Sunday, September 30, 2007


At around 15:50, WCPD units were dispatched to the parking lot of the Salvation Army shelter on the 100 block of East Market Street for the report of a subject down. Upon arrival, a male in his 20's or 30's was bleeding from the head and unconcious, reportedly after being assaulted. At the time of the incident (at which I stumbled upon while en route to a bar to watch the Phillies game), police were searching for a black male approximately 5-foot-10 inches in height, possibly wearing a white tank top. Other than that, details on the alleged actor are sketchy. The victim was taken to the Goodwill firehouse and flown to HUP via PennSTAR #2. There were some indications that the victim was intoxicated and allegedly causing problems amongst the other residents at the shelter, but that doesn't justify getting assaulted to the point of getting flown to a trauma center.


Let's hope this is the last update for the night's activities. Then again, this being West Chester, you never know...

No sooner than I published the last update, things seemed to get worse.

Between 00:00 and 02:00 at least 28 calls were reported to WCPD. After 02:00, however, a few more problems arose.

While WCPD units were tied up settling the second scuffle at Coyote Crossing, GFAC and Medic 91 were dispatched to the Apartments for Modern Living for the report of an unconscious female; preliminary reports indicated a possible alcohol overdose, however it appeared to be more serious than that. The patient was eventually transported to Brandywine Hospital to meet up with PennSTAR #2 and flown to a trauma center (most likely HUP). The circumstances behind her injuries remain unknown at this time...

As units cleared from that call, an assault with injuries was reported at Matlack and Nields, where an earlier assault call was determined to be unfounded. It appears that prior to the report, a subject was taken into custody on an unrelated matter; it was later determined that that particular subject was the actor involved in the assualt according to the victim and a witness on location. The victim was transported by GFAC to Chester County Hospital with minor injuries...

As that situation cleared up, a fight broke out at High and Miner Streets, pretty much in the same area as last night's little scuffle. Two or three black males reported to be at the center of the melee were seen leaving the area heading north on High towards Market. They were later stopped and detained at the rear of the Riggtown Uptown pizza shop...

And for those of you who don't like fights, we have ... more fights. As units cleared from High and Miner, a second fight broke out in front of the Fresh Works on West Market Street. Fortunately, the situation cleared up as officers arrived and two subjects allegedly involved were interviewed and moved on. Either neither man wanted to press charges or there probably wasn't an available cell to lodge them in at WCPD headquarters.

In any event, it's very likely that Kennett District Judge Daniel Maisano, who is scheduled to be the on-call arraignment judge today, will have quite a few customers from West Chester...

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Yet another crazy night in West Chester, and it's not even 02:00 yet...

At around 23:55, at least two separate fight calls were reported - one in front of Coyote Crossing and one in front of the pizza shop at South Walnut and East Linden Streets. GFAC was dispatched to Market and Walnut for a person in seizures, though it's not sure if it was one of the combatants or not. The pizza shop disturbance had broken up when the bike units arrived; they then responded to a report of an "unwanted subject" who had allegedly forced his way into a house on the 500 block of South Walnut.

No sooner than the subject was taken into custody after being spotted on the roof of the location, a fight broke out nearby, with at least one male being arrested and likely facing Resisting Arrest charges as well, since he was reportedly struggling with officers as he was being handcuffed. The subject who broke into the house will be charged with Public Drunkeness, but apparently the residents opted not to file more serious charges against the knucklehead...

At 00:47, units were dispatched to Landmark Americana to attempt to assist a flagged patron retrieve a missing sandal. The ever helpful dispatcher Jay Ferriola advised responding officers that the subject shouldn't be too hard to miss: "He'll be the one with only one shoe." The search for the missing sandal was unsuccessful and units cleared to respond across the street to Kooma for a burglar alarm - even though the bar was still open. Fortunately it was a false activation and everything calmed down for a little bit...

It started picking back up again at around 01:10 with the report of a disturbance at the "St. Agnes" lot at the West Gay/North New/Hannum Avenue triangle. From the sounds of it, one actor was taken in, likely for Public Drunkeness and two females were transported to their East Bradford home. A few minutes later, units were dispatched to Matlack and Nields for the report of an assault victim, though the alleged victim had left the area prior to units arriving...

Oh, did I mention it's not yet 02:00?

Well, I guess I spoke to soon. No sooner than I finish writing the initial post, a fight breaks out at New and Chestnut Streets, with two people ultimately taken in for Public Drunkeness. While that was going on, WCPD units were again dispatched to Coyote Crossing for a large disturbance, with a West Goshen unit responding to assist. The disposition from the second incident at the beleagured bar is not known...

Now it's after 02:00 and it doesn't seem to be slowing down...


As expected, it was a typically busy Friday night for WCPD, particularly after the bars closed. Between 02:00 and 03:00, units were stretched as two separate disturbances broke out in different ends of town. The first incident was dispatched at South New and West Barnard Streets for the report of a large fight, possibly related to a domestic; as units were responding to South New Street, a fight broke out at what was initially reported as High and Barnard near the 7-Eleven and later changed to High and Miner. At least two people were arrested from the High Street incident (take a lucky guess where they were coming from).

As the High Street incident cleared, an officer stationed on top of the Bicentennial Garage reported a male vs. female domestic to the rear of Baxter's. Units responded and both parties separated without any further action needed.

Meanwhile, back on New Street, officers were unable to determine the cause of the disturbance; it had appeared that one of the alleged victims was rather evasive towards officers (which, along with a past felony conviction, could make him an ideal hire at Doc Magrogan's). Eventually, units cleared New Street and resumed "baby-sitting" on the South Walnut corridor...

And to think, the full moon is waning, but people still continue to act like knuckleheads...

Friday, September 28, 2007


Three preliminary hearings involving four defendants, including one involving the father of the Willistown teenager in the center of a controversial shooting case that was recently adjudicated in Common Pleas Court, highlighted a busy and painfully slow day at 15-1-04's Criminal Day with 19 cases on today's docket. Of the remaining 15 cases, 3 defendants waived their preliminary hearings, 7 cases were continued, 3 defendant saw criminal charges withdrawn after complying with summary disposition agreements, and 2 defendants failed to appear for court and had bench warrants issued against them.

The first hearing involved Sean O'Neill, Sr., who faced three counts of Possession of Offensive Weapons in a case filed by the Pennsylvania State Police/Media (apparently, PSP/Media assumed the investigation based on the fact that the initial shooting involing O'Neill's son was originally dispatched in Edgmont, Delaware County even though it was later determined the incident occured in Willistown, Chester County). Tpr. Thomas Gilhool testified that during a search of O'Neill's property, he recovered two rifles and a device alleged to be a silencer, which were later turned over to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for analysis. Tpr. Gilhool testified that the weapons had threads on the end that could potentially accept a silencer or similar device. He also testified that the weapons and device were never tested by the State Police. The ATF testing of the rifles determined the sound level of those weapons without the device was 149.90 decibles; the sound level with the device was 133.34 decibles, which Tpr. Gilhool stated was the only testing done on the weapons. Defense attorney Vincent DiFabio argued that the alleged device recovered by PSP did not fall under the specific definition under Section 908 of the Crimes Code:

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes repairs, sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive weapon.


(c) Definition.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
Any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.
"Offensive weapons."
Any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge ... or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.

DiFabio argued that the ATF analysis was performed under the federal guidelines, which compared to the state statute reads as follows:

(24) The terms "firearm silencer" and "firearm muffler" mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication. (18 US Sec. 921)

DiFabio noted that based on the ATF report which noted a "minimal reduction" in noise as opposed to the "silent dischrage" burden as defined under Section 908, the Commonwealth did not meet the prima facie case on the charges and requested the case be dismissed.

The Commonwealth argued that there is no known case law that defined "silent discharge" for the purposes of the definition under 908, however the rifle was still "specially adapted" under the definiation in 908 and that this was the type of question that should be addressed by a jury.

Despite the relative weakness of the Commonwealth's case, Judge Knapp ordered O'Neill held for trial on the three counts alleged by the Commonwealth; he remains free on his own recognizance (15-2-05, CR-0000097-07). Somehow, I doubt there will be a conviction by a jury on these particular counts, particularly when, at least in my opinion, a 10 percent noise reduction does not really constitute silence at least under my reading of the statutes. But, then again, I don't have a law degree, so what do I know?

In the second hearing of the day, two men were charged with breaking into an apartment and assaulting two occupants over a dispute involing money and a dog bite. Edwin Allen Hayes, 20, of Thorndale and Lawrence Lock Pierce IV, 28, of Coatesville, were co-defendants in an alleged home invasion this past summer. On July 23 at 01:30, the victim, his girlfriend, his brother, and his brother's friend were at thier residence on the 100 block of East Barnard Street when Pierce, Hayes, and two other men (who have not been identified or charges to this point) allegedly broke down the door and stormed into the 3rd floor apartment.

Pierce, who was identified as the person who allegedly kicked the door in, then began demanding money from the victim. At that point, the victim told his brother to call police; Pierce then began to punch the friend of the victim's brother as he was calling 9-1-1. Pierce then allegedly struck the male victim in the face as two other men restrained the victim as the assault was occuring. The victim had indicated that he was unaware that anyone had come up the stairs prior to the break-in. The victim suspected that Pierce was attempting to get money from the defendant for a cable bill that was under Pierce's girlfriend's name; there had been a previous dispute after Pierce's girlfriend's pit bull bit the victim in the finger, resulting in nearly $15,000 of unpaid medical expenses, and that the victim had withheld his portion of the cable bill in response.

The victim's girlfriend had attempted to intervene on the victim's behalf; Pierce allegedly struck her in the face and pushed her against the sofa in the apartment. The female indicated that she had no opportunity to defend herself in the assault. While Hayes did not participate in the actual assault, he allegedly threatened to return with a gun if anyone attempted to call police. The actors left the location when other residents of the building said that police had arrived on scene. Both the male victim and his girlfriend were treated at Paoli Memorial Hospital for their injuries.

