JOHNNY "MOTIONS" MERINGOLO PROVING THE NICKNAME STICKS, AND FOR GOOD REASON
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
In many of my circles, John Meringolo's name is mentioned a lot. John Meringolo, one may call, a rising star in the defense of alleged members of the mafia, but I had the pleasure of seeing John work at the Joey Merlino trial. He's not a rising star, he's the definition of what a criminal defense attorney should be. While he may not seem at first a bulldog, he is in every sense a bulldog attorney, and a damn good one at that.
While the nickname, I admit, I have never ever heard uttered in New York, Meringolo is well noted to holding the government accountable in every sense to sticking to procedures, and fighting for his clients rights on every turn. In Philadelphia it's no different. The expectation from observers, at least the last two months was that Meringolo, wasn't going to sit idly by without availing his clients every single opportunity to have a strong defense, and if we judge any of his motions put into federal court recently, he is not going to sit back and allow the government to drag their feet.
The context of the argument in federal court, is the discovery motions, or the serious lack of discovery against 14 defendants in Philadelphia. In most cases, even if you look back at the Joey Merlino trial, discovery packets came soon after the indictment, and for some reason in this case specifically, the government has just dragged their feet drawing the ire of the defendants and specifically Meringolo. If you are going to adequately defend someone, those defendants should have discovery sent over in a timely manner so they can begin to launch a defense. The government, is still stalling, and still refusing to amend to a discovery schedule, and still refusing to budge on discovery, until the judge overseeing the case makes a decision.
The government, is using fear tactic like arguments for not handing over discovery in this case, specifically they don't want any of the defendants in the case to have "hands or copies of the discovery." It's worth mentioning in other cases, involving more serious crimes, including murder, that those defendants were not subjected to those types of demands. After the judge in the case denied the governments wish list, they came right back asking for essentially the same type of desires, using the same patterned lines of fear tactics. Meringolo, isn't taking it sitting down. In a blistering rebuttal, Meringolo brought up several blunt points.
"The charges all involve non-violent offenses and there are no allegations that even
come close to the implication that a defendant could or would physically harm a cooperating witness. And as previously mentioned before this Court, the government’s reliance on a witness who has been committing crimes throughout their cooperation is both troubling and unlikely to fear the defendants. Therefore, we respectfully submit it is wholly reasonable for the defendants to possess and review their own Jencks Act and Giglio materials and that the concerns vocalized by the government are moot points." He continued. "Although we understand and agree to the importance of preventing dissemination of Jencks Act and Giglio materials, we respectfully submit that the government’s persistent, continuous arguments surrounding the proposed protective orders constitute misconduct. It has been three months since Mr. Mazzone was indicted. To date, we have not received the audio recordings of Mr. Mazzone’s on which the government relied during both bail hearings, nor any Brady material despite multiple requests. In essence, the defendants are blind to the charges and evidence against them. There is simply no viable, good faith reason that the government cannot commit to a production schedule or at the very least, respond to defense counsel in any meaningful way concerning the evidence of this case."
Meringolo is right, and what's he's doing is holding the government accountable for multiple delays. "As the Court is aware, the discovery in the instant matter is said to be voluminous in size and scope. Defense counsel is fully prepared to review all materials so that we can advance to the following pre-trial stages and begin motion practices. The government’s insistence that nothing can be produced until the settlement of a protective order is, quite frankly, taking advantage of the court system and delaying the trial process. Therefore, we respectfully ask the Court to compel the government to begin production of its audio recordings and any Brady material. For the foregoing reasons, we submit to the Court that the government’s amended proposed protective order is still overly broad and that its refusal to produce any discovery requires court intervention."
Ultimately the judge overseeing the case will have the last word, but it's safe to say Meringolo's reputation of not putting up with delays and nonsense, earning him the nickname "motions" is definitely earned.