Thursday, December 20, 2007

Janet Difiore.

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Eleven Years Later: Another Man With A Bat, Another Wrongfully Targeted Police Officer; DA’s Office Still Trying To Twist And Turn A Truthful Witness As In The DiGuglielmo Case

Witness Reports Repeated Harrassment, Intimidation And False Imprisonment Tactics By ADA Egenhauser And Harrison Police In Effort To Make Her Lie

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
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SOFIA SAENZ,

Plaintiff,

-against-

TOWN/VILLAGE OF HARRISON, New York and BARBARA EGENHAUSER in her official capacity as a Westchester County, New York, Assistant District Attorney,

Defendants,
---------------------------------------------------X
07 Civ. 10534 (WCC)
COMPLAINT

Jury Trial Demanded

Plaintiff SOFIA SAENZ, by her attorneys Lovett & Gould, LLP, for her complaint
respectively states:

NATURE OF THE ACTION

1. This is an action for compensatory damages, proximately resulting from the conduct of certain police officers employed by the Town/Village of Harrison and Defendant Egenhauser jointly undertaken under color of the laws of the State of New York, for violations of Plaintiff ’s federal civil rights, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

JURISDICTION

2. The Court’s jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sections 1331, 1343.

THE PARTIES

3. Plaintiff SOFIA SAENZ is a female of Peruvian national origin. She is also domiciliary of the State of New York and a resident of the Northern Counties.

4. Defendant TOWN/VILLAGE OF HARRISON (hereinafter “Town”), New York, is a municipal corporate subdivision of the State of New York duly existing by reason of and pursuant to the laws of said State.

5. Defendant BARBARA EGENHAUSER (hereinafter “Egenhauser”), who is sued only for injunctive relief in her official capacity, at all times relevant to this complaint was employed as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Westchester County, New York, District Attorney.

THE FACTS

6. On August 20, 2007, at or about 9:15 P.M. at or about 235 Harrison Avenue in the Town, Plaintiff witnessed an incident involving Joshua D. Clark (Plaintiff’s then boyfriend) and Ralph Tancredi (Plaintiff’s former boyfriend, a police officer employed by the Town, and the President of the Town’s PBA) during which inter alia Clark threatened to strike Tancredi in the head with a baseball bat.

7. Responding Town police seized the bat, and inter alia transported Plaintiff to the Town’s Police Headquarters where they (Police Officer Vincent Mussolini and a female police officer whose identity is not presently known to Plaintiff) detained her in a room for approximately three hours with a view towards coercing her, over her repeated objection, to bear witness against Tancredi - - not because of any wrongdoing by Tancredi, but to retaliate against Tancredi for his having previously filed federal civil rights actions against the Town, its Chief of Police and other members of the Police Department who violated his and other police officers federally protected rights. De-Vittorio v. Hall, 07 Civ. 0812 (WCC); Duffelmeyer v. Marshall, 07 Civ. 2807 (WCC). That retaliatory conduct is known to, and has been expressly condoned by, a majority of the members of the Town’s Board of Police Commission which has final discretionary policy making authority over the Police Department and its administration.

8. At the time of Plaintiff’s detention in Headquarters she did not consent and made it clear to her captors that she had no interest in assisting in their retaliatory plan. In that connection there was neither probable cause nor arguable probable cause to believe she had engaged in any wrongdoing, she was conscious of her confinement, and that confinement was not otherwise authorized and/or privileged.

9. Several days thereafter Mussolini presented himself at Plaintiff’s residence and attempted to coerce Plaintiff to sign paperwork, requested by Egenhauser, as a predicate for issuance against Tancredi and in favor of Plaintiff of a temporary order of protection. Plaintiff refused and as a result Mussolini directed her to call Egenhauser.

10. In turn Egenhauser directed Plaintiff to report to the Office of the District Attorney where, again, Plaintiff repeatedly advised that she did not want anything to do with either an order of protection involving Tancredi or assisting in the [First Amendment] retaliation directed against Tancredi by reason of his federal lawsuits.

