Raniere Chances on Appeal May Depend on Who the Judges Are

Second Circuit Court of Appeals New York
A hearing in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Keith Raniere is expected to appeal his conviction to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit within the next few months.
What are the odds of him gaining a complete reversal of his conviction?
A complete reversal would mean his conviction would be vacated and the Department of Justice would either choose to recharge him and he would face a new trial [most likely] or he would walk out of prison a free man [highly unlikely].
A study done a few years ago, which appeared in Prison Legal News –  What Are the Odds of Complete Reversal After Conviction in the Second Circuit? –  shows that the odds for any appellant in the federal system are slim to begin with.
The study focused on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – the court where Raniere’s appeal will be heard. The Second Circuit is one of 13 United States Courts of Appeals, and hears appeals from federal trials from Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.
According to the study, a complete reversal of a conviction occurred less than 4 percent of the time in the Second Circuit.
However, some appellate judges voted for reversals almost 9 percent of the time, while others were near zero.
“The results of our survey,” Prison Legal News reports, “strongly suggest that an appellant’s odds of winning a complete reversal in a close case brought in the Second Circuit are largely determined by which three-judge panel hears the appeal. By any yardstick, this seems random and unfair.”
To complete their report, Prison Legal News reviewed 1985 decisions involving direct appeals from trial convictions in the Second Circuit that were decided by the Second Circuit between January 1, 2000, and May 31, 2013.
The article states, “It is often said that defendants are entitled to a fair trial, not a perfect trial, and so the percentage of complete reversals should reflect the percentage of cases in which appellate judges determined that the defendant did not receive a fundamentally fair trial. If the judges are guided by this rule, then it follows that they collectively believe that more than 96 percent of trials are fundamentally fair; our research reveals that over the 13 years we examined, the rate of complete reversals was approximately 3.78 percent…

“These are enlightening statistics, but they don’t tell the whole story.

“Attorney Roy Cohn famously said, ‘Don’t tell me what the law is, tell me who the judge is.’ Cohn, of course, was referring to trial-level judges and to a slightly different phenomenon than what is typically encountered at the appellate level, but it is no less — and possibly more — true when it comes to appeals, where a judge’s philosophy of appellate review of criminal convictions may trump all other predictors of success when close issues are presented.”

Reversal Rates

The authors of the report, Richard Levitt and Peter Schmidt, reviewed reversal rates of every Second Circuit judge on every panel.
They wrote, “Reversal rates of current Second Circuit judges who sat on at least 50 panels reviewing convictions after trial ranged from 0 percent, .8 percent and 1.6 percent (Judges Lynch, Livingston and Raggi), to 6.6 percent, 7.7 percent and 8.8 percent (Judges Jacobs, Calabresi and Parker). That’s quite a difference. If you draw a panel of judges with the lowest reversal rates, your odds of prevailing, even with an arguably meritorious issue, are vanishingly small. Draw a panel of judges with the highest reversal rates and your chances increase almost ten-fold.”

The article does not address what causes this disparity.

One thing seems clear, however: if it is true that Raniere, or for that matter any appellant, has any hope at all, the panel of judges assigned to hear his appeal may have more to do with his prospects of winning, than legal arguments.
That in itself is a fascinating due process issue.
As the authors of the study wrote,  “And so the next time a defendant in a criminal case asks whether he has a shot at winning a complete reversal of his conviction in the Second Circuit, his attorney can say, ‘I’ll let you know when the panel assignments are published.'”


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Frank Parlato


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  • Do all people have the right to gain a complete reversal of his conviction? Can the judge be wrong? I believe that yes and from my point of view there are many inconsistencies in the outcome of his trial.

  • It was evident that Judge Garaufis breached his obligation as mediator between the parties and contrary to a sense of fairness, in the trial of Keith Raniere, since, arguing false criticism of defense attorney Marc Agnfilo, of treating the witness Lauren with harassment and other qualifiers of false moralities, which had nothing to do with the cause, but which did impact the Jury, fostering hatred and resentment towards the accused and sympathy for the witness, situations outside due process, since their actions are contrary to the constitutional requirement of compliance with fairness in the criminal process, which translates into serious violations of the Constitution that affected the defendant’s defenses and left him defenseless, sufficient reasons for the annulment of the trial in question.

  • Mr. Raniere defense decided to present a motion to annul the trial, as an effect of the attitude assumed by Judge Garaufis of suspending the examination of the witness, when the defense questioned about transcendental situations of the trial, which is illegal and therefore, from the annulment. Now, the defense also decided not to call Lauren back to the stand, I suppose the reason was the same, the attitude of the judge protecting the witness and that the truth that she knows was not known, because it would benefit the accused, which is not would allow, for which she did not interrogate her again, the defense, considering that she could already be influenced against the accused and will be counterproductive for the case.

