miscarriage of justice -3 cases-in u.s.a.

A revenge plot so intricate the prosecutors were pawns

July 28, 2011
Faced 25 years behind bars ... Seemona Sumasar. Faced 25 years behind bars ... Seemona Sumasar.
Soon after Seemona Sumasar started dating Jerry Ramrattan, she had an inkling that something might be wrong.
He said he was a police detective, but never seemed to go to work. He seemed obsessed with CSI, Law & Order and other television police dramas.
About a year after he moved into her house in Queens, New York, their relationship soured. One day, he cornered her, taped her mouth and raped her, she said. Ramrattan was arrested.
Jerry Ramrattan ... accused of CSI-style plot. Jerry Ramrattan ... accused of CSI-style plot.
But he soon took his revenge, US authorities said. Drawing on his knowledge of police procedure, gleaned from his time as an informer for law enforcement, he accomplished what prosecutors in New York called one of the most elaborate framing plots that they had ever seen.
One night, Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. "You know you did it," she said one later shouted at her. "Just admit it."
Sumasar, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who was running a restaurant, said she had no idea what that meant. Yet suddenly, she was being treated like a brazen criminal. She was charged with carrying out a series of armed robberies, based on what the police said was a wealth of evidence, including credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle.
In her first extensive interview about her ordeal, she recalled sitting in jail, consumed by one thought: "Jerry is behind this."
But when she insisted to the authorities that he had set her up, they belittled her claims.
Now, though, they concede that Samasar was right - an astonishing turn of events that has transformed her case into one of the most bizarre in the city's recent history.
They released her from jail last December after seven months, acknowledging that the entire case against her had been concocted by Ramrattan, officials said.
"We prosecute tens of thousands of cases each year, but in the collective memory, no one has ever seen anything like this before," said Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney.
"Few people have the capacity to pull off a master plot of this magnitude to exact revenge," Brown said.
Ramrattan framed Samasar because she would not drop the rape charge, prosecutors said.
And so even as Ramrattan remained free on bail in the rape case, Sumasar, who had no prior criminal record, was facing up to 25 years in prison.
Despondent, Sumasar passed her days behind bars scouring the indictments against her for clues that could help prove her innocence, even as news of lurid crimes that she had not committed were splashed in newspapers.
"From the beginning, I said he made it up," Sumasar said. "I never thought my life would become a cop film."
Sumasar, 36, is bubbly and petite. She never finished college but used her analytical skills to land six-figure jobs on Wall Street. Yet she acknowledged she can be too trusting.
After her arrest, she lost her restaurant franchise and her house in Far Rockaway went into foreclosure. She was separated from her daughter, Chiara, 12.
Sumasar is now planning lawsuits against the Police Departments in New York City and in Nassau County, the location of one of her purported robberies, over her arrest. Neither agency would comment.
Ramrattan never worked as a law enforcement officer, prosecutors say, but he often presented himself as a private investigator.
Ramrattan, who is being held at Rikers Island, appeared this month in a Queens court, where a judge refused a request for bail and set his trial date on the rape and conspiracy charges for October 3. He has pleaded not guilty to both.
He and his supporters are now voicing their own theory of the case: Sumasar framed him.
"My son is innocent, he was set up," said Shirley Ramrattan, Jerry Ramrattan's mother.
Ramrattan's lawyer, Frank Kelly, said, "Everything about her and her associates will come out."
Some legal experts say Sumasar's story shows how the American justice system can be easily manipulated, with the principle of innocent until proven guilty turned on its head.
Prosecutors said that the web of false evidence presented by Ramrattan was so detailed they had little reason to doubt it.
But Anthony Grandinette, Sumasar's former lawyer, said law enforcement was negligent.
"Why would a tiny woman with no criminal record, who worked 10 years on Wall Street, randomly hold up people at gunpoint at night dressed as a policewoman?" Grandinette asked.
Sumasar, the daughter of an Indian taxi company owner from the South American nation of Guyana, was the embodiment of immigrant success.
When Ramrattan, dressed in a suit and tie, first entered her restaurant in 2006 and introduced himself as a police detective, Sumasar, a single mother, recalled being impressed.
The two began dating, and Ramrattan eventually moved into Sumasar's house. At first, he seemed attentive, but she grew suspicious of him. He lied constantly, she said.
"I said to Jerry, 'You tell so many lies, I think you actually believe what you are saying,"' Sumasar said.
Throughout 2008, she said she begged him to leave but he refused.
After Sumasar said she was attacked, on March 8, 2009, she pressed rape charges against Ramrattan, who was arrested and released on bail. Soon after, Ramrattan sent friends to intimidate her, prosecutors said.
They said that when she would not back down, he vowed to put her away.
The key to Ramrattan's scheme, prosecutors said, was to spread fake clues over time, fooling police into believing that all the evidence pointed to Sumasar.
They said he coached the supposed victims, driving them past Sumasar's house so that they could describe her Jeep Grand Cherokee and showing them her photo so they could pick her out of a police lineup.
The setup began in September 2009, prosecutors said. An illegal immigrant from Trinidad told the police that he had been handcuffed and robbed of $US700 ($633) by an Indian woman who was disguised as a police officer and had a gun, according to court documents.
Prosecutors said Ramrattan had persuaded the immigrant to lie, telling him that he could receive a special visa for victims of violent crimes.
Six months later, another man said he had been robbed in Nassau County by two police impersonators and described the main aggressor as an Indian woman about Sumasar's height. The man said he had managed to take down the first three letters of the Jeep Grand Cherokee's New York license plate - AJD.
All the while, Sumasar had a strong alibi, including cellphone records showing that calls were made from her phone at a casino in Connecticut on the day of the robbery.
But Sheryl Anania, executive assistant district attorney in Nassau County, said Sumasar's business was foundering, so she appeared to have a motive.
The final fake crime was conjured in May 2010, officials said, when an acquaintance of Ramrattan said she had been held up by a couple posing as police officers. She said they were driving a Grand Cherokee, but she gave a full Florida license plate number.
She said she heard the pair call each other by name - "Seem" and "Elvis." Elvis was the nickname of another former boyfriend of Sumasar, who owned the Jeep.
When the police looked into the Florida plate number, they found that the day after the purported March robbery, the title and the plate for the Cherokee had been transferred from Elvis to Sumasar's sister in Florida.
Sumasar, who holds a Florida driver's licence, had driven the car to Florida to register it. To the police, she seemed to be covering her tracks.
With all the evidence pointing to Sumasar, the police arrested her. Bail was set at $US1 million.
Prosecutors said the scheme unraveled in December 2010 - just weeks before Sumasar was to go on trial - when an informer told the police that Ramrattan had staged the plot. The informer gave detectives a number for a cellphone owned by Ramrattan.
When they checked phone records, they discovered multiple calls to the false witnesses, who confessed to the police. They were charged with perjury.
Today, Sumasar is trying to rebuild her life.
She checks the Rikers website frequently to make sure Ramrattan has not been released or escaped. She once paid for purchases with cash but now uses only credit cards, so there is a paper trail attesting to her whereabouts.
"From the beginning I was presumed guilty - not innocent," she said. "I felt like I never had a chance."
"I can never have faith in justice in this country again."
New York Times