Pierce's attorney offered no arguement, however Hayes' attorney argued that charges against his client should be dismissed as he was not actively involved in the incident. The Commonwealth responded that the fact that Hayes was in the apartment at the time of the assault and had allegedly made the threat to get a gun made his as responsible for his role in the incident as Pierce.

Judge Knapp ordered Pierce held on four counts of Simple Assault, two counts each of Terroristic Threats and Recklessly Endangering Another Person and eight Conspiracy counts (15-1-04, CR-0000240-07); Pierce remains free on $20,000 bail, however he is currently on a two-year probation period for a 2006 guilty plea in front of Judge Howard F. Riley, Jr. on a DUI charge filed by Ofc. James Kiley of the Downingtown Police (CP-15-CR-0000690-2006). Hayes was held for trial on the same charges and remains free on $10,000 bail (15-1-04, CR-0000237-07)...

The final hearing of the day involved a domestic dispute between a woman and her ex-boyfriend. Elvis Negron, 34, of West Chester, was charged with Harassment, Simple Assault, Resisting Arrest, and Disorderly Conduct as a result of the confrontation. On August 23 at 21:15, the victim testified that she and her three daughters had gone out to dinner when Negron allegedly called her and wanted to get back together with her. When the victim refused, Negron allegedly said that he would be waiting for her at her South Matlack Street apartment.

When the victim and her children returned home, Negron allegedly confronted her, pushing her several times in the chest while telling the children not to trust their mother. At least one of the daughters attempted to intervene to protect her mom. At that point, the victim attempted to call 9-1-1, however Negron allegedly broke the phone. The victim then yelled out for help; a neighbor then rendered aid to the victim, calling 9-1-1 on her behalf. As the victim was giving her location to 9-1-1, Negron allegedly grabbed the phone from her.

Shortly thereafter, Ofc. Aaron Davis arrived on location and was directed to the incident by the good samaritan neighbor. He confronted Negron after seeing him arguing with the victim near the top of the stairs and ordered him to come downstairs. As he was walking downstairs, Negron allegedly turned around and continued yelling at the victim. As Ofc. Davis was about to place Negron into handcuffs, the defendant allegedly began grabbing at the officer; Ofc. Davis then requested back-up units to respond and ordered Negron to stop resisting arrest on several occasions.

As Negron was being arrested, he allegedly began flailing around and at one point, grabbed at Ofc. Davis' duty belt. Negron was eventually forced to the ground until Ofc. A.J. McCarthy and David Hammond arrived on scene to assist in placing Negron into custody. As a result of the fight, Ofc. Davis suffered a laceration to the left wrist which kept him off the street for the remainder of his tour; he was treated for his injury at Chester Count Hospital.

Negron was held for trial on all counts, including two counts of Harassment and one count each of Simple Assault (for Ofc. Davis' injuries), Resisting Arrest, and Disorderly Conduct. He remains free on $2,500 bail, which seems rather low considering the allegations against Negron. He was ordered not to have any contact with the victim or her children (15-1-04, CR-0000287-07).

Meanwhile, two defendants failed to appear for court and had bench warrants issued for their arrest:

Kelli Andersen, 21, of Philadelphia, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on charges of DUI in a complaint filed by Cpl. Pam Baumann. Having failed to respond or appear for her hearing, Judge Knapp issued a bench warrant for her arrest (15-1-04, CR-0000274-07).

Kevin M. Corr, 20, of Moorestown, N.J., was arraigned last week on drug related charges on Underage Drinking in a complaint that was also filed by Cpl. Baumann. A bench warrant has been issued for Corr (confirmed yesterday by District Court staff), so it appears very likely that his $1.00 nominal bail had been forfeited (15-1-04, CR-0000315-07).

The recaps from the two Common Pleas court Criminal Terms concluded last week will be posted sometime next week due to delays on my end in making the request for records; be assured that the recaps will certainly be worth the wait once I get to review the records...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Janet Difiore.

D.A. DiFiore Makes A Presentation At The Bronxville League of Women Voters

By Jeffrey Deskovic

Editor’s Note: Jeffrey Deskovic, an outspoken advocate in the struggle against prosecutorial misconduct
and the need for State and Federal legislation to quell such human rights abuses, is a frequent contributor to
The Guardian. Recently, he attended an event at the Bronxville League of Women Voters at which Westchester
District Attorney Janet DiFiore was the principal speaker. He files the following report:

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore gave a presentation to the Bronxville League of
Women Voters the morning of Sept. 19. Her talk centered mainly on the functions of her office in crime prevention and prosecution.

DiFiore stated that she did not think the first response of a district attorney ought to be a knee-jerk reaction
to lock somebody up and prosecute them, but also added that wherever the circumstances warranted
it, she would prosecute. The DA emphasized the importance of crime prevention and her role in such programs,
past and present, designed to accomplish the goal.

She stated that she did not think that the total emphasis of her office ought to be the imprisoning of people
as it was not good policy, once again adding that her office would not hesitate to prosecute crime whenever the
facts warranted it. She also spoke of the responsibility of a district attorney in not prosecuting and/or perpetuating injustice, referencing her actions in the Deskovic case.

Some months ago, prior to her appearance at the League, I spoke there in the role of a criminal justice
advocate, giving a presentation on the subject of wrongful convictions. Starting off with my case and its specifics,
I then segued into the general causes of wrongful convictions as well as the legislative reforms clearly needed
in order to slow down the frequency with which they occur. One of those reforms for which I have been strongly
advocating was the audio and video taping of all interrogations by police.

One of the purposes of such legislation would be to provide a complete record of who said what, when, and in
what context, thus providing a helpful tool for judges and juries alike in their effort to evaluate the voluntariness of
statements, as well as their truthfulness, and reliability. At the same time it would also be an effective tool for
protecting the innocent, as well as police interrogators against untruthful allegations of coercion.

The president of the league, Carol Godfrey, unable to attend, had a question read on her behalf to Di-
Fiore. The question made mention of the fact that I had lectured before the group previously and had advocated
on behalf of videotaping interrogations.

She wanted to know what DiFiore’s position was. DiFiore, responding to the question, unequivocally and with firmness, stated that she was completely in favor of taping and that it made for better evidence. An audience member responded with a follow-up question regarding the possible institutionalizing of that practice, given the resistance that many law enforcement agencies have shown to the process.

The DA made it clear that her office had no legal authority to compel police agencies to conform to the practice,
and that she felt legislation was needed. She added, however, that she would use the moral author-ity of her
office to try to encourage voluntary taping.

An-other question posed to her concerned whether the limited resources of public defender offices tended to enhance the conviction rate. She stated that, on occasion, it definitely did, but that she took no pleasure when her Office successfully prosecuted someone by overwhelming the defense team by virtue of the difference in resources allocated to prosecutors’ offices as compared to public defenders. She went on to reference The Spangenberg Group’s study, undertaken for Chief Judge Judith Kaye, evaluating the state of indigent defense, in which the inadequacies of public defense were well-documented.

Then she invited me up to the podium to answer the question. As I have frequently pointed out, there are built-in handicaps in the operations of public defenders. Having very limited budgets, and therefore being forced to ask judges to allocate discretionary funding, often denied, to pay for experts to review evidence in the furtherance of preparing cases, while at the same time being over burdened with too many cases, often results in inadequate preparation and presentation.

A balanced system is vitally important to any individual defendant, and it is in society’s best interest as a
whole to have competent defense accorded to the poor, in order that we may have more confidence in jury
verdicts and the outcomes of postconviction cases. A balanced system provides the protection that any one
of us might need in the event we were arrested for something we did not do.

Each time someone who is innocent is arrested, a guilty person is left on the loose to again prey upon society.
DA DiFiore emphasized that very point reminding those present that Steven Cunningham, the man whose
crime I was unlawfully prosecuted and sent to prison for, killed another victim 3½ years after the killing for
which I was doing time.
In Our Opinion....

Ernie Davis Should Do The Right Thing

We would have been surprised, albeit pleasantly, if following his defeat in last week’s Democratic primary election Mayor of Mount Vernon, Ernest Davis had done the right thing, the honorable thing, and simply conceded. After all, with a margin of 349 votes, and with only 90 absentee ballots uncounted, what possible hope could Mr. Davis have been nurturing, two days later, that a recount would reverse his fate?

We can understand the numbness that he may have experienced an hour after the polls closed last Tuesday night. We were there on the streets of Mount Vernon, and absorbed first-hand the shock and disbelief expressed by some of his loyalists. For many it was just too much to tolerate, the notion that an honest administration would be taking control of their city, and everybody would be expected to play by the rules. Perhaps, that prospect was far too devastating, particularly for Davis himself to grapple with.

Perhaps he knew something, or thought he knew something the rest of us were unaware of, some device, some magic, by which he would emerge the winner, if only he didn’t concede. After all, hadn’t Nick Spano managed
to wrestle victory away from Andrea Stewart-Cousins in 2004, despite her 355-vote lead walking into the Board Of Elections? If Reggie, a Mount Vernon “homer” could do that for Nicky, why couldn’t he do it
for ‘little old Ernie?’ Why, indeed? All he needed to do was hold out, and stretch it to the second canvass, the recount, or so he may have thought. “What about the will of the People?” some would ask. What about their
courage and hard work that went into tossing him out despite his having spent ten times the money Clinton Young had? We, of course, have known for some time that the will of the People, not to mention their wellbeing, has been the last thing on Ernie Davis’ mind for a very long time.

We fervently hope that Ernie Davis will have come to his senses, and will have conceded his defeat, and accepted the will of Mount Vernon’s People before this edition of the Guardian comes rolling off the presses
one week following the election. We hope that he will have abandoned any misguided notion that anyone would bring about a reversal.

