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In re Extradition of Blakeney

November 1, 2010

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF JAHMEL GLEN BLAKENEY,


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gold, S., U.S.M.J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Introduction

Petitioner, United States of America, acting on behalf of the government of Bermuda, seeks the extradition to Bermuda, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, of Jahmel Glen Blakeney, a citizen of the United States and Bermuda ("Blakeney" or "defendant"). This request is made pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3184 and the Extradition Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. See Compl. Ex. A. Blakeney is wanted in Bermuda on charges of attempted murder relating to a shooting of two individuals. Defendant opposes extradition, arguing a lack of probable cause to believe that he committed the charged crimes. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss ("Def. Mem."), Docket Entry 9. More specifically, Blakeney contends that the evidence fails to establish that he was a principal in the attempted murders, as opposed to merely an accessory after the fact. Id.

Neither side requested an evidentiary hearing. Instead, they seek a ruling based on the papers submitted. For the reasons stated below, I conclude that the government's evidence establishes probable cause and that extradition is warranted.

The Treaty

In support of its request for extradition, the government has submitted a 1977 Extradition Treaty and a 1986 Supplementary Extradition Treaty (collectively, the "Treaty").*fn1 Compl. Ex. A. During a telephone conference held on October 6, 2010, I inquired about the applicability of a 2003 Extradition Treaty with Great Britain and Northern Ireland. See S. Treaty Doc. No. 108-23, available at 2003 WL 23527406. By letter dated October 12, 2010, the government states, and defendant agrees, that "Bermuda is not a party to" the more recent treaty.*fn2 Docket Entries 12, 13. Although the government's response is conclusory, the differences in the two treaties are inapplicable for the most part here and applying either treaty would lead to the same result.*fn3

The Treaty provides for extradition upon a showing that the requested individual has been charged with or convicted of an extraditable offense and of probable cause to support the charge. Treaty Arts. III, IX. The defense raises no arguments concerning any technical defects related to the extradition request. See Def. Mem. The only issue to be decided, then, is whether the government of Bermuda has presented sufficient evidence for a finding of probable cause.

Facts*fn4

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on November 13, 2009, Blakeney and his girlfriend were at the Southside Cinema, a movie theater in St. George, Bermuda. Clarke Aff. ¶ 43. Blakeney is a member of the Parkside gang. Id. ¶ 33. At the movie theater, defendant saw Shakai Minors, one of the victims, who is a known member of a rival gang, 42nd Crew. Id. ¶¶ 33, 43. In November of 2009, the gangs were in the midst of a violent feud involving multiple shootings resulting in deaths and serious injuries. Id. ¶ 34.

After seeing Minors, Blakeney contacted Sanchey Grant, his co-defendant on the charges in Bermuda. Id. ¶ 46. Records indicate that Blakeney and Grant spoke by telephone six times between 9:35 and the time of the shooting. Id. After calling Grant, Blakeney drove his girlfriend home, where Grant and Blakeney met at approximately 10:00 p.m. Id. ¶¶ 43, 44. During the drive home, Blakeney's girlfriend, Jalicia Crockwell, sent several text messages to Shaleek Daniels, the girlfriend of another Parkside gang member, in which she suggested that Blakeney was going to meet up with his fellow gang members and do something to a 42nd Crew member he saw at the movie theater. Id. ¶ 44. Excerpts from the text messages read as follows:

Crockwell: "Well um on my way back town . . . pissed n the movie aint even sold out" (omission in original) . . .

Crockwell: "He saw some guy n just ran out . . ."

Daniels: ". . . he saw somebody in thur and ran out, see these lot cnt go places like dat by ...


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