11. Despite Plaintiff ’s repeated protestations to Egenhauser, Egenhauser advised Plaintiff that if she did not agree to an order of protection Clark would “get in trouble” - - a threat that she had earlier conveyed to Clark who she told would be arrested on Tancredi’s complaint if he (Clark) did not first accuse Tancredi of criminal
wrong doing.

12. At the time of Plaintiff’s in-office meeting with Egenhauser and following Plaintiff’s repeated refusals to agree to an order of protection, Plaintiff’s confinement in Egenhauser’s office was non-consensual, Plaintiff was aware of her confinement, there was no probable cause and/or arguable probable cause to detain her, and that detention was not otherwise privileged or authorized. Egenhauser’s conduct with respect to Plaintiff was in accordance with long-established policy of the District Attorneys (past and current) who had knowingly condoned Egenhauser’s commission of crimes including subornation of perjury by a civilian complainant and a County Police Of-ficer before a Westchester County Grand Jury [Corona v. Lunn, 00 Civ. 7330 (BDP)].
As to the incumbent District Attorney’s condonation of crimination wrong-doing by high ranking members of the Harrison Police Department, see Tornello v. County of Westchester, 07 Civ. 6697 (CLB).

13. One day prior to Tancredi’s appearance in Town Justice Court on a violation (Harrassment in the Second Degree in violation of New York Penal Law Section 240.26) relating to Clark and the August 20, 2007, interaction, Egenhauser again summoned Plaintiff to her office at which time Egenhauser (in the presence of Town Police Officer Edward Lucas, and Town Police Detective Richard Light) repeatedly instructed Plaintiff (over Plaintiff’s objections) that she had been “abused” by Tancredi and questioned her about supposed cocaine abuse by Tancredi. Light then falsely advised her that Tancredi had referred to Plaintiff as a “coke whore”. Lucas then advised Plaintiff that Tancredi was a thief and had stolen money from the PBA. Egenhauser, Light and Lucas all then made not so subtle threats that if Plaintiff did not cooperate with them against Tancredi in connection with their retaliatory plan with respect to which Plaintiff did not want to participate they would seek to have her deported.

14. Subsequent to Tancredi’s Town Court appearance, to which Plaintiff had been brought by Town Police, Light (on the pretext that he was going to drive Plaintiff to her residence), drove her instead to Police Headquarters where he placed her in a room and interrogated her about Tancredi. In response Plaintiff repeatedly protested her confinement, advising that she was “hungry and wanted to leave - - I don’t want to
be part of this”. Light would not permit Plaintiff to depart.

15. Officer Lucas and Police Officer Mark DiGiacomo then joined Light in the room with Plaintiff and further interrogated her, this time suggesting that Tancredi was involved in illegal gambling operations. Again Plaintiff protested that she did not want “any part of this” and that she “want[ed] to go home”. In response Lucas cautioned her to “go with the order of protection - - you’re in with us”.

16. Plaintiff ’s confinement at Headquarters by Light, Lucas and DiGiacomo was not consented to by her, she was aware of her confinement, there was no probable cause or arguable probable cause for her detention, and that confinement was not otherwise privileged or authorized - - although unlawful conduct by members of the
Town Police Department has been knowingly condoned by a majority of the Town’s Board of Police Commissioner. Ultimately, Light drove Plaintiff to her residence.

17. As a proximate result of Defendant’s conduct Plaintiff has been forced to endure: repeated unlawful imprisonments; repeated victimization as a result of incidents of Official Misconduct, Coercion and Attempted Coercion by the Town police and Egenhauser; repeated threats against her and Clark; emotional upset; anxiety;
public embarrassment; public humiliation; shame and she has otherwise been rendered sick and sore.

