Judge Garaufis won’t decide either since Raniere’s case is currently with a higher court. Raniere appealed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Judge Garaufis ruled, “In the interest of judicial economy, the Court defers consideration of the motions until the Second Circuit resolves the pending appeal. The Court will provide further instruction to the parties at that time.”
Raniere asks the same thing from the appeals court as in his Rule 33 motion. He seeks to have his 2019 conviction overturned. The founder of NXIVM is serving a 120-year prison sentence.
By law, Raniere had to file the Rule 33 motion by June 19, 2022, or it would be time-barred. Hence, he had to file anyway to preserve his claim. The judge’s decision did not surprise Raniere’s attorney. Language in the Rule 33 motion shows he expected this result.
Judge Garaufis had another option. He could have, under Rule 37, asked the 2nd Circuit to let him decide Raniere’s motions and put their appeal on hold. If the judge planned to approve or deny the Rule 33 motion, he might have asked to get Raniere remanded to him.
Raniere complicates the process. He asked Judge Garaufis to disqualify himself. If the judge granted the motion for disqualification, he would not decide the Rule 33 motion. Instead, the District Court would assign another judge. A new district judge would have to start a new process and review an unfamiliar case. Judge Garaufis’ decision serves the ends of judicial efficiency. The appellate court has heard oral arguments and has the briefs. It remains for the three-judge panel to make their final decision. The appellate court may give Raniere the relief he seeks.
They may overturn some or all his crimes of conviction or deny it outright. The 61-year-old Raniere might end up with some reduction in his 120-year sentence. However, given his age, anything less than the overturning of his conviction is irrelevant.
For instance, Raniere is appealing his sex trafficking charge. If the appellate court agrees, Raniere will have 40 years shaved off his sentence.
His current release date is June 27, 2120. His release date moved to 2080 means Raniere would be free at age 120.
Common sense tells me Judge Garaufis’ best option was to put the Rule 33 motion on hold. That’s what he did.