We fully understand all that this rejection by the voters portends for Mr. Davis with respect to his problems with higher authorities, at least in his own perception. Clearly, however, his conduct in office, that has been the basis of ongoing investigations into his administration, is the same evidence upon which constituents based their choice at the polls a week ago. That having been said, We would hope that, if for no other reason than to save face, Ernie Davis will have stepped from the stage promptly and gracefully.
Our Readers Respond...

Reader Takes Issue With Columnist Camacho Over Bubaries Column

Dear Editor:

I just finished reading my first copy of The Westchester Guardian and I won’t be reading another one.
I was outraged by the articles about Officer Bubaris in Mt Kisco. You seem to forget that it was Rene Perez that was the criminal NOT Officer Bubaris. He is the scapegoat of political correctness and I hope and pray that when his so-called case comes to trial, common sense prevails.

How dare Ms. Camacho cast aspersions on the fine Police Dept. of Mt Kisco? How dare she accuse them of being complicit in the deaths of other vagrant, illegal aliens? That verges on libel, to my mind. Where is there ANY proof that any of these deaths are even related?

Even the heading of the column is offensive. When one chooses to live in this country, one should learn the language and assimilate, not expect that our English-speaking country adapt to YOU. If you want to speak Spanish...STOP AT HOME!

Mt Kisco is a very family friendly place for US citizens and legal immigrants who are grateful for the life the US has given them. And as I am an immigrant myself, I know what I am talking about.

So forget Living Latino in Westchester and try Living American in America!! She should be ashamed!

Louise Simmons

Reader Takes Issue With Columnist Camacho Over Gonzales Column

Dear Editor:

“Alberto Gonzales Squandered A Wonderful Opportunity” is the title of the Living Latino Eridania Camacho’s
Sept. 13th column. The substance of the column is based on a timeline of events from The New York Times, leading up to the resignation of the attorney general. According to Ms. Camacho, some from the Latino community felt a certain “ambivalence” with the appointment of U.S. Attorney General Gonzales. For some reason they lacked confidence, some even cited “his level of dishonesty and disrespect for the law”. They held no lofty expectations of his performance and a job well done.

This long-winded chronological sequence of events, however, from such a questionable and disreputable source
(NY Times), could not hide the truth lying just beneath the surface. Ms. Camacho states, “What else could we have expected from the Bush Administration.” And there is the real problem. Reasonable and fair-minded people would have given Mr. Gonzales a chance, especially those in the Latino community who should have greeted his nomination with measure of pride. But it was not to be. From the outset his fate was sealed, a victim by ssociation.

It would appear that to some, President Bush and his administration are the catalyst of so many of today’s ills. Just ask Messrs. Blassberg and Polvere, and now Ms. Camacho. And it does make one wonder, what liberals will do when Mr. Bush leaves office. You would think there would be shouts of joy and jubilation, perhaps even celebration in the streets. But I think not.

I believe over the last seven years many liberals have succumbed to their innermost demons, and have indeed fallen victim to the dreaded Bush Derangement Syndrome. This pathological disorder is formed deep within the
psyche, and aside from the mental strain it causes, is an addiction which eventually manifests itself as an unnatural compulsion, an irresistible impulse to act regardless of the rationality of the motivation. And it is for this reason
that liberals will require a fix, a daily dosage of Mr. Bush, just to sustain their mental well-being. All that hate, bitterness and contempt liberals harbor for this one man must have an outlet.

It was difficult enough when Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and recently Alberto Gonzales resigned their positions in the Administration. So what will happen when George Bush leaves office? There’ll be no release mechanism.
All that bottled-up negative energy, where will it go? In God’s name, what will they do? Oh, what will they do?

Bob Pascarella, The Bronx

Harrison Resident Expresses Frustration With Mayor Malfitano and Town Board

Dear Editor:

In an article in The Harrison Herald (January 2007), there was a review of the December 14, 2006 Town Board Meeting. At that time, Mayor Malfitano noted that residents not having a municipal sewer can petition the Town Board to be taken out of the Sewer District and that the District would reimburse homeowners for septic tank cleaning. This process takes about nine months; the County Health Department has to determine eligibility.

I have a septic system and I wanted to opt out of the Sewer District as soon as I read that article. Immediately, I submitted my petition of withdrawal to the Town Board of Harrison. At the January 2007 meeting the matter was tabled because the Board “wanted more information.” I have sent a dozen (literally) letters to Mayor Malfitano and all the Councilmen, but all I have received is silence! Dozens of phone calls have been made to the Mayor’s office, but still no reply!

Indeed, the Mayor, who claims to have the interests of the Town in the forefront, refuses to talk to me. I have never seen or heard from any of the Councilmen.

From this matter, it is evident how the Mayor and his Councilmen run this town, by ignoring the request of a citizen of this town (for 28 years) and doing only what they think looks good in the press.

Judy Goldstein
The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Jeffrey Deskovic Seeks Accountability And Damages From Police Chief Tumolo And Co-Conspirators

Last Tuesday, September 18th attorneys for Jeffrey Deskovic made a much anticipated filing with the United States District Court For The Southern District OF New York, against Peekskill Police Chief Eugene Tumolo, and several co-conspirators and governmental subdivisions, seeking damages for their knowingly false, and malicious prosecution and incarceration which claimed more than sixteen years of Deskovic’s liberty, in violation of his due process, and civil rights, under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, rendering him incalculably injured, and forever changed. The action stems from unlawful activities that began in November 1989 in response to the rape and killing by strangulation of fifteen year-old Peekskill High School student Angela Correa.

The 77-page summons and complaint identifies Steven Cunningham, then 29, as the crack-addicted assailant who attacked Correa, “leaving behind a trail of evidence, demonstrating his involvement in the crime, including, critically, his semen.”

That semen that Eugene Tumolo now insists he ordered tested, established as early as April of 1990 that Jeffrey Deskovic’s DNA did not match the assailant’s, and yet a malicious prosecution went forward predicated upon an indictment hastily sought and obtained by Westchester Assistant District Attorney George Bolen three days
before he would receive official word of the mismatch.

Tumolo, then a Lieutenant Detective with the Peekskill Police Department, of which he is now Chief, and who headed the investigation, not surprisingly, now publicly claims, through his attorney Tony Castro, that upon learning of the failure of the DNA to match that of his falsely confessed, sixteen-year-old suspect, went to ADA Bolen but was rejected, and informed that the prosecution would be going forward anyway.


That claim, seventeen years later, in no way mitigates his involvement and culpability in the obtaining of a forced, false confession from a vulnerable sixteen-year old boy, and the malicious, and unconscionable prosecution for many months, and ultimate incarceration of that youth for sixteen years thereafter. After all, is Chief Tumolo trying to now say that he had no recourse, once ADA George Bolen informed him that he would be going forward with Deskovic’s prosecution, despite compelling scientific evidence that the youth was, in fact, innocent?

Is Tumolo trying to suggest that he could not have gone to District Attorney Carl Vergari, George Bolen’s boss? And, even assuming Vergari might have been as evil, and hell-bent as Bolen, he could not have appealed to the State Attorney General’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office, or even the press and media to prevent the
tragic, knowing and malicious prosecution of an innocent boy placed in harms way by Tumolo’s own overzealous, unlawful, personally self-serving investigative tactics?

What, other than his lack of moral fiber, and depraved indifference to the outcome of a malicious prosecution set in motion by his own evil deeds kept Mr. Tumolo from attempting to right the wrong he had set in motion, and what, other than his own selfinterest, kept him silent for sixteen years as Jeffrey Deskovic, a person he knew was innocent, languished in state prison, while Steven Cunningham, someone not unknown to Tumolo, remained free to kill again, even as he would kill some three years later?
The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

The Cabal Is Dead; Long Live Westchester’s Real Democrats

Not withstanding whatever shenanigans Davis’ operatives, Reggie La-Fayette, Lisa Copeland, Serapher Conn-Halevi, and John and Jane Does One through perhaps Twenty, may have attempted to pull off - à la the 2004 State Senate Race in the Thirty-Fifth District - between last Tuesday night and the appearance of this issue of The Guardian, Clinton Young has defeated three-term incumbent Mayor of Mount Vernon Ernie Davis.

That fact, coupled with Paul Feiner’s 67% victory over Suzanne Berger, is giving County Executive, for now, Andy Spano, and his puppeteer Larry Schwartz, acid indigestion, and, rightly so.

Andy and Larry are certainly not alone in their discomfort; there are several other members of the Cabal wondering about their future. Actually, there is nothing to be wondering about; the Cabal is dead! To confirm that
conclusion one must identify the membership and their individual roles. And, one must recognize that there has not been a legitimate two-party political system in Westchester for many years.

Each of the present principal members of the Cabal have played a very distinct part in its corruption and control of the electoral process in Westchester. Jeanine Pirro, when she was District Attorney, was clearly the central figure, as only she could control with the power to indict and prosecute. Now, ironically, she is very likely the subject of an indictment herself, a federal indictment, sealed for many months, as the United States Attorney’s Office continues to gather evidence against her, and against those with whom she did business. While she was DA she shared her covert power with Larry Schwartz, who now sits on the Throne of Evil alone, as he recently exclaimed to a horrified elderly couple, “I’m the most powerful man in Westchester.”

On the other hand, his boss, in name only, County Executive Andy Spano, has been the “public face” of the Cabal particularly since Pirro’s departure. Amongst the other members, Reggie LaFayette, Chairman of the
Westchester Democratic Committee, and simultaneously the vastly overpaid Democratic Election Commissioner, has been what used to be known in the Mob as a “Button Man,” literally executing the unlawful election frauds schemed up by Larry Schwartz, whether they involved race fixing, or election ballot tampering, or out and out election fraud.

Of course, there’s Giulio Cavallo, and Zehy Jereis, political gutter snipes whose bread and butter activities have been mostly covert, selling endorsements from the Independence and Republican Parties, respectively. The
common denominator, better yet, the common benefactor, and controller, of these two election fraudsters, is former State Senator Nick Spano, whose endorsement of Phil Amicone in exchange for $1.3 million in no-show patronage jobs for some thirty of his political hacks at Yonkers City Hall is but one of several unlawful activities engaged in by the Yonkers Mayor.

