THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2008
Court Report ...
By Richard Blassberg
Citizen Sherry Bobrowsky Continues To Deal With The Arrogance And Destructiveness Of The Westchester DA’s Office And The City Of Yonkers
DA’s Office Could Care Less About The Wishes Of Federal Judge
United States District Court
300 Quarropas Street, White Plains
Judge Stephen C. Robinson Presiding
Having suffered at the hands of the Yonkers Police Department, Yonkers Corporation Counsel and the Westchester District Attorney’s Office for nearly two years, having been forced from her own home, yet compelled to pay the mortgage and taxes; having suffered the unlawful con-fiscation and dissipation of many thousands of dollars in annuity funds, while being rendered homeless, Sherry Bobrowsky, a middle-aged, disabled medical doctor had hauled her opponents and detractors into United States District Court, White Plains, back on
December 5, 2007. Represented by attorney Anthony John Messina, she sought a Temporary Restraining Order and injunctive
relief from several ongoing violations of her civil rights, under the Constitution of the United States, by “State actors under Color of
Seated at the Defense table were attorney Raymond Schmidt, representing Laurence A. Porcari, the Office of Yonkers Corporation Counsel,
and the Yonkers Police Department; attorney Susan Ansbach of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, representing Yonkers City Court Judges Klein and Wood; and attorney Jane Hogan Felix of the County Attorney’s Office, representing the Westchester District Attorney’s Office. At the December 5th session, Judge Stephen C. Robinson, aware of the fact that Attorney Messina had
just come into the case and, aware of the urgency of Plaintiff Bobrowsky’s situation; needing someplace to live, yet paying for a home she was barred from by an Order of Protection, had set a conference date for January 8th to enable Messina to more fully familiarize himself with the case.
Following the Federal Court appearance, Bobrowsky had appeared in Westchester Supreme Court before Judge Richard Liebowitz as a Plaintiff against her estranged brother, Jacques, and her incapacitated elderly mother, Lillian, who have adversely occupied her home for more than 20 months. Judge Liebowitz had found in Sherry Bobrowsky’s favor, ruling that she was, in fact, the owner of the house in question since 1995. Her brother and mother had allegedly attempted to fraudulently lay claim to the property, assisted by Attorney Herbert
N. Posner, who accompanied them to Liebowitz’s court.
Last Monday, February 4th, Dr. Bobrowsky returned to Federal Court, accompanied by Attorney Messina, and opposed by Attorneys Schmidt, Felix and Ansbach.
In opening the hearing into Plaintiff Bobrowsky’s motion for injunctive relief, Judge Robinson asked Mr. Messina, “What are the issues as you see them?”
Messina responded, “As the result of the State Supreme Court decision, the Orders of Protection, and the Orders by Yonkers City
Court.” He went on to explain Ms. Bobrowsky appeared before Judge Duffy in Family Court, who opened the file and told her
that there was a letter in the file from Judge Klein that said she, Bobrowsky, “is to get no relief from this Court.” Messina then asked,
“How do we get Sherry into her home?”
Robinson then responded, “I am stuck here where it appears to me that you expect me to be the ‘Super Court’, the ‘Super Judge’.
There are remedies. I understand that she may not feel that. You’re asking me to look at rulings of lower courts and determine.”
Messina responded, “My view in coming here today is that what happens down the road, not looking back, we’re looking at a (Section) 1983 case.”
Robinson then said, “People call me dumb, but not simplistic or naive. I don’t understand why a discussion can’t be had with the City enabling her to get back into her house. We now understand that the house belongs entirely to her.
She could say to anyone occupying the house Get out!”
The Judge went on, “Mr. Messina, I would say she should tell them to get out. Theoretically, the police would have to enforce that. I don’t understand how she cannot. All she has to say is, ‘Get out of my house.’ I don’t understand how she would not be able to get enforcement. I don’t understand why everybody, the Police Department, the D.A....”
At that point Messina responded, “Your Honor, I had a long conversation with the County Attorney’s Office, but we were told No way, no how.
Judge Robinson then made the defining observation, “I’m not sure I understand how the District Attorney’s Office cannot abide by the rulings of the State Supreme Court.”
Messina attempted to explain, “In the eyes of the Yonkers Police Department, this lady is an E.D.P.”
Mr. Schmidt broke in, “The Yonkers Police will enforce any order of the Court.”
