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Judge weighs Chelsea man's serious health issues against his indictment for 11 armed robberies; concludes he should stay in prison to await trial

A federal judge yesterday denied a request by a man facing 11 armed-robbery counts that he be allowed to await trial at his mother's home in Chelsea due to health issues that might put him at risk of complications should he contract Covid-19 behind bars, ruling he would prove too much of a potential menace to society - and that given he is facing serious time behind bars, he would prove too much of a flight risk.

Rigoberto Ramirez has been in detention since his arrest in March, 2019 on charges that he and his uncle - Luis Cintron of Peabody - robbed at least three markets in East Boston and several more in Chelsea, Everett and Malden at gunpoint and often clad in Scream masks, in the winter of 2017/2018.

The alleged spree started just five days after Ramirez was released from a drug-treatment program that was part of his parole related to his release for parole violations that were in turn related to an earlier federal conviction for crack dealing.

Although most of the clerks handed over money, one got punched in the head when he tried to wrestle a gun away while another had a gun fired at his feet when he chased after them, according to court records - the gun-firing charge alone would mean a mandatory minimum of ten years in federal prison should Ramirez be convicted.

Ramirez asked last month that he be released from a federal detention center in Rhode Island to await trial because of the Covid-19 risks he might face due to his existing health issues - asthma that requires the use of two inhalers and three separate other medications, hypertension, for which he is taking two drugs, and obesity. He has required one hospital trip while in detention for hypertension treatment, according to court records.

In her ruling, US District Court Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boals acknowledged that, unlike some other people awaiting trial behind bars who have made Covid-19 release requests, Ramirez had submitted proof of "much more than generalized COVID-19 fears and speculation" as a reason to be allowed to await trial at home, and that she was very mindful of his "serious health issues."

But, she continued, the US Attorney's office in Boston had presented an even better case as to why Ramirez should not be allowed out.

Because of the serious nature of Ramirez’s offenses, his lengthy criminal record, his past probation violations, and his demonstrated unwillingness to comply with court-ordered terms of release, this Court finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community. ...

The concerns cited by Ramirez, while serious, do not outweigh the danger he represents to the community. Accordingly, this Court denies Ramirez’s motion for temporary release.

Among the government's objections: Ramirez might prove a threat to a government witness who is prepared to testify Ramirez told him details of some of the robberies and even asked him to go on additional robbery runs. It also pointed to his parole violations and the fact that he has a criminal record dating to the early 1990s, in both Massachusetts and Florida.

It also is not at all clear that being released to live in Chelsea is going to be an improvement for the defendant, given that Chelsea essentially is currently the hotspot for the coronavirus in Massachusetts. And if Wyatt truly is as bad as the defendant suggests (a premise the government does not accept), the defendant could be endangering his mother’s health were it to prove that he is an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.

Cintron has not asked for a Covid-19 pre-trial release.

Innocent, etc.

Free tagging: 


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In theory, there is some control over distancing and interaction in jail.

Meanwhile, Chelsea has lots of essential workers crowded into small spaces and interacting with many other people, resulting in high infection rates.

Aside from the flight issues, the guy may be better off in a controlled environment.

Voting closed 8

Yes Chelsea is a hot spot... But my city has several different areas and each one is very different from the others. To generalize and assume the ENTIRE city is over run could be forgiven but it's not a given.

I looked at Google and he seems to live on a quiet side street near where condos were going for 500k. I live on the other side of town and I'm pretty sure nobody in my building has it. Being from Chelsea if I had symptoms at any given moment I could get a test with a doctor referral and we have a system in place to drop off food supplies for those who need to quarantine. We have also secured an off-site hotel to break up dense packed families if someone has CoVid19 and is a threat to those in their units.

I do appreciate all the concern, donations and assistance people have given to those in my community who have been hit hard by this I want to state very strongly that this is not like being in prison, that it should not be compared to a prison and very very strongly feel we should not be called a bigger threat then living in a prison!

I'm sure no harm was meant by it but you seem like a person of the world and I figured you'd be able to take my point in stride.

Voting closed 10

But that's not how this virus is getting around - it is spreading through asymptomatic but infected people going about their business.

When you look at the results of random testing for antibiodies in Chelsea, the data indicate that there has been a substantial percentage of the population who were asymptomatic but infectious nonetheless.

My city and my census tract are also hot spots - but I would not assume that "quieter" or "wealthier" areas mean anything when a virus is this nasty and out of control. Some people point to the nursing homes that racked up deaths without noticing the results for the people who worked there and didn't have symptoms - and how they live, shop, and travel all around.

Chelsea is a very geographically small place, too. I did not intend to malign Chelsea, but facts are facts and "hot spots" are often fictions in a densely populated area. I think you are being a bit reactive and jumping to say "but but but" while grasping for reasons to rebut any challenge to Chelsea without actually looking at the facts. I see people in my own community doing the same sorts of things to make them feel more comfortable with the situation or defend their home town. This virus doesn't care.

Voting closed 4

I'm going to circle back and remind you what the comment was about. You very clearly said a jail would be safer than Chelsea. Without knowing the street he lived on, without knowing the area etc. You clearly don't know Chelsea and now you are mansplaining my own city back to me...

I would also point out those tests from that study were for people who happened to be in Bellingham Square, it was random to the degree of who got it but not representative of the whole city. I'd be curious to see what the second round of tests produced.

Why is my apartment building any different from yours? I live on the other side of the highway from the hardest hit area. Most of my neighbors are going to Wegmans and Aldi for food right now, others who are essential are working in Medford. Anything I have (I've had my antibodies tested and nothing yet) is floating around Medford too as the cars flow down Rt 16 .

Making statements that puts all of Chelsea into one basket and ignoring when someone who knows what they are talking about tries to explain how the city is broken down is like saying you'd never live in Medford because you hate the smell of Pinky's Pizza or you don't want to live near an old armory that looks like a castle. You told me viruses don't act a certain way , they also don't respect municipal borders. I know people who live right on the Everett Chelsea border, if this guy lived in that house you never would have known he practically lived in Chelsea.

Just to wrap it up, I don't deny the troubles we have had and continue to have. I understand these numbers , I work with them every day. I'm involved in daily calls. I conference with people and pull from 25 years of deep experience and knowledge . I combine that with my degree, Bachelor's of Science, in Political Science and do look objectively at the situation. It's not a knee jerk reaction (living someplace does not disqualify me from commenting on it.)

I see you get mad on here often when people don't respect your learned knowledge through education or life experience. I ask for that same respect considering my resume and daily monitoring/living this reality on the ground in multiple capacities.

Voting closed 10

And shut your pie hole.

Voting closed 3