Of course, when Amicone comes back to earth he will realize that his victory over Vinny Restiano, in the Republican Primary, was hollow, and certainly will not translate into four more years when he faces Dennis Robertson in November. He will realize that despite his having the financial and political support of Larry and Andy, the Greenburgh and Mount Vernon primary results portend little, if any, positive impact on his re-election bid.

The trouble is the gig is up; the Cabal is dead. Rank and file Democrats have finally begun to recognize the sham and the manipulation flowing from the ninth floor of the County Office Building. Those in Greenburgh recognized the self-serving motives behind Larry’s and Andy’s support of Suzanne Berger, their finagling of State Assemblymen George Latimer and Adam Bradley, two Democrats with no particular beef against Paul Feiner,
to come out in support of Berger.

Funny how one becomes obligated to the Devil when one accepts money and other campaign support from him; a kind of Godfather Obligation, that, thankfully, constituents are beginning to see through and discount.

Who, after all, were Bradley and Latimer to be telling Greenburgh residents that they ought to be turning their backs on Paul Feiner? And why would the voters of Mount Vernon listen to the likes of David Paterson or Eliot
Engel, real outsiders coming into their besieged city, telling them to vote for Ernie Davis, a man under federal investigation, about to be indicted, just because Larry, Andy, and the Cabal wanted to keep their operative in

Yes, the People, not only in Mount Vernon and Greenburgh, but all over Westchester, have opened their eyes. Not even massive amounts of money - Ernie Davis spent ten times what Clinton Young spent - no, not even money will fool them anymore. Naturally, the political bosses have had their way for so long that they find it difficult to accept the new reality.

They have fixed so many races, monkeyed around with voting machines, and gotten access to ballots for the purpose of rigging election outcomes so many times over the last ten years that it’s going to take a few federal indictments and convictions to fully convince them that the Cabal is history.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


A 19-year-old Philadelphia man is in custody today after an alleged kidnapping and assault on the WCU campus last week. Alexander Delvalle faces charges of Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Terroristic Threats, Unlawful Restraint, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Harassment, and Disorderly Conduct stemming from an incident that occured at the South Campus housing complex in East Bradford. Delvalle was arraigned yesterday and committed to Chester County Prison in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in Downingtown District Court (15-2-06, CR-0000412-07).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Only one preliminary hearing took place out of the 16 cases listed on today's Criminal Day docket at 15-1-01; of the remaining 15 cases, 6 were continued, 5 were withdrawn, and the remaining 4 were waived to Common Pleas Court.

The lone hearing was the matter of Commonwealth vs. Ashton John Bater, who was arrested on drug charges last month following a pedestrian stop. On August 10 at 14:41, Ofc. Aaron Davis spotted Bater allegedly drop an orange prescription pill bottle at a nearby autobody shot in the area of North Wayne Street and Hannum Avenue. Bater was stopped in front of a nearby laundromat and showed slurred speech, was unstable on his feet, and had an odor of alcohol eminating from his breath. At that point, Ofc. Davis placed Bater under arrest for Public Drunkeness. As Ofc. Jason O'Neill was placing Bater under arrest, Bater was allegedly found to have been holding a cell phone charger, a dirty sock, and a glass pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana. In a seach incident to arrest, a small white pill allegedly was found in Bater's right front pants pocket; the pill was sent tot he Lima Lab and tested positive for Oxycodone, which Bater was allegedly not prescribed. Bater was held for trial in Common Pleas Court on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphanalia, Public Drunkeness, and Scattering Rubbish (15-1-01, CR-0000217-07). He remains at Chester County Prison on a probation violation detainer and also at two cases pending in front of Judge Howard F. Riley, Jr. that are listed on the current trial term, both for Possession of a Controlled Substance (CP-15-CR-00000206-2007 & CP-15-CR-0003071-2007).

Other than that, it was fairly uneventful...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Over the weekend, two teens robbed the Lukoil gas station on Hannum Avenue. At around 04:25 Saturday morning, the suspects entered the store, both displaying weapons - one displayed a knife, the other what appeared to be a handgun. One of the actors, a 16-year-old from Willow Street, Lancaster County, was arraigned this morning in front of Judge Bruno on charges of Robbery, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Recieving Stolen Property, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Terroristic Threats, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, Possession of a Weapon, and Conspiracy counts. He was committed to Chester County Prison in lieu of $100,000 cash bail with a preliminary hearing scheduled for next Tuesday (15-1-01, CR-0000262-07). Although this suspect is being tried as an adult, his name is not being posted at this time due to his age. As of this morning, the second actor remains at large, however WCPD reportedly have an idea who the actor is. If the second subject is arraigned tonight, of course, WC Unplugged will let you know...

In other arraignments in front of Judge Bruno this morning:

Joseph Spross, 21, of Glenolden, Delaware County, was arrested early this morning for assaulting his girlfriend during the course of a domestic arguement in the East End according to a complaint filed by Ofc. Jeffrey Murray. Spross was charged with Simple Assault, Harassment, and Disorderly Conduct; he was committed to CCP in lieu of $7,500 cash bail with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday in front of Judge Knapp (15-1-04, CR-0000318-07).

Alexander Hamer III, 30, of Tredyffrin, was arrested last night by Tredyffrin police after a traffic stop. Over the course of their investigation, officers found cause to charge Hamer with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphanalia, Possession With Intent to Deliver Drug Paraphanalia, and three traffic offenses. Bail was set at $50,000/10 percent, mainly because he has had no prior criminal contact and his parents had appeared in court on his behalf; at the arraignment, he was represented by his mother, who is an attorney. He was also ordered placed on electronic home monitoring upon release from CCP. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday at Chesterbrook District Court in front of Judge Jeremy Blackburn (15-4-01, CR-0000117-07).

Jay Barski, 49, of West Goshen, was arrested by Tredyffrin Township police after a domestic assault on his girlfriend earlier in the week. Ofc. Michael DeHoratius of Tredyffrin Police filed a complaint charging Barski with Simple Assault, Harassment, and two counts of Disorderly Conduct. Barski had indicated to Tredyffrin Police that he would surrender on Monday, however officers picked him up either last night or early this morning. During his arraignment, Barski got on Judge Bruno's bad side by acting evasive and twice lying to the judge while being asked the standard arraignment questions. Barski was committed to CCP in lieu of $10,000 cash bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday in Chesterbrook District Court (15-4-01, CR-0000116-07).

One last on-call arraignment for the weekend is about to begin, so we'll see what comes out of this session.

Tomorrow starts the Criminal Term for Judge Howard F. Riley, Jr.'s "Rotation I" - a couple of huge trials are expected to take place during the course of his two-week term. Also, the second half of Judge Thomas Gavin's split four-week term and the second week of Judge Anthony Sarcione's "Rotation II" term round up the week at Common Pleas Court. Tomorrow at Downingtown District Court, the four robbery suspects from the PNC Bank robbery in East Bradford are expected to have preliminary hearings in front of Judge Rita Arnold; whether or not they are continued remains to be seen. Also, later this week, a recap of cases from the recently completed Criminal Terms of Judges James MacElree and Ronald Nagle. This will be a pretty active week on the site to check in regularly or sign up for the email alert feature in the top left corner of the site...

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Shortly after midnight this morning, a Delaware man led WCPD and West Goshen officers on a foot chase through the Chester Creek and the surrounding neighborhood. Andre J. Rivera, 21, of Wilmington, was pulled over on a traffic stop by Ofc. A.J. McCarthy on the 300 block of East Market Street. Rivera then fled from the car on foot, at one point cutting across the Chester Creek near the area of Tolsdorf's Oil Lube Express. After several minutes, Rivera was apprehended and taken into custody. He faces charges of Escape, Driving with a Suspended License, Speeding, and Careless Driving. He was arraigned this morning in front of Judge Bruno and had his bail set at $7,500. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday in front of Judge Knapp (15-1-04, CR-0000317-07).

Friday, September 21, 2007


Six cases, headlined by a nearly hour-long preliminary hearing, capped a relatively quick day at 15-1-04's Criminal Day. Four defendants waived up to Common Pleas Court, including "frequent flier" Benjamin Larone Boggs, who waived up a single count of Defiant Trespassing after an arrest last week; he remains free on 10 percent of $500 bail despite two active cases in Common Pleas Court (15-1-04, CR-0000303-07). A 5th defendant entered into a summary disposition agreement on charges of Terrorist Threats and related offenses...

The day's lone hearing was a rather contentious one at that. In the matter of Commonwealth vs. Mourad Nechab (15-1-04, CR-0000302-07), the 40-year-old West Chester resident stood accused of attempting to kill his wife and 9-year-old daughter nearly two weeks ago. On September 17 at 00:11, WCPD units were dispatched to the report of a physical domestic which later was upgraded to a stabbing call. The wife of the defendant testified that Nechab allegedly tried to choke her during the course of a domestic dispute. As he was choking her, she testified that he had repeatedly said, "You're going to get killed tonight." She was able to escape at that point and retire to the bedroom.

Later that night, Nechab allegedly confronted his wife again, initially by putting a pillow over her head and repeated the earlier threats. In the course of that incident, Nechab then stabbed his wife 7-to-8 times on the left side of her body. She then ran out of the apartment and began knocking on doors seeking help. Nechab, meanwhile, then confronted his 9-year-old daughter, allegedly striking her in the head with a chair, then stabbing her. The daughter suffered cuts to the head, nose, and neck and had a finger that was sliced, to which a nurse on scene was tending to. Both patients were flown to trauma centers as a result of their injuries.

