Appeals Court Upholds El Chapo’s Conviction

Handout via REUTERS

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A three-judge panel on the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

The panel rejected Guzmán’s legal team’s claims of juror misconduct, derived from a Vice News Media report featuring comments from the jurors. Guzmán’s attorney Marc Fernich argued that the jurors actively sought out news and information on Guzmán from news reports, which contained allegations barred from the 2018-2019 trial. They also argued Judge Brian Cogan ruled to allow a jury to hear faulty evidence against Guzmán, according to Al Jazeera.

The panel stated that Cogan, “conducted the three-month trial with diligence and fairness, after issuing a series of meticulously crafted pretrial rulings,” noting that of the allegations in the Vice coverage showed the jurors harbored bias toward Guzmán.

Fernich said the alleged juror misconduct should have been better investigated, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“While respecting the Court’s ruling, we’re disappointed that substantial allegations of grave jury misconduct continue to be swept under the rug and left wholly unexamined in a case of historic proportion — all, it appears, because of the defendant’s matchless notoriety,” Fernich said.

In 2019, Guzmán, 64, received a life sentence after numerous witnesses detailed how his Sinaloa cartel amassed billions of dollars in strategic, violent and illegal drug trafficking. His crimes included potentially murdering 3,000 people. (RELATED: These Are The Craziest Things Revealed During El Chapo’s First Week On Trial). 

Before his trial, Guzmán had one simple request for the judge. He wanted to hug his wife. He’d been held in solitary confinement prior to the trial after previously escaping prison twice. He will continue serving his sentence in a federal maximum-security prison in Colorado.