Daughter of Indian diplomat sues NYC for $1.5m

Krittika Biswas Ms Biswas says she has been traumatised by her temporary incarceration in the US

Related Stories

An Indian diplomat's daughter is suing New York City's government for $1.5m after she was wrongfully arrested on suspicion of sending obscene e-mails.
Krittika Biswas was alleged to have sent the e-mails to her high school teacher in February. She was subsequently cleared of the offence.
Her lawyer said that she was unlawfully held by the US authorities for more than 24 hours after her arrest.
There has so far been no comment on her claim from the US authorities.
Ms Biswas - the daughter of the vice counsel at the Indian consulate in Manhattan - claimed that she was ill-treated in prison and was forced to go to the toilet in front of other prisoners.
Her lawyer Rajiv Batra said her arrest on 8 February was a violation of international law, US federal law as well as US state and city law.
He said that the 18-year-old had diplomatic immunity that prevented her from being arrested. US authorities are reported to have argued that immunity did not extend to family members of a diplomat.
She was eventually allowed back into the Queens' John Bowne High School when it emerged that she had not sent the offending e-mails.





Buddhi's father says US trial 'miscarriage of justice'

Agencies Tags : Vikram Buddhi, George Bush, IIT Alumnus Posted: Sat Dec 12 2009, 17:22 hrs Mumbai:
The father of IIT alumnus Vikram Buddhi, who was awarded a nearly five-year jail term by a US court for posting hate messages against former President George W Bush, on Saturday sharply reacted to the verdict saying the trial was unfair and a "total miscarriage of justice".
B K Subbarao, a lawyer and former Navy Captain, also said the 38-year-old PhD student of Purdue University will appeal against the ruling.
"The sentence has come without a straight trial and without any valid indictment because essential facts were not stated in the charges," Subbarao said, terming it a "total miscarriage of justice".
"As the indictment was invalid, he should not have been sentenced. Buddhi, who is defending himself in US court, will now file an appeal in the appellate court in Chicago."
Buddhi was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and an additional three years of supervised release by a US court for posting hate messages in 2006 against Bush and calling for bombings of American infrastructure.