Police then arrived and placed Nechab under arrest; as he was in handcuffs, Nechab could be heard repeatedly saying, "I just killed my family." Ofc. Jeff Gallo testified that he arrived on scene and saw blood on the walls and carpet leading from the crime scene. Within the apartment, Ofc. Gallo saw blood all over the kitchen and couch from the attack, a broken wooden chair with two of the legs broken off and blood down the side of it, and two knifes - a broken steak knife found in the dining room and a non-serrated knife with the blade found in the living room and handle found on the kitchen floor.

While the daughter's testimony was provided in a closed courtroom, it was observed that she had been looking away from the defendant during the course of her testimony; Nechab was also seen breaking down in tears during the course of the hearing. The wife had also offered her testimony while looking away at the defendant; it didn't stop defense attorney Stephen Baer from putting her through an intense 25 minute cross-examination which bordered on badgering.

Ultimately, Nechab was held for trial on all counts, including two counts of Criminal Homicide, four counts of Aggravated Assault, three counts of Possession of an Instrument of Crime, two counts each of Simple Assault and Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and one count each of Attempted Homicide, Terroristic Threats, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

In a sign of either complete confidence or stupidity, Baer actually attempted to argue for a reduced bail. After arguements by Assistant DA Christina Pelosi that Nechab was not a U.S. Citizen, making him a significant flight risk, and that he was on a two-year probation period for an April 2006 incident in West Goshen, in which he pled no contest to Aggravated Assault in front of Judge Ronald Nagle (CP-15-CR-0002534-2006). Baer also argued that Nechab had a detainer lodged against him as a result of a violation, and that even with a reduced bail, Nechab wasn't going anywhere. Nechab's bail was doubled from the $250,000 at the time of his arrest to $500,000.

After the dust settled, three defendants were arraigned on criminal charges:

Mark Cassian Capriotti, 19, of Bristol, Bucks County, was arraigned on charges of Aggravated Assault, Escape, Resisting Arrest, and Underage Drinking in a complaint filed by Ofc. Christopher Craig. He was released from custody on $5,000 unsecured bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for next Friday in front of Judge Knapp (15-1-04, CR-0000316-07).

Kevin M. Corr, 20, of Moorestown, N.J., was arraigned on charges of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphanalia, and Underage Drinking in a complaint filed by Cpl. Pam Baumann. He was released on $1.00 nominal bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for next Friday (15-1-04, CR-0000315-07).

Jesus Munoz Maceda, 30, of West Chester, was arraigned on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphanalia, Public Drunkeness, and Disorderly Conduct after an incident on the WCU campus according to a complaint filed by WCUPD Ofc. Patrick Ehmann. His bail was set at $5,000 unsecured and his preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday in front of Judge Bruno (15-1-01, CR-0000259-07).

And finally, there's the "catch and release" of James B. Allison. Allison had failed to appear for his preliminary hearing last week on drug related charges. The good news was that he was arrested on the outstanding bench warrant and several non-traffic warrants; the bad news is that his bail was restored despite having failed to appear for court and having two other cases pending in front of Judge Knapp. His preliminary hearing on the case he failed to appear for last week was rescheduled for October 5; he also has a preliminary hearing scheduled on Ofc. John DiBattista's charges next Friday. Here's hoping Allison's next arrest is on the west side of town...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Now, some cases from the recently concluded Criminal Term in Courtroom #8, presided by Judge William Mahon:

Tykesha Jackson, 21, of Coatesville, pled guilty to two separate assault cases - one in West Chester and one in Valley Township. In the West Chester case, Jackson and co-defendant Pierce Rivera assaulted a 17-year-old male in the area of Market and Everhart Streets on January 19 at 23:32 (CP-15-CR-0001372-2007). In the second case, Ofc. Todd Smith of the Valley Township Police responded to the report of a fight on northbound Route 82 near the eastbound on-ramp to the 30 Bypass. Upon arrival, the victim reported to Ofc. Smith that she and Jackson had gotten out of their car and that Jackson had struck her in the left eye with a closed fist (CP-15-CR-0003162-2006). Jackson had been declared a fugitive in both cases after failing to appear for preliminary hearings in District Court. She was arrested on May 31; her hearing at Judge Bruno's court in August was a fairly heated event, in stark contrast to the relative calm in Courtroom #8 (probably because the victim's family wasn't present).

In imposing the negotiated sentence, Judge Mahon asked of Jackson "What does that say to your future" now that she had two convictions for assault. As part of the agreement, Jackson was sentenced to 3 months, 11 days to 23 months at Chester County Prison and two years consecutive probation. Additionally, Jackson is slated to testify against Rivera at his upcoming trial, which is slated to be heard in front of Judge Thomas Gavin when is Criminal Term resumes on Monday (CP-15-CR-0000734-2007)...

Ryan Brennan, 24, of West Chester, pled guilty on two cases in front of Judge Mahon. On October 9, 2005 at 02:25, Ofc. Harry O'Neill responded to a report of a disturbance in the area of East Minter and South Walnut Streets. Upon arrival, he observed two white males running between two houses on the 50 block of South Walnut. Brennan was seen kicking a rear window at 21 South Walnut. Ofc. O'Neill, along with Ofcs. David Hammond and Bill Viebahn attmpted to place Brennan under arrest, however it required substantial force to subdue him. Breenan was observed with a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, slurred speech, and was highly agitated at the time of the arrest. Brennan was admitted into ARD on March 27, 2006 however, a DUI incident on May 2 resulted in his removal from the program (CP-15-CR-0002498-2007).

On that day at 03:48, Chester County 9-1-1 recieved a report of an erratic driver from WCPD Ofc. Jason O'Neill, who was off-duty at the time. The vehicle was travelling southbound on US 202 in Birmingham. Ofc. O'Neill followed the vehicle, driven by Brennan, down 202 until Lt. Bruce Abele of the Birmingham Police initiated a traffic stop, assisted by Ofc. O'Neill and two officers from Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police. Lt. Abele observed a moderate odor of alcohol from the defendant, who had admitted that he had consumed some beer that night. After failing three field sobriety tests, Brennan refused to submit to a blood draw at CCH, and was arrested for DUI. At a surpession hearing, Brennan accused Ofc. O'Neill of erratic driving, which in turn caused him to drive erratically. At that hearing, Lt. Abele noted that he did not observe Brennan driving erratically, however, he did initiate a traffic stop based on a window tint violation. Judge Mahon denied the supression motion (CP-15-CR-0000085-2006). Brennan was formally removed from ARD by Judge James MacElree II on July 24 as a result of the DUI charges.

As part of the negotiated plea deal, Brennan was sentenced to 72 hours to 6 months at CCP and fined $1,000 on the DUI charge; in the West Chester case, Brennan was sentenced to 2-and-a-half years consecutive probation on charges of Resisting Arrest and Defiant Trespassing...

Paul Harjes, 22, of Trevose, Bucks County, pled guilty of Possession of a Controlled Substance following an investigation on the West Chester University campus. On May 3 at 03:02, Ofc. Evon Burke of WCU Police responded to a report of an alcohol violation on the 4th floor of Goshen Hall. Upon arrival, Harjes was leaving the dorm room, carrying a black duffel bag which for which he consented to a search. Ofc. Burke found 2 non-labeled pill containers with several pills of what later tested positive for Percoset and Adderall, for which Harjes had no prescription for. Also found was a 20 mg oral dispenser containing Oxycodone. As part of a negotiated plea, Harjes was sentenced to 1 year probation, fined $500, and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service (CP-15-CR-0002303-2007)...

The Criminal Terms in Judge MacElree's court and Judge Ronald Nagle's court will wrap up tomorrow. Recaps from both of those terms will be posted sometime next week as records become available for review. Additionally, tomorrow is Criminal Day at 15-1-04; nine cases are listed, including a preliminary hearing on an attempted murder charge from Seven Oaks Apartments a couple of weekends ago...
Court Of Appeals Hears Last Death Penalty Case In System; Future of Death Penalty Hangs In Balance

By Jeffrey Deskovic
Albany Correspondent,
The Westchester Guardian


The case of John Taylor v. People of the State of New York represents the last death penalty case currently in the New York State court system. The highest court in New York, The Court Of Appeals, had previously ruled New York’s Death Penalty Statute un-Constitutional in the case People v. LaValle. Now, three years later, this last case could be one that brings back the death penalty judicially.

Since the previous ruling, there have been two new justices appointed to the Court by George Pataki, a governor
who had brought back the death penalty in 1995. Governors generally appoint judges whose political and judicial positions resemble their own. Such is the setting in which John Taylor’s horrific and brutal crime for which he stands sentenced to death is being considered. As such, the case represents a clear possibility that the death penalty might be judicially reinstated.

Factual Background

John Taylor and his accomplice, Crag Godineaux entered a Wendy’s restaurant in Flushing on May 24, 2000 as workers were preparing to close for the night. Taylor robbed the manager at gunpoint, taking about $2400. They then ordered all seven employees into a large freezer in the basement, binding and gagging five of them, and tying plastic bags over their heads. They shot each of the seven in the head, killing five. Jaquoine Johnson and Patricio Castro survived and testified at trial. Godineaux, his accomplice, who is mentally retarded, pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Taylor was convicted of five counts of first degree murder and sentenced to death on three of them. On the remaining counts and other non-capital crimes, he was sentenced to 15 consecutive terms of 25 years to life in prison.


This case was the sole case heard Court Of Appeals Hears Last Death Penalty Case In System; Future of Death Penalty Hangs In Balance by The Court Of Appeals heard on September 10, 2007. Representing the Defendant was Capital Defender Kevin Doyle, First Deputy Capital Defender Susan Salomon, and Deputy Capital Defender Barry J. Fischer. Representing the People, on behalf of Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown were Assistant District Attorney’s Gary Fidel, John Castellano, and Donna Aldea. The format was as follows: The Defense was given an hour and twenty minutes, the prosecution an hour and fifty minutes,
followed by thirty minutes of rebuttal by the Defense.

Although there were many issues which were argued in the legal briefs, there were three main issues which
were the subject of the oral argument.