  • “Raniere Chances on Appeal May Depend on Who the Judges Are” So justice is not justice, it depends on who the Judges are and how they want to apply what they want. Is not that what you are implying? .

  • This was helpful. Side note though: I didn’t need to hear what you do and don’t doubt about the future of the case. The statistics were good enough.

  • The declaration of impact on the victim is a right to decide for the court, in the sentence, the consequences in which the crime affected him personally, in his family or in his environment, now if it is a right to the victim.

    And in the case of Camila, she is not, since there is no complaint from the Prosecutor’s Office against Keith Raniere in that sense, then it is clear that her statement in court had no reason to be and yet it was allowed, which suggests that it was orchestrated with the aim of further damaging the image of the accused, which is contrary to law and illegal, forming part of one more of the irregularities of due process.

    • Please give me a statutory citation — or a case reference — to back up your assertion that that “Victim Statements” are “contrary to law and illegal”. Those are kind of insipid statements that make many Frank Report readers not give any weight to anything you write.

      BTW, Keith was not an “accused” at the time Camila read her statement in court. He was, in fact, a convicted defendant who had been found guilty of committing seven felonies — and who had also been found to have committed sixteen other criminal acts.

  • It is sad that second circuit works like this statistic show.

    That the appellant future depends on the judge selection is terrible.

    The almost tenfold difference make justice unfair.

    The judges decide not the law.

    And the question is who truly decides who the judges will be?

    Is there powerful people with interest in a biased trial and appellation? If so the odds are even worse.

    Can it be that the same bias of the trial would be seen again in the appellation?

    It has been suggested the justice system curruption and it seems that this is more of the same.

    • Do you honestly not know how judges are appointed? Are you asking questions just for fun? Have you heard of Google? Or maybe there’s a “The court system for dummies” book? And good job getting “bias” in there! Wouldn’t be a nx’er without that word!

  • Great reporting!

    Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to reform our justice. Every choice is rife with pitfalls and biases.

    Thank you for covering the whole story and not a slanted narrative.

  • Justice was never unfair for Raniere until he was finally caught and brought to justice for his crimes. He used the system just fine without a second thought about the damage he caused to people’s lives.

    So why feel anything for this man who has done so much damage now that he is in what he says is an “unfair” system?

    He spent millions of other people money (mostly Sara and Clare Bronfman’s) suing people over lies he made up about them “just because” he could using what he now calls this unfair system because it allowed him to sue people without having to prove anything to do so. Sometimes he could do this for over a decade.

    Now he is in his own tangled web he created for himself due to his choice of criminal activity and he, his NXVIM 5, and other close followers are saying “it’s unfair” when the shoe is on the other foot.

    While they get to spend millions that others didn’t have when NXIVM sues them. When you add up all the time Raniere has used in the US court system, that is unfair to the American taxpayers.

    Now our time gets eaten away reading his crybaby stories and his continued lies yelling foul play. Raniere has finally got what was coming to him, what he knew was coming someday and he would get caught for all his illegal behavior. That is why Nancy Salzman and he had a stash of runaway money saved for Raniere. Didn’t Kristen Keeffee mention that in one of her interviews or her call with Barbara Bouchey?

    What’s that saying? If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    As millions of Americans are yelling out on social media for JUSTICE this past year, to stop killing unarmed Black men and women, for those who stormed the Capitol building on January 6th to be held accountable, we too, who are sick and tired of Cult Leaders getting away with abusive and criminal activity, have seen justice upheld with Raniere, Nancy &amp Lauren Salzman, Clare Bronfman, Allison Maci and maybe Kathy Russel.

    We got our plea deals, we got our six weeks in court, and our convictions. Keith Raniere had his chance at a nice plea deal. His ego wouldn’t let him take it. I for one am glad for that. I’m happy he will spend the rest of his life in prison instead of getting out after 16 years.

    To whoever is paying for his defense, spend your money, waste these years trying to free your Master. In the end, you might shave off some years. Maybe even 40 if you are lucky. In the end, what do you get? Raniere will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. We have finally won our battle of good vs bad. He destroyed value. Not only millions of dollars but too many people’s lives when he could have spent it building a good thing. His need for power, money, and sex got in the way. You are too blind to see this now. You believe it isn’t justice but it’s the truth you cannot see right now.

  • Good article-

    “winning a complete reversal in a close case brought in the Second Circuit are largely determined by which three-judge panel hears the appeal. By any yardstick, this seems random and unfair.”

    The American Justice System is not fair, but it’s the best system we have. The law is subjective in nature. How will you ever change that aspect?

  • Question for Frank, or Maybe Claviger…

    If the 3 judge panel reverses, is it legally allowable for the government to petition the court for a full en banc hearing?

