Jordan Denied Habeas Claim Based on State Pretrial Delay
Gigi Jordan's claim that her almost four-year wait to be put on trial for the murder of her autistic son violates the U.S. Constitution has been rejected by a federal judge.
Southern District Judge Katherine Forrest (See Profile) denied a habeas petition brought by Jordan that alleged a violation of due process, with the judge finding that Jordan had failed to exhaust her state remedies and does not qualify for a narrow exception to the general rule that federal courts should stay out of state criminal matters.
Jordan, a multimillionaire who made her fortune in pharmaceuticals and real estate, has been held at Rikers Island for more than 44 months, awaiting trial for second-degree murder for admittedly using pills to kill her eight-year-old son at the Peninsula Hotel in New York City on Feb. 5, 2010.
She is asserting a unique defense of justification called "altruistic filicide"—claiming she wanted to halt her son's suffering at the hands of his abusive biological father.
Jordan was denied bail by Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon (See Profile) in April 2010 on the grounds that she was a risk for flight, based on her wealth, her lack of active business ties in New York and the fact that she was found by police in a hotel just blocks from her apartment in possession of her passport.
Solomon also denied a request for home confinement and monitoring that included round-the-clock guards.
The judge later denied a second bail application in 2011 and a third bail application earlier this year.
The Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the last denial of bail in a decision issued Nov. 19, explicitly refusing to accept the argument that due process was violated by her lengthy pretrial incarceration.
Jordan's habeas petition in federal court in Jordan v. Bailey, 13 Civ. 7651, presented what Forrest said was an issue of first impression: "a state court criminal defendant petitioning a federal court to overturn a pretrial bail determination on the basis of an alleged due process violation due to the length of pretrial incarceration."
Jordan's argument was premised on a fact agreed to by both parties—that her appeal of the First Department's bail ruling to the New York Court of Appeals would push back her anticipated trial date until late 2014.