1) Whether the court should uphold it’s previous decision in People v. LaValle,

2) The Prosecutor’s comments regarding the Defendant’s children testifying at the penalty phase of the trial, and,

3) The Defendant’s Right To Counsel. Because the judicial decision rendered in this case had death penalty
implications, issues surrounding the death penalty were also argued.

Upholding Lavelle

The main issue was whether the court should uphold its previous decision in Lavelle, which was that the New
York Death Penalty Statute was Constitutionally defective, in that the statute required judges to inform the jury
that they could sentence a defendant to death or to life imprisonment without parole, or should they deadlock, the
Court would sentence the defendant to the maximum amount that it could.

The previous ruling was that such an instruction was coercive because it encouraged a jury to do the same thing
and sentence a defendant to the maximum amount they could, death. Being flawed in that way, the Court said the
legislature would have to redraft a new statute if they wanted a death penalty.

The prosecution sought to overturn that decision attempting to compel the Court to bring back the death penalty
judicially. Susan Salomon, of the Capital Defenders Office, argued this issue on behalf of Taylor. She argued that the statute was indeed flawed in its construction, and under questioning from Judge Smith, indicated that any attempt by a judge to fix the flaw by substituting the legislature-required jury instruction to one of their own was improper.

Prosecutor Aldea, countered, opening her presentation by saying that the previous ruling of the court was “unnecessary, inappropriate and incorrect.”

This prompted the immediate response from Chief Judge Judith Kaye, “Those are fighting words, counsel.” Aldea tried to make light by chuckling a little while going forward with her argument, but it was clear that she had antagonized Kaye. One particularly telling exchange between Aldea and Judge Smith occurred when Smith asked her, “So you are saying that we should save the statute any way that we can, even if it means that we interpret the statute in a way other than that intended by the Legislature?” Her response was “Yes.”

If LaValle is overturned, it could mean the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York.

Right To Counsel

An interesting issue with respect to the right to counsel was raised in this case. In order to uphold the 6th Amendmentguarantee of The Right To Counsel, the law dictates that once it has been communicated to the authorities that a defendant has an attorney, all communication between police and the suspect must cease outside of the presence of that attorney, and any waiver of that right must be made in the presence of
a lawyer.

Unusualness In The Taylor Case

Taylor incriminated himself verbally, in writing, and on videotape. The problem is that while Taylor was in custody, but before he incriminated himself, Pam Jordan, an attorney who hadrepresented him in a previous matter, called the police and told them she was representing him. They then conveyed that information to the Defendant, who replied that he did not want her to represent him. The police then continued to question him, and at some point thereafter he implicated himself.

The next day, when the police wanted to conduct a police lineup they then called Jordan and had her come to the station to observe the lineup.

Arguments Surrounding This Issue

Barry Fisher argued this point on behalf of the Defense. Summarized, the arguments were: that the police should
not delve into the relationship between the suspect and the lawyer, or inquiring as to whether the suspect wants to waive the right to counsel, because that is a Pandora’s Box which could only open the door to a lot of controversies in other cases. Fischer mentioned the need for police to have a ‘bright line’ clearly indicating to them that once an attorney has communicated to the police that he is representing a defendant, all questioning must cease.

The question was asked what constituted sufficient relationship between a lawyer and a suspect, given that a lawyer who was a virtual stranger with no connection to a suspect could not simply call the station and announce he was representing the suspect. The reply was that a sufficient connection was being retained by the suspect or the suspect’s family, or previous representation on a separate case. Fisher found it suspicious that the police had accepted his waiver outside of the presence of Jordan, and yet insisted that she come to the station the next day
for the lineup despite what Taylor had previously said. When the Prosecution was asked by one of the Judges why the police had suddenly brought the lawyer in the next day for the lineup, one of them replied “Out of expediency”. The court’s follow up remarks indicated that that was an insufficient answer.

The importance of this issue was that if a violation of Taylor’s Right To Counsel was found, that would mean
suppression of all of the statements, which is what furnished some of the evidence of premeditation at the penalty
phase. This is an unusual case in that the Defendant was not raising this issue so as to get a reversal of his conviction, but merely to get a new sentencing hearing.

Prosecution Comments

At the sentencing hearing, the defendant’s children testified that they loved their father, and that he was loving. The prosecution attacked the Defendant by questioning what kind of father would subject his children to the horrible experience of testifying in such a hearing, and also referred to them as “props”, in a defense that was staged. Fisher argued on behalf of the Defendant that allowing such a commentary, which has previously been unknown in other cases, would have a “chilling effect on family mitigation”.

Aldea argued that the word “props” did not mean that the children were lying, and she also opined that the entire
relationship between the defendant and his children was established only after he had been arrested. Fisher responded on rebuttal that that was not true. Aldea’s reply to this issue in general was “The comments were proper given that the issue was injected by Defendant.”

The Death Penalty Issue as a Whole Because this case is one in which the court could bring the death penalty
back judicially, the proposition of the Death Penalty’s reinstatement loomed large over the proceedings. The defense therefore focused on the subject of the death penalty itself during a portion of the time allotted to them during oral argument. The defense elected to have Kevin Doyle, the Capital Defenders, focus solely on this issue. Putting forth a variety of arguments against the death penalty, he stated that a dozen polls taken since 2003 showed that the public has been turning against the death penalty, not just in New York, but also in other states, and internationally. He indicated three reasons for the shift in opinion:

1) When life without parole was introduced as an alternative punishment, favor for the death penalty drops considerably

2) The Catholic Factor

3) The Issue of Innocent People possibly being Executed

Evolving Standards Of Decency Argument

Doyle stated that evolving standards of decency were against the death penalty. He indicated, “Right across the
Hudson in New Jersey, for example, there is a current moratorium on the death penalty and it is on the verge of
being abolished there as a result of the findings of a study commissioned by the Governor, which recommended
that it be abolished.” He also referenced the United States Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons, which declared that the execution of juveniles was against the evolving standards of decency. Within that opinion the Court considered that all countries save the United States and Somalia had ratified Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of children, which prohibited capital punishment, and the fact that the United States stood alone with only Iran, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and China in permitting capital punishment for anybody. He urged the judges to make New York a moral example that other states with the death penalty could look to in considering whether or not to continue it.

The Catholic Factor

Catholics make up a large portion of New York State’s population, and the recent definitive position taken by the Church against the death penalty was responsible for some of the change of opinion.

Innocence Argument

Doyle also argued that the death penalty has implications with respect to wrongful convictions. New York currently has an alarming 23 DNA exonerations. The reinstatement of the death penalty would assure that there
would be executions of people who were innocent but who had nonetheless been wrongfully convicted. To
further support this contention he mentioned that in the 19th century eight likely innocent people had been
put to death in New York. When asked by The Guardian, following the hearing the source of that statistic, Doyle
mentioned the book In Spite Of Innocence by Bedau and Radelet. He also referenced the fact that former Gov.
Cuomo, a staunch enemy of the death penalty, had also referred to that number in a 1983 speech at St. Rose College in Albany.

Comments Following The Hearing

A number of people offered comments after the hearing, both those who were directly involved, and those
who had an interest in its outcome.

Those with direct involvement

Commenting on the importance of the decision of the Court in this case, Kevin Doyle stated after the hearing that if the Court brought back the death penalty “the execution of the innocent is a virtual inevitability.” Regarding the racial dynamics inherent in the death penalty’s application, he said, “The dynamics of discretion is damned to be discriminatory.” He also said “We believe the Court will stand by its precedent.

We believe the death penalty is finished in New York.” Richard Brown, District Attorney of Queens, had some interesting comments. He stated that although he was the respondent in this case and his of-fice was arguing for the reinstatement of the death penalty, he was personally against the death penalty. He stated that his problem with it was that it was a ‘Terribly inefficient use of prosecutorial resources which took away from manpower
that could be used in the prosecution of other violent crimes; and that it didn’t provide the closure that families
of victims seek because appellate procedures create long intervals between trial and execution of sentence, which
often lasts as much as 20 years. When asked by The Guardian about the contradiction between his position and the fact that his Office was seeking to reinstate the very penalty that he was opposed to, Brown’s response was, ‘I had to defend the law as it existed’. It didn’t seem to matter to him that it is within a district attorney’s discretion whether or not to seek the death penalty, and that therefore there was no contradiction between not seeking the death penalty and the obligation to uphold the law, and that therefore he did not need to seek the reinstatement of a penalty that he felt was not good for society.

Interested Parties who were not involved in the litigation

There were people who were not parties in the litigation who nonetheless were interested in the outcome of
the case. Sharon Witbeck, whose nephew was killed, stated that “It’s ironic that we are talking about premeditation and morality, yet we are premeditating about executing him.” She also opined that the financial resources that are spent on the death penalty would be better spent on crime prevention. She wondered out loud about the cost of the hearing itself and all of the research and time that went into the preparation of the briefs, argumentation etc. inherent in capital prosecution and defense.

Marie Verzulli, whose sister was murdered, and who works as a Victim’s Outreach Liaison with the group New
Yorkers Against The Death Penalty, said, “I hope that the Court upholds its decision.” She did not want to live
in a state that had the death penalty, because it put all of the focus on the defendant and not on the victims, and
that the attendant publicity during the appeals process was a hindrance to victims’ family members healing.

David Kaczynski, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against The Death Penalty issued a press statement which, in part, stated, “The Court Of Appeals got it right in 2004. The Lavelle decision found that the 1995 Capital Punishment Law contained an inherent bias that could not withstand Constitutional scrutiny.” Kacznski referred to 2004 and 2005 public hearings of the Assembly in which victim family members, law enforcement
personnel, and other experts, testified about cases in which the death penalty was given. The Assembly learned
that the victims were re-victimized by the attention given the perpetrator, and taxpayers spent $200 million over 10 years while creating a serious risk that innocent people could be wrongfully executed.