AS AND FOR A FIRST CLAIM AGAINST THE TOWN

18. Repeats and realleges as if fully set forth the allegations of fact contained in paragraphs “1” to “17”, inclusive.

19. Under the premises the Town violated Plaintiff’s rights as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

AS AND FOR A SECOND CLAIM AGAINST EGENHAUSER

20. Repeats and realleges as if fully set forth the allegations of fact contained in paragraphs “1” to “17”, inclusive.

21. Under the premises Egenhauser’s conduct, while acting in concert with the Town police, violated Plaintiff ’s rights as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

WHEREFORE judgment is respectfully demanded:

a. Awarding against the Town such compensatory damages as the jury may determine,

b. Granting against the Town, its officials and/or agents a permanent injunction barring them from contacting, threatening, intimidating and/or imprisoning Plaintiff,

c. Granting against Egenhauser and/or other members of the District Attorney’s staff a permanent injunction barring them from contacting, threatening, intimidating and/or imprisoning her,

d. Awarding reasonable costs and attorney’s fees, and,

e. Granting such other and further relief as to the Court seems just and proper.

Dated: White Plains, N.Y.
November 21, 2007
LOVETT & GOULD, LLP

By:
Jonathan Lovett (4854)
Attorneys for Plaintiff
222 Bloomingdale Road
White Plains, N.Y. 10605
914-428-8401

Analysis:

Last week, The Westchester Guardian met with and interviewed Ms. Sofia Saenz, 26, Plaintiff in the above captioned action, in the presence of her attorney, Jonathan Lovett, at the law offices of Lovett & Gould, White Plains. Ms. Saenz detailed the series of events that followed the incident on August 20, 2007 at about 9:15pm in the Town of Harrison, that occurred between Joshua Clark, her then-boyfriend, and Ralph Tancredi, her former boyfriend.

The coordinated activities of certain members of the Harrison Police Department, together with Westchester Assistant District Attorney Barbara Egenhauser, as alleged in Plaintiff Saenz’ filing, are of particular interest to The Guardian in that they constitute a calculated effort on the part of certain members of the Harrison Police Department, as well as the Office of the Westchester District Attorney, to bring about retaliation against Harrison Police Officer, and President of the Harrison PBA, Ralph Tancredi, for having filed a federal lawsuit against
Harrison Police Chief David Hall several months ago.

Tancredi’s filing, as reported at the time in The Guardian, alleged serious misconduct on the part of Harrison Police Chief David Hall and Captain Anthony Marriccini involving crimes and civil rights violations perpetrated against numerous Harrison police officers, members of the PBA, as well as PBA President Tancredi. Tancredi’s filing, together with numerous members of the Harrison PBA, detailed the setting up of hidden audio and video recording devices in the locker room of Harrison Police Headquarters, in violation of the civil rights of each officer so recorded. Additionally, their federal filing alleged that Chief Hall had confiscated, forged, and converted a check in the amount of $2500 which had been mailed by a local country club to the Harrison PBA following their annual fundraising event at the club; serious felonies.

It is important to note that the federal filing was sought only after a criminal complaint that had been filed with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office was rejected by the DA. That same office, however, has seen fit to engage in activities in concert with police officers acting on behalf of Chief Hall and Captain Marriccini in a retaliatory effort against Officer Tancredi and other PBA members, who joined as Plaintiffs in the original suit.
Assistant DA Barbara Egenhauser’s repeated harrassment and false imprisonment of, and attempts to coerce false statements and testimony from, Sofia Saenz with regard to Officer Tancredi, not to mention Egenhauser’s obtaining of a Temporary Order of Protection against Tancredi, specifically contrary to the express wishes of Ms. Saenz, constitutes the kind of activity typically engaged in by the Westchester District Attorney’s Office for many years under former DA Jeanine Pirro as well as under the present DA, whereby rank and file police officers have been harrassed and falsely prosecuted in retaliation for their reporting of unlawful activity by police brass.

ADA Egenhauser’s attempts to get Plaintiff Saenz to issue false statements and give false testimony do not merely constitute a serious violation of the Plaintiff''s civil rights, protected under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, but, under the circumstances, if perpetuated, could also rise to the level of criminal activity suborning of perjury under 18 U.S.C. Section 1622, punishable by fine and/or up to five years in prison.

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