Off Schmidt’s comment Robinson, speaking to Attorney Messina, said, “I suggest you file the appropriate papers. I don’t know Ms. Bobrowsky’s mother or brother from a hole in the wall. I take it that the Police Department, and the District Attorney, do not like Ms. Bobrowsky very much.”
Messina responded, “Since Counsel (Messina) pointed out to the D.A.’s Of-fice what a ludicrous position they are in, they haven’t gotten back to me.”
Robinson then observed, “It seems to me I try to look at things practically. I see Ms. Bobrowsky willing to let them stay, with a modification.”
Messina responded, “My concern here is the Yonkers Police Department.”
Attorney Schmidt then followed with, “There’s no reason to believe the Police wouldn’t obey a court order.”
Summarizing his position, Judge Robinson said, “I don’t intend not to rule on this motion. If Ms. Bobrowsky doesn’t see clear to accept a modification, she has to get them out. I am going to rule on this within the next two or three weeks.”
Then, changing gears, the Judge asked, “By the way, where is Ms. Bobrowsky living?” When Messina explained, “She is essentially living out of her car,” Robinson appeared taken aback.
Emerging from Court about 11am, having conferred with Mr. Messina regarding the wishes and advice of Judge Robinson, as well as the understanding achieved with the Defense Attorneys, in the presence of the Judge, that she would attempt to comply with his instructions to bring her State Court ruling to the Yonkers Police Department, it was decided that Plaintiff, Sherry Bobrowsky, would wait until 2:30pm to go to the Third Precinct in Yonkers, thus allowing sufficient time for Attorney Schmidt to inform the Police, and for Attorney Felix
to inform the District Attorney’s Office.
At 2:30pm The Guardian accompanied Sherry Bobrowsky to the Yonkers Police Department, Third Precinct.
She initially encountered a lot of resistance from a captain, a sergeant, and several patrolmen. There was a clear sense that she was known, and that she was going to get stiff-armed. The presence of The Guardian, and a willingness to help explain what had transpired in Federal Court earlier in the day, ultimately persuaded them to make some effort toward accompanying her to her home.
However, when they called the State Registry and discovered the existing Temporary Order of Protection, they then immediately indicated they would not accompany her despite what Federal Judge Robinson had advised her to do. Bobrowsky then asked them to contact Attorney Ray Schmidt, despite their reluctance to even call the Yonkers Corporation Counsel’s Office. When they finally reached Ray Schmidt, despite assurances to Mr. Messina earlier in Federal Court, he hung his hat on the invalid T.O.P. and told Police they could not
accompany her to the house.
Having spent more than an hour at the Yonkers Police, Third Precinct, Sherry Bobrowsky was compelled to leave without having had the opportunity either to file a report or gain entry to her house, accompanied by Yonkers Police. Bobrowsky contacted Attorney Anthony Messina who, in turn, reached Attorney Schmidt, who informed him that the Westchester District Attorney’s Office was refusing to modify the T.O.P. without a judge’s order specifically instructing them to do so. Messina now informed her that he was drawing up an
eviction notice that she would have to bring to a process server.
Contacted at his office the following day, Tuesday, February 5th, Attorney Messina told The Guardian, “I was very disappointed. Upon leaving Federal Court, I believed three things were going to occur. Firstly, Mr. Schmidt was going to contact the Yonkers Police Department; secondly, Assistant County Attorney, Jane Hogan Felix, would contact the District Attorney’s Office to apprise them of what had taken place in Judge Robinson’s court, seeking a correction/modification of the T.O.P.; and, thirdly, the Attorney General’s Office would look into the letter in Ms. Bobrowsky’s file from Judge Klein prohibiting the issuance of a T.O.P. in her favor, without his approval.”
Messina informed The Guardian that upon learning what had occurred at the Third Police Precinct, he informed Judge Robinson, through his Court Clerk, Mr. Skolnick.
Bobrowsky, contacted by The Guardian the following day, stated, “I didn’t want it to be this way, but the District Attorney’s Office has left me no choice.”
Analysis: Plaintiff Dr. Sherry Bobrowsky’s struggle with the Yonkers Police Department and the Westchester District Attorney’s Office is nothing surprising to so many similarly situated individuals over the years, despite its unliklihood, in the eyes of a Federal Court Judge. Quite simply stated, civil rights violations by Yonkers Police, aided and abetted by the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, are commonplace, often going on for years without a just or fair conclusion.