Public opinions show that New Yorkers increasingly prefer life without parole to the death penalty.
Rebecca Kurti, of the group Campaign To End The Death Penalty, found it outrageous that the prosecutor commented on Taylor’s children testifying in his defense. Her sentiment was that the State was trying to execute their father and they wanted him to live because they loved him. what were they supposed to do, keep quiet and let him be executed?

Janet Difiore.

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

Will Officer Bubaris Be Sacrificed For The Sins Of Many?

Back on May 17th the front page of The Westchester Guardian declared “Perez Killing Demands FBI Investigation.” The editorial, In Our Opinion, opined, “It doesn’t require the wisdom of Solomon to recognize that neither the Mount Kisco Village Police, nor the Bedford Town Police Department, should be actively engaged in the investigation of the ‘death by homicide’ as determined by the Westchester Medical Examiner’s Office, of Rene Perez, in the early morning hours of April 29th.”

In light of the fact that officers from each of those departments had allegedly had contact with Mr. Perez, within
hours of his death, it appeared to The Guardian that “reasonableness, and professional investigative ethics demand(ed) that a thirdparty agency investigation be conducted.” The agency recommended by The Guardian was the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That position was justified, particularly given numerous cases involving police officers mishandled by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, cases such as Matthew McKerrick’s and Richard DiGuglielmo’s, in which innocent police officers were knowingly and maliciously subjected to prosecutorial misconduct, convicted, and sent to prison for political expedience. And, ADA Michael Hughes’ involvement, given his correspondence in the McKerrick case, suggesting that it didn’t matter
if the DA’s Office knew the man they prosecuted and sent to prison was innocent, does little to recommend
the integrity of the present investigation.

The indictment of Mount Kisco Police Officer George Bubaris, handed down by a grand jury several days ago, if anything, affirms The Guardian’s position and concerns. In fact, the indictment, first sought by prosecutors on August 21st, and finally obtained two weeks later, raises many more questions, not only about the circumstances surrounding Rene Perez’ death, but also about the relationship of the District Attorney’s Office with some forty-four police departments functioning within Westchester County.

It is noteworthy that although Westchester’s Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Luis Roh, declared that Perez’ death “was the result of a homicide,” that caused the tearing of the mesentery, a membrane that connects the intestines to the abdominal wall, Officer Bubaris is not charged with having delivered the deadly blow. He is not charged with any level of assault upon the person of Rene Perez, nor is anyone else.

Rather, Bubaris is charged with Second Degree Manslaughter, a Class C Felony, defined, as applied to the facts of this incident, as recklessly causing the death of another person; First Degree Unlawful Imprisonment, a
Class E Felony, defined as having restrained another person under circumstances which expose that person to a risk of serious physical injury; as well as two counts of Official Misconduct, a Class A Misdemeanor, presumably for engaging in “Border Dumping” as a knowingly unauthorized exercise of his official function. At her press conference, called to announce the indictment, the District Attorney declared, “The indictment specifically says Officer Bubaris restrained Rene Perez and exposed him to a risk of death.”

The first of many questions that come to mind, under the theory of this indictment, might be, “What if Mr. Perez had collapsed in the laundry or on the street, at Main Street, and Route 117, where Bedford Police reportedly had ‘border-dumped’ him following an earlier incident at Kohl’s in Bedford; would the Mount Kisco Police have conducted the investigation, and would a Bedford Police Officer, or Of-ficers have been indicted?”

Given that officers from both departments had each engaged in the unlawful, but, not necessarily unauthorized,
removal practice, did the determination of who, if anyone, was guilty of Manslaughter and other crimes rest solely upon who had had the last contact with Rene Perez before his alcoholic and neglected body gave out? Under these facts how does the United States Attorney’s Office permit the Bedford Police Department to be a participating agency in the investigation? How do they not see the glaring confl ict of interest?

Yes, unlawful perhaps; but was Officer Bubaris’ trip to Byram Lake Road in the Town of Bedford for the purpose of returning Perez to that jurisdiction, necessarily “unauthorized?” After all, Mount Kisco Police
Lieutenant Dunnigan had responded to the laundry together with Police Officer Dwyer, as well as Officer Bubaris. Dunnigan surely had the same opportunity to view and assess Perez’ sobriety and physical condition, as
had Bubaris. Clearly, he must have been aware of the ‘game plan’ for this vagrant immigrant who reportedly had had hundreds of such contacts between the Mount Kisco, and Bedford Police over more than a decade.

It is highly unlikely that Dunnigan, a superior o cer on the scene, had no knowledge of what would be done by Bubaris in dealing with Perez. Another question involves Dr. Luis Roh, who has come to be known by far too many criminal defense attorneys as a medical examiner who apparently has often said to the District Attorney’s Office, “Tell me what you want me to prove?” He turned the murder/suicide of Archie Harris, 79, by Betty Ramsharam, his home health aide, into a “double homicide” because Eastchester Police, and consequently the DA’s Office, needed him to, so that Selwyn Days, a perfect brain-damaged fall-guy could be convicted, and
more than $350,000 in cash and bearer bonds removed from the premises, and never accounted for by Eastchester Police, could finally be spent.

In the John Spruill case Roh had five Assistant DAs and four White Plains Police Officers at his side as he autopsied Spruill’s deceased aunt. Dr. Roh was so convinced that the middle-aged bus driver had strangled
his aged aunt, the only mother he had ever known. For Roh the fact that Spruill had attempted to stop his aunt from falling backward, tragically, but accidentally, falling on top of her in the process, was simply unacceptable because in DA Jeanine Pirro’s world nobody died by accident, especially when she could invent another Depraved Indifference Murder scenario.

Fortunately for Mr. Spruill, three medical examiners, including the Chief Medical Examiner of Suffolk County, and the judge/fact-finder in the case, thought otherwise.

How can we rely upon Dr. Roh’s analysis? Is it not even remotely possible that Rene Perez, in his drunken condition, might have fallen against a rock, or a guardrail, or some other object, thus injuring his already damaged abdominal area, either before, or a er being dropped off on Byram Lake Road?

Under the top count of the indictment, Second Degree Manslaughter, in order for Officer Bubaris’ conduct to have “recklessly caused the death” of Rene Perez, he had to have known, or should have known, of Perez’ failing physical condition. However, if it is presumed that he had that awareness so should Lieutenant Dunnigan, and Police Officer Dwyer, not to mention the Bedford Police Officers who apprehended Perez at Kohl’s and brought him to Mount Kisco. Why indict only Officer Bubaris? Was it some game of “hot potato” the officers were playing, and prosecutors are perpetuating; that whoever is holding the potato when the music stops gets indicted, and burned?

If not one of them is being accused of assaulting, or physically injuring, Rene Perez, then under the DA’s theory of guilt, aren’t each and every one of perhaps ve, or more Bedford and Mount Kisco Police Officers
who interacted with and disposed of this intoxicated vagrant immigrant collectively culpable in his ultimate death?

Why is one police o cer being sacrificed for the actions of several? And, why is there no attempt to determine if, in fact, the abdominal injury sustained by Mr. Perez was the result of someone’s criminal assault upon him, or merely an accident?

The family of Rene Perez, the Latino Community, Officer Bubaris and, indeed, all residents of Westchester, are entitled to a more honest and accurate outcome than this indictment represents. Given that there are no fewer than three other male Latinos whose deaths in the Mount Kisco area in recent years, have gone unsolved and unexplained, perhaps United States Attorney Michael J. Garcia might take a moment to rethink the level of his Office’s involvement in the Rene Perez case. After all, one would expect that if the full resources and attention of the Federal Government were applied, many more answers might have been produced. And, wouldn’t it be more just and fair to get all of the facts on the table now rather than subjecting Mr. Bubaris, and any other potential defendant, to the double jeopardy of a later reprosecution in Federal Court, as has too often
been the case?
In Our Opinion...

There really is a Tooth Fairy, and Four-Star Generals never lie!

Isn’t it amazing the way those in the highest echelons of government who routinely spin and lie, and those apologists in the media who favor, and feed off of them, display such almost-convincing indignation in response to any exposure of their misrepresentations, and outright lies? One such media apologist, Sean Hannity carries on as if he just graduated from a parochial high school with unbruised knuckles and a piggy bank full of Tooth Fairy money.

Last week on Fox’s nightly Hannity and Colmes program Mr. Hannity made quite a fuss about those in Congress, particularly New York Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton’s, and Chuck Schumer’s, criticisms of General David H. Petraeus’ testimony before them a few days earlier. Both senators, together with other senators and representatives, some of them Republicans, had voiced skepticism with regard to the statistics and analyses the good general had rolled out before them. Many, who had reluctantly financed the President’s surge tactic expressed open disappointment with the unabated daily casualties and deaths, both Iraqi and American,
reported nightly, experiencing difficulty reconciling the Four Star General’s positive evaluations with the known facts.

To hear Hannity carry on about those who believe that Petraeus was carrying water for a president who has gotten himself, and our Nation, into something we should not have entered into, one would think such observers and critics were guilty of blasphemy. Turning to the camera he declared, “This is a Four-Star General they’re
calling a liar,” indignation literally radiating from his brow.

We would remind Mr. Hannity, and others of his ilk, that there is nothing about high military position that inoculates one from telling an occasional lie, either by omission or commission, as former General, then Secretary of State, Colin Powell discovered the hard way in his address before the United Nations on the subject of
Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. We have no reason to believe that General Powell was any more loyal to this president then, than General Petraeus is now.

And, the phenomenon is hardly exclusive to the George W. Bush Administration. Surely Mr. Hannity is aware, if only from studying recent American history, of the exaggerated and often downright false body-counts that came out of Vietnam under General William Westmoreland in his concerted effort to create support for, and pressure on, President Lyndon Johnson, for a widening of the War and an infusion of significantly greater numbers of troops. Westmoreland, much like Petraeus, had his attrition charts and bar graphs, all designed to persuade Congress and the American People that we were succeeding in Vietnam. However, over time it became increasingly clear that the intelligence on enemy casualties and deaths, as well as weapons captured, and a host of other indices, could not be reconciled with the day-to-day reality on the ground, and Westmoreland was ultimately recalled and replaced by General Creighton W. Abrams.

