Tag Archive: Jorge Cornell

Fourth Circuit rejects appeal by jailed Latin Kings leader Jorge Cornell

kingjayFrom Triad City Beat/ By Jordan Green

The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has turned down an appeal by North Carolina Latin Kings Leader Jorge Cornell, his brother and fellow Latin Kings member Russell Kilfoil and an associate named Ernesto Wilson.

The three-judge panel that heard the case in Richmond, Va. earlier this year upheld the judgment of the district court based on finding no reversible error. Summarizing the arguments of Cornell and his co-defendants, Judge Steven Agee wrote that the defendants made “several assertions of error concerning their trial, primarily focusing on the district court’s jury instructions and the sufficiency of the evidence.”

The opinion was published on March 16, less than two months after the judges heard arguments from the defendants’ lawyers and federal prosecutors.

Cornell, also known as King Jay, received a sentence of 28 years in prison after being found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, along with additional charges of violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Both of the latter charges were related to an April 2008 assault in which the government alleged that Cornell ordered Latin Kings members to retaliate against a supposed rival.

Cornell professed his innocence during his sentencing hearing, and said he never ordered any of his members to commit any act of violence. He said he kicked out members who committed crimes. Several community leaders testified about Cornell’s efforts to promote reconciliation among street gangs, encourage his members to pursue education and vocational development, and wide-ranging social justice efforts. The federal appellate opinion issued on March 16 provides a contrasting characterization of the Latin Kings: “Central to the organization is a culture of violence, which is manifested through frequent disputes with rival gangs. Violence and the threat of violence are also used to maintain compliance with gang rules.” (more…)

Government rebuked for excluding witness in Latin Kings trial

Jay-NPRFrom Triad City Beat

A federal appellate judge finds fault with the government’s decision to exclude testimony from a defense witness in the trial of former Latin King leader Jorge Cornell, but a panel of judges is less sympathetic to arguments about the role of interstate commerce and instructions for the jury to continue deliberating.

A federal appellate judge for the Fourth Circuit sharply criticized the federal government’s decision to exclude testimony from a defense witness from the 2012 trial of former North Carolina Latin Kings leader Jorge Cornell.

Judge Robert B. King, who was appointed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Clinton, bristled when US Attorney Sonja Ralston argued that the court’s opinion in the 1999 case United States v. Rhynes on the matter of witness exclusion was “fractured.”

Ralston’s characterization slighted a ruling on witness exclusion handed down by the very court hearing the appeal of Cornell’s criminal racketeering conviction.

“It was eight to two,” riposted King, who wrote the opinion in the 1999 case. “That’s not very fractured.” (more…)

A kid in King Jay’s court: My life with the Latin Kings

kingjayFrom Triad City Beat/ by Eric Ginsburg

My friends tell me that I take too long to tell stories. They ask when I start a story whether this will be like “Pebbles,” the infamously long report I provided during our first semester of college about a hangout with a crush that involved tossing pebbles, but didn’t include even a kiss. “Don’t give us the Pebbles version,” they say. “Just tell us what happened.”

I still find myself in the middle of unnecessarily long stories with some frequency. I’m particularly self conscious about it when trying to explain the most complicated and unusual part of my life. It’s often easier just to avoid telling it altogether.

That’s why most people don’t really know the whole story of my relationship to the Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation and its leader, except for maybe those who were there.

How could a white kid from Massachusetts at a small, private college in the South end up being so close to a Latino “gang leader” with teardrop tattoos on his face, a man now serving almost three decades in federal prison? It was a lot easier than I expected, actually, and if you’ll give me the time to explain, it’s actually a pretty good story. (more…)

My life as a Latin King

L-kingFrom Indy Week

by Steaphan Acencio-Vasquez and John H. Tucker

This past August, after a multiyear federal investigation, nine North Carolina men affiliated with the Latin Kings were sentenced for various crimes under the Racketeer Influenced or Corrupt Organizations Act, or “RICO,” a prosecutorial hammer enacted in 1970 in response to Mafia enterprises.

The Latin Kings case drew intense media attention when it went to trial last year. One of the convicted men, Jorge Cornell, aka King Jay, doubled as a community organizer. He had previously campaigned for Greensboro City Council, running on a social justice platform.

In 2007, when he was 16, Raleigh resident Steaphan Acencio-Vasquez, aka King Lio, was convicted of armed robbery and went to state prison. Four years later, a federal grand jury indicted Acencio-Vasquez, Cornell and 12 other men for RICO crimes dating to 2006. Acencio-Vasquez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct or participate in a racketeering enterprise, but he refused to cooperate with prosecutors or testify against others during trial. This past August, after five years in state custody, he was sentenced to three and a half more years in federal prison.