    This case is so politically charged (me too movement) that there’s no way the rest of the court would allow an alleged sex slaver to go free, especially in the current political environment. Judges are just as political as every other politician.

    Or is the government not allowed to make such a request if they lose the appeal?

  • The chances of a former DOS slave getting back her monthly drop box pornographic blackmail ?


    A former sex slave who was unknowingly branded with Keith Raniere’s initials has what chance of the brand ever just disappearing without expensive, painful cosmetic surgery (which still leaves a scar)?


    Chances of getting cancer of the cervix from Keith Raniere supplied HPV?

    Disturbingly high. Maybe 63% of cervical cancer per about 3500 women is from HPV.

    The woman must be monitored in at least 6-month intervals for pre-cancer cells for how long?

    For life.

    • I am glad you brought up the HPV. Keith knew he was a carrier of HPV. I wonder if he informed any of the women he was a carrier.

      The men who have oral sex with those women are at risk for throat cancer.

      Poor SOP saps like Jim Del Negro are at risk.

  • Great article. I find this terrifying on our justice system. Numbers are shocking and the fact that we all know about this and this keeps going on just shows how powerful and problematic our system is.

  • “The article does not address what causes this disparity.”

    Umm…that’s a significant question.

    Finding out such causes for disparity is what helps to determine whether the judges actually suffer from bias or the judges just happen to land cases that are more open to appeal. In the meantime, there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

  • I have known about this study for a long time. Therefore, this topic is not new for me, but interesting for other readers, beyond the Raniere case.

  • Interesting statistics, Frank. I have read your website’s articles about the additional post-trial evidence and was absolutely dumbfounded that this case made it all the way through our justice system the way it did.

    Where did we go so far astray from due process? Who had the authority to take Raniere from Mexico and bring him to the USA? Based on what I have put together so far, I think this guy should be released simply because of how poorly this case was handled. What is going on in this country?!

    • Sup. This Nicki? Got to be one of the five. One of these days will get bored and attempt to match writing styles.

      • Dumbfounded for once seems to be appropriately descriptive. This has been going on for years at this point with Autonomou,…oopsie, Anonymous. Possibly trenchmouth? Is that still a condition?

  • Even 8.8 percent aren’t the odds worth betting on at any Kentucky Derby or steeplechase, unless you socialize in only calling longshots. Mr. Parlato, I asked mah godfather’s advice about these kinds of odds.

    Before I heard him slam down the payphone in the gamblers’ hall of hell and hail, he broke into a refrain from a Kenny Roger’s song about knowing when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

    So, um. So what, really? Now on to get the cooks busy enough to scald Sara Bronfman in some bouillabaisse with hot chili peppers, for your next article. We coiffure angels never touch bouillabaisse, because uck.💸

    How long must one wait before Suneel begins to market candles labeled This Smells Like My Master’s Penis? Like Paltrow, for only $75.00+. Burning down the house. Remember that song?

  • In 12 hours or less, the Trump pardon list will be revealed. At this point, it’s known that every name on the list paid to be there or promised future favors for names to be there. Was Raniere able to pony up? Did the Capital rioters get a benefactor? Should be interesting/horrible to see who gets freedom for the right price.

    Despite Suneel, Nicki’s weird little Twitter campaign, and all the other NXIVM cultists’ token efforts (cause that ultimately is all they are), there does not exist a world where Raniere gets a retrial. At most, he might win a meaningless reduction in sentence that is still too long to get freedom before dies of old age.

  • I think it’s very difficult to stand against a whole civilization. I believe it’s harder to live and go with the flow knowing you don’t believe in what the main stream is preaching.

    • Justifying child sex trafficking and rape is a hard sell to people who haven’t had their minds warped by Keith’s Kool-Aid™.

      If you truly stand as an ally with The World’s Smartest Defender of Child Rape™ and Harvard-Trained Blow Job Analyst™, Suneel Chakravorty, why don’t you post with your real name?

      Not so certain about your convictions, eh?

  • Raniere’s chances on appeal are sunk in advance because he never put up a defense and there is no new evidence. This topic is getting boring. Also we are waiting for the list of last minute pardons by Trump. I doubt Keithie Weethie is on it. I give better odds to Joe Exotic.

    • Couldn’t agree more with “Boring.” These amoral supporters just don’t get it and Suneel’s last article had no business being published. I can’t believe he wrote that and then read it over and thought that this would be a good way to being support to his “cause.” Why would you dedicate your life and follow the principles of a guy who did the stuff you described?

    • Trump is smart. Even in the end, everyone will be talking about his last-minute pardons instead of Biden’s inauguration haha

      • In any case, Trump will have had more spectators at his inauguration than Biden, at whose inauguration more flags are put up to cover the emptiness and lack of spectators in pandemic times…

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com