Subbarao said the US criminal Procedure laws required essential facts of the offence to be stated in the charges which was not done in his son's case.
He said the first charge against Buddhi states "on or before December 30, 2005 Vikram Buddhi knowingly and willfully threatened to kill George Bush in violation of section 871 of title 18 US code."
"But nowhere in this charge it was stated how he had threatened. The essential fact was missing and the indictment was invalid. As such, the trial was unfair and sentence should not have been pronounced," Subbarao said
Roxana Saberi And Vikram Buddhi –
Compel A Comparison
By Dr. Buddhi Kotasubbarao
21 April, 2009
Among the ways to measure the greatness of a country, the administration of justice ranks the highest and the military might the least.
A comparison of the case of 31 year old Iranian-American journalist Ms. Roxana Saberi sentenced by Iranian Court and the case of 37 year old Indian Graduate Student of Purdue University Mr. Vikram Buddhi awaiting sentencing after a helpless jury found him guilty in US District Court, has much to show the entrenched preferences of the United States of America.
With all the proclaimed adherence to the rule of law, the administration of justice in the United States fails as badly as in any other country of the world and sometimes even more badly. Neither the powerful and pervasive American media nor the recent popularity of President Barack Obama can hide this fact. Of course, like in any other country, there are people in the United States who are justice minded and rational but their role to set right the things is limited.
Saberi is charged in April 2009 of spying for the United States, convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Buddhi was charged in April 2006 of threatening to kill President Bush and others. The jury, which was deliberately kept ignorant of the law governing the case, found Buddhi guilty in June 2007 and his sentencing is yet to take place. But he has been kept in prison in Chicago, consequent to the jury verdict, awaiting sentence.
According to the media reports, Saberi was at first taken in custody in January 2009 for allegedly buying a bottle of wine, and subjecting her to other charges afterwards. Vikram Buddhi was at first interrogated in January 2006 by US Secret Service for allegedly posting messages on Internet Yahoo space which had called upon the people of Iraq to retaliate the perceived unjust Iraq war and to kill President G W Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others. After thorough interrogation, the US Secret Service set Buddhi completely free in mid-January 2006 and in February 2006 the Secret Service even made a formal report that Buddhi is not a threat to US President or any other person. But for some mysterious reason, the US Secret Service arrested Vikram Buddhi on April 14, 2006 and launched federal prosecution charging that he threatened to kill US President and others.
Saberi’s charge of spying for the United States is criticized because the evidence is not disclosed and the trial is held in secret. Buddhi’s charge of threatening to kill President Bush and others has no evidence at all. If the Internet Messages on Yahoo space were to be treated as the basis for the charge against Buddhi then it is necessary to mention in the charge, the essential fact of Internet Messages and the call given to the people of Iraq through those Messages. But in none of the eleven counts of charge there is even a whisper about the Internet Messages on Yahoo space and the call given to the people of Iraq. Thus the entire charge against Vikram Buddhi is fundamentally flawed. It is not in conformity with the revered Constitution of the United States and the Statutory Law of the United States and the Rules made there under. Moreover, during the jury trial, the Prosecution failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that those Internet Messages were really posted from Buddhi’s computer
IIT graduate Buddhi a free man
By Sumir Singh
In Dec, 2009, I had reported that Vikram Buddhi, an IIT alumnus and a PhD student at Purdue Uni, had been in a Chicago jail for 3.5 years waiting trial. He was jailed in 2007 for using the identities of other people to post online threats against President Bush and others. Vikram insisted that his views were protected under the free speech guarantees of the US Constitution.
On Dec 11, 2009, a US Judge sentenced Vikram to 4 Years and 9 months in prison.  A number of high profile, well connected IIT alumni as well as Indian politicians had campaigned for his release.  In 2009, every major TV station and newspaper had reported this case.
Not much has been heard of this high profile case in the last year or so.  Techgoss had learnt that Vikram Buddhi has been released from prison. And the US Federal Bureau of Prisons has updated their website to announce his release
 [i think he is still in jail]

Walter Bagdasarian Conviction Overturned By Federal Appeals Court

Walter Bagdasarian
AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 7/20/11 11:23 AM ET Updated: 7/20/11 06:11 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of a man who posted Internet messages threatening Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.
A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Walter Bagdasarian's violent and racist screeds against Obama were "repugnant" but not criminal. The court also said it was obvious the San Diego man wasn't planning to attack the candidate and that the postings were protected by Bagdasarian's free speech rights.
Bagdasarian was convicted in 2009 of two felony counts of threatening a major presidential candidate.
Bagdasarian posted several messages to a Yahoo Finance message board in October 2008, including one that called Obama a racial epithet and another that said "he will have a 50 cal in the head soon" - a reference to a .50 caliber gun.
A retired Air Force officer forwarded the postings to the Secret Service. Yahoo provided Bagdasarian's subscriber information to investigators, who raided his house and seized six guns and a hard drive containing an email with similar sentiments.
Bagdasarian admitted posting the messages, but said he was drunk and joking.
He waived his right to a jury trial. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff found him guilty and sentenced him to 60-days in a half-way home.[5 years for buddhi for same?!}
But the appeals panel said no "reasonable person" could have taken seriously Bagdasarian's posts.
"The evidence is not sufficient to support a conclusion that a reasonable person who read the postings within or without the relevant context would have understood either to mean that Bagdasarian threatened to injure or kill the presidential candidate," Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the majority.
The Los Angeles Time

different  treatment for buddhi and walter 
shows the law takes different attitudes for different people