Through email correspondence, Acencio-Vasquez, now 22, opened up about the Latin Kings, prison life and his thoughts on RICO.

I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on December 26, 1990. I started out pretty good, but I had a bad anger issue. When I was 6 or 7, I smacked a nun after she hit me with a ruler. I was eating some M&M’s, and the ruler was the punishment. But I was taught to defend myself and my family. (more…)

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For October 2013 Is Now Available

halloweenHello Friends and Comrades,

1) We have two versions of the political prisoner birthday poster for October.  Here is one version as well as an extra spooky negative image one for Halloween. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

Some News And Updates:

2) Jorge Cornell, whose birthday was last month, was transferred two weeks ago. If your birthday card for him was returned, please resend it to this address:

 Jorge P. Cornell #28152-057
P.O. BOX 1000

3) Political prisoner Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 has been given less than 2 months to live and he’s now on hospice care inside the prison. He, along with one other person, has been in solitary confinement for the past 41 years. He wrote this heart wrenching statement recently and there’s some petitions folks can sign to try to get him compassionate release. Not to mention his birthday is in October so make sure to send him a card.  Herman passed away on October 4th after enduring 42 years of solitary confinement. (more…)

Jorge Cornell Transfered

kingjayFrom ALKQN Support

King Jay has finally been cycled out of the various county and regional jails and into a federal correctional institution.

Jay is now imprisoned in FCI Petersburg Medium.  FCI Petersburg is a medium security institution and is part of the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg.  FCC Petersburg which contains minimum, low, and medium security institutions, when writing to Jay be sure to include Medium in the address and his registration number.

 Jorge P. Cornell #28152-057

P.O. BOX 1000

Jorge Cornell sentenced to 28 years

kingjayFrom Yes! Weekly

North Carolina Latin Kings leader Jorge Cornell leader received a sentence of 28 years in federal prison for criminal racketeering on Wednesday, with a federal judge in Winston-Salem noting the defendant’s “good works and ethics” before granting a variance from sentencing guidelines.

The statutory maximum of 50 years would likely have amounted to a life sentence for the 36-year-old Cornell, who suffers from high blood pressure and sleep apnea. The sentencing guidelines set a minimum of 30 years. US District Court Judge James A. Beaty Jr. consolidated two counts of racketeering against Cornell, including one related to the defendant’s alleged role in a shooting at Maplewood apartments for a total of 18 years. A third count, also related to the Maplewood shooting, of violent crime in aid of racketeering carried a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

Cornell spoke extensively before receiving the sentence, telling the court he doesn’t hold faith in the justice system although he expects the verdicts to be overturned on appeal. (more…)

UPDATE: North Carolina Latin Kings file motion for new trial

free the kingsFrom YES! Weekly

Jorge Cornell and two other defendants in the North Carolina Latin Kings racketeering trial have filed a motion for a new trial.

Cornell, Russell Kilfoil and Ernesto were each convicted of racketeering by a federal jury in Winston-Salem last month. Cornell was convicted of two additional counts for a violent crime in aid of racketeering and carrying or using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence — both related to a shooting at Ashley Creek Apartment Homes in Greensboro in 2008.

The motion for a new trial, which was filed on Dec. 5, contends that the jury was confused or misunderstood the court’s instructions for dealing with predicate acts. The motion notes that the jurors asked for clarification, but the judge simply referred them back to his earlier instructions. (more…)

Jorge Cornell guilty on three counts of racketeering

From Yes! Weekly Blog

A jury of 12 in Winston-Salem has convicted North Carolina Latin Kings leader Jorge Cornell of three counts of criminal racketeering, while convicting two other defendants of a single count.

The jury of eight women and four men (eight white and four black) found Cornell’s brother, Russell Kilfoil, guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, along with Ernesto Wilson, a defendant who was never a Latin King but whom the government argued was an associate in fact with the enterprise.

Three other defendants, Randolph Kilfoil, Samuel Velasquez and Irvin Vasquez, were found not guilty. (more…)

Community Update on Mr. Jorge “King Jay” Cornell Trial and Next Steps

From Beloved Community Center

The entire community is welcomed to participate in a special update meeting on the trial of Jorge “King Jay” Cornell this Sunday, November 4, 2012, at 4:00 PM, at Faith Community Church (417 Arlington Street, Greensboro, NC).  We will hear an update on the court proceedings from people who are closely following the case.  This will be a valuable discussion, and you are encouraged to invite others to attend.

The meeting will also discuss our projected next step related to the media.  We will talk about hosting a press conference that will discuss information related to an officer knowing who actually shot King Jay in 2008.   False information is coming up as a result of the court proceedings, and the public needs to be informed. (more…)