ compelling Cogan to bring jurors back for a hearing into their conduct .
“None of the allegations in the Vice News article show that a juror was not impartial, harbored bias against Guzmán, or was otherwise unfit to serve,” Newman wrote.
El Chapo is confined to a 7ft by 12ft concrete cell with double doors in a section dubbed “Range 13” for 23 hours a day and is only allowed to leave his quarters for one hour.
His lawyer, Mariel Colón, told Univision in September 2019 that he had vision problems and complained about a bad haircut because the hairstylist couldn’t communicate with him in Spanish.
El Chapo is only allowed one phone call a month and can only be visited by his 10-year-old Los Angeles-born daughters.
His wife, Emma Coronel, who was sentenced to three years in prison in November 2021 for pleading guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges, is barred from contacting him.