Thankfully, many in Congress understand that those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat prior mistakes. Additionally, the American People are not only wary of the war in Iraq, but have been voicing their opposition to it in ever-increasing numbers. Despite those whose political philosophy and blind loyalty to a misguided and stubborn leader keeps them in lock-step with his policies, and condemning of those who suggest that soldiers can be liars, the last time We checked this was still the United States and nobody, not even four-star generals, are sacred cows.
Our Readers Respond...

Candidate Decries Opposition’s Misrepresentations About Him

Dear Editor:

I am campaigning for Town Board with energy and optimism for the job ahead. During this campaign, I have spoken with hundreds of Greenburgh residents and listened carefully to their concerns and problems.

I believe in open, transparent government. I believe in enacting laws that improve the quality of our environment and the quality of the lives of our residents. I believe taxpayers’ money should be spent wisely and I believe in fairness.

I am running for Town Board because I stand up for what I believe in. Therefore, I must set the record straight about the gross misrepresentations of my opponents. Steve Bass and Eddie Mae Barnes knowingly disregarded the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Board by publicly repeating outrageous statements about me that the Board ruled unfair.

I AM and always will be pro-choice. By declaring to the contrary, Bass and Barnes thumbed their noses at the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Board. This behavior reveals the kind of politicians they are.

They claim credit for policies they oppose and make up lies about their opponents simply to win. How can they now be trusted to keep their promises?

The Scarsdale Inquirer said about me that I am “earnest, sincere and we believe a straight shooter.” You will hear no lies or see me take credit for things I voted against. I will seek your input on all issues and vote for what I believe is right for Greenburgh. I will serve you with energy, diligence and integrity. I am optimistic about our future!

Kevin Morgan, Elmsford

A Call For Impeachment - One Man’s Opinion

Dear Editor:

“We The People” can and must make the present political system implement meaningful change. I believe this can be addressed through public financing of campaigns and limiting the time of campaigning prior to an election. This would get big money out of the election process. It would force the public to pay attention to politics.

President George W. Bush and his elected and corporate partners in crime could not have pillaged this country and its people without the consent of both houses of Congress. Both houses of Congress and a large majority of our elected representatives have given new meaning to the term “checks and balances” and “We The People” are being cheated!

I believe that Impeachment is “Off Of The Table” because most of the Nation’s business is being conducted, bought and paid for “Under The Table”!

Indeed there are obvious grounds for impeachment: Flagrant, multiple violations of a U.S. Treaty. When the Congress ratifies an international treaty, that treaty becomes U.S. law. This is the case with Geneva Convention. Violation of this law is a crime.

Congress is required to uphold the law. Our representatives take an oath to uphold the constitution -- not when it suits their schedule and agenda, or when it is not politically strategic. Whenever the Constitution is violated, it is their legal and moral obligation to act.

Checks and balances must be defended. An executive that refuses to be checked by the other two branches is a danger to our entire system for generations. History has consistently shown that once a President has taken new powers for himself, no subsequent President of either party ever gives back those powers. The President’s extreme over expansion of powers drives us toward a dangerously uncheckable executive.

Impeachment is provided for in OUR CONSTITUTION. People mistakenly think impeachment is terrible for the nation while not recognizing that it is a tool to preserve our democracy. The founding fathers provided us with this tool so we can use it as often as necessary – to keep our Constitutional system in good health for the future.

Flagrant, multiple violations of Federal wiretapping statute. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) makes it a crime to order the wiretapping of anyone without a court-issued warrant. President Bush has admitted to doing precisely this not once, but several hundred times, and this includes only the known cases. Violation of FISA carries a five year prison sentence.*NOTE: Recent changes to FISA do not change the fact
that President Bush has already violated it.

Flagrant, multiple violations of Constitutional due process guarantees. In violation of the Habeas Corpus clause, the President has repeatedly imprisoned foreigners and Americans alike with no access to lawyers or to the charges against them.

*Habeas Corpus -- the 800-year-old cornerstone of our entire justice system -- is what ensures that we catch and hold the real criminals, and not mistakenly hold the innocent -- and so must never be violated. The Supreme Court has ruled that the President’s actions were illegal, and that his justifications were totally without basis in law.

The biggest threat to our nation is education - formal or otherwise. I think that if we had real open debate, instead of the present choreographed position presentations of scripted agendas, our country could call itself a genuine democracy.

Owen Fisher, Yonkers, NY

More Kudos for Judge Lange

Dear Editor:

I am a regular reader and enjoy your paper very much. I particularly like the articles written by Judge Kenneth Lange. I find them to be extremely interesting, informative and well-written. I look forward to reading them every week.

Thank you, Judge Lange, for your literary efforts. They are superb!

John J. Timmel

Another Candidate Rails Against Misrepresentation

Dear Editor:

In a mailing, the Democratic City Committee alleged that I am NOT a real Democrat and that’s why people should vote for their candidates instead of me, Candyce Corcoran, in the upcoming Democratic primary for Common Council.

How can they say that I’m not a real Democrat when one of their candidates didn’t even register with the Board of Elections until May 5, 2006, so she could vote? Did they forget that I was born and raised here?

The voting record of the Democratic City Committee’s candidate, Ms. Lecuona, according to the Board of Elections Voting History Report, reveals that she has only voted in one General Election in White Plains. That was on Nov. 07, 2006. According to Board of Elections voting records, which lists all elections voted in, she did not vote in the school referendum October 17, 2006, on the $66-million bond issue being used to renovate and
upgrade city school district buildings and fields, even though this was the largest bond issue the citizens of White Plains have ever been asked to approve. Interestingly, she was on the school district committee that reviewed the need, the scope, and costs of the bond issue in the summer of 2006 -- yet, she didn’t even bother to vote!

I’ve always believed that true citizenship is reflected in exercising your right to vote, especially in local elections which directly affect our homes and families. How can the Democratic City Committee make its ridiculous allegation that I’m not what they call a REAL Democrat, when they put up for office someone with such a flimsy
record of voting in White Plains Elections? The voters will have the final say in the Sept. 18th primary as to who is the REAL Democrat. In their wisdom, I’m confident they’ll recognize that I qualify for the title!

Candyce Canelstein Corcoran
The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Terrence Chalk Update: Named “Westchester Business Person Of The Year” In 2006
Defendant, Ten Months In Jail, Begins To See Some Daylight
United States Federal District Court, White Plains
Judge Stephen C. Robinson Presiding

In our July 5, 2007 issue The Court Report entitled Riding High In February, Shot Down In November, concluded with the following:

Analysis: The Guardian has learned that Defendant Terrence Chalk, who, until his arrest by the FBI, had founded and was successfully operating Compulinx, a Westchester-based computer management firm, since 1990, is, in
fact, the twin brother of Todd Chalk, an FBI agent who does not get along with him. The significance of that fact may become more apparent over time given what appears to be a concerted effort by both FBI agent John Flanagan, and the United States Attorney’s Office to keep Mr. Chalk incarcerated, and unavailable to counsel.

The July 5th Analysis developed following Terrence Chalk’s appearance on June 26th before Federal District Judge Stephen C. Robinson would appear somewhat prophetic in light of information revealed to that Court Friday afternoon September 7th. Terrence Chalk, who is charged by the United States Attorney’s Of-fice, together with his nephew Damon T. Chalk, with Conspiracy To Influence Financial Institutions By Making False Statements On Applications For Loans, Lines Of Credit, and Credit Cards, once again appeared before Judge
Robinson, accompanied by his attorney, Mayo Bartlett of White Plains.

The hearing was essentially for the purpose of informing the Court with regard to issues of discovery. At the June hearing, more than two months earlier, Assistant United States Attorney Eugene Ingoglia, lead prosecutor in
the case, had told the Court, “The Government has produced voluminous discovery. There is more than a million files on the hard-drive, forty-five thousand e-mails, thirty-five thousand other documents, and four spread sheets. We’ve produced it and given it to Defense Counsel in its entirety.”

Judge Robinson had then asked Mr. Bartlett, “Do you have a sense of how long it will take to get your arms around the discovery material?” To which Bartlett had responded, “In the form in which the material was given
to us, it is as though it were in a locked safe.” Thus was crystallized the issue that would need to be dealt with in order for the case to proceed in a timely and expeditious manner, the principle issue that the Court expected
to address at the September hearing.

The hearing opened with a statement by Mr. Ingoglia to the Court that the Government was enabled to access the hard-drive with the use of “twohundred and fifty dollars of software, and an adapter.” There then followed
a discussion of the possibility of Mr. Bartlett being able to access the harddrive in the presence of the Defendant, even while he remains incarcerated at the County Jail in Valhalla. It was noteworthy that Mr. Ingoglia was not accompanied by FBI agent Flanagan, a key figure in the investigation who had sat beside him at the prior hearing, but rather by Special Agent Mazurka.

Attorney Bartlett, apparently pleased by the prospect of being able to work with the discovery materials, even as his client remains incarcerated, however, related his concerns with regard to scheduling and privacy issues inherent in the jail environment and regulations. Having voiced his concerns to the Court, and receiving
the necessary acknowledgements and offers of assistance, Mr. Bartlett then turned to another, perhaps unexpected, matter.

Addressing the Court he declared, “There’s an investigation of Todd Chalk, Your Honor, by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, regarding allegations by his mother of forgery and fraud in the transfer of property.” The statement, apparently duly noted by the Court, drew absolutely no response from the Prosecution.


It would appear that perhaps ‘the worm has begun to turn’ in this Cain and Abel scenario. Not only the failure of the Government to respond to Defense’s revelation to the Court about Todd Chalk, but also the absence of Agent Flanagan, who was apparently close to him, and a generally more pleasant and cooperative attitude than previously witnessed from the Prosecution table would tend to support such a conclusion.