Thursday, April 10, 2008
In Our Opinion...
Prosecutorial Misconduct: Licensed Crime
We must not tolerate prosecutorial misconduct. Those who knowingly engage in the business of sending innocent individuals to prison, and/or to execution, are clearly criminals themselves who must be apprehended and punished. To perceive such activity on the part of individuals who have been sworn to uphold the law, as anything short of criminal, is to contribute to their criminal schemes and wrongful outcomes.
Society must cease looking the other way as regards the conduct of rogue prosecutors. The phenomenon is far too common to be ignored. By even the most conservative estimates, there are at least, 200,000 persons in state and federal prisons who are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. One shudders to estimate how many innocent persons have been executed over the years.
Each and every right-minded individual has an obligation to speak out on the issue and stand up to so-called law enforcement that makes a mockery of justice while abusing the powers with which it has been vested as though above the law. One who would enforce the law must live by it!
The notion of Prosecutorial Immunity is mostly misguided. To begin with, any immunity which may be enjoyed by prosecutors, whether state or federal, is qualified immunity, and applies only to the legitimate activities of investigation and prosecution. The vast majority of misconduct engaged in by prosecutors: withholding of exculpatory evidence, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering and coercion, subornation of perjury and the like, are by no means activities that are other than criminal in nature and, therefore, enjoy no immunity from exposure and prosecution.
When a fundamentally mindless, corrupt assistant district attorney takes it upon herself to satisfy the demands of an elected DA, whose sole motive is self-promotion, and proceeds to impose a totally incorrect and fictional scenario upon the actual events that comprised a tragic incident, the decision to do so involves a criminal mens rea, or mindset. What then follows is no less felonious, no less deservant of prosecution and punishment than if the fraudulent process had been carried out by a civilian and resulted in the false imprisonment of the same innocent victim.
Make no mistake, there is prosecutorial misconduct before, and after, the fact; before and after the wrongful conviction and imprisonment. DA DiFiore and her Assistant DAs who sat on, and continue to lie to, and conceal from the United States District Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, 376 pages, 52 boxes and miles of tape recorded interviews and conversations with federal authorities, all of which were exculpatory to Anthony DiSimone, were just as guilty of criminal behavior as former DA Jeanine Pirro and her Assistant DAs Clement Patti and Steven Bender, who knowingly committed every prosecutorial misconduct in the book that convicted DiSimone and kept him in prison for seven years of his life.
Conversely, Pirro’s refusal, six times, to permit the testing of DNA that did not match Jeffrey Deskovic, against the data bank of known criminals, thereby knowingly prolonging the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of an innocent man achieved under DA Carl Vergari by still another treacherous Assistant DA, George Bolen, was just as cruel and criminal. The time has come for decent, right-minded citizens to cease being a part of the problem through inaction, and begin being a part of the solution by actively supporting those who are seeking state and federal legislation that will curtail rampant prosecutorial misconduct. To succeed, such legislation must establish both financial and incarcerative penalties for those who would destroy the lives of innocent individuals and their families. We must make prosecutorial misconduct so risky and potentially harmful to prosecutors that they would not dare engage in it.
We must also create legislation that will limit the service of elected district attorneys to two terms, a maximum of eight years. It is no coincidence that most prosecutors, once elected, remain in office for extraordinarily long periods of time - Carl Vergari, Robert Morgenthau, Robert Johnson, to name but a few - each of whom establish “monarchies”, easily understood when one takes into account the power that such individuals acquire in the political fabric, over those who repeatedly renominate them for elective office.
Our Readers Respond...
Reader Accuses Davis, LaFayette, Halevi Of Robbing Public
The New York Times, Westchester Section, on Sunday, March 30, 2008 on how the one-party system on Democratic
control in Mount Vernon causes corruption. The article pointed out the ongoing federal investigation of corruption and indictments of officials and other insiders of Mayor Ernie Davis’ Administration. It also talked about the corruption and taking of fundraising money by Democratic Party Chairwoman Serapher Conn Halevi.
The press reported that Reginald LaFayette did the same thing as the Chairman of the Westchester Democratic Party. As a Democrat, I am ashamed of the Mount Vernon Democratic Party leadership which is controlled by Conn Halevi and Reginald LaFayette. I am glad that the
Journal News, the New York Times, and the Westchester Guardian are exposing these crooks.
Ernie Davis, Reginald LaFayette, Serapher Conn Halevi, Gerrie Post, and the carting company mobsters should pay the price for robbing the residents of the City of Mount Vernon. They all should go to jail. The FBI and U.S. Justice Department would do Mount Vernon a big favor if these individuals spend some time behind bars. This would be justice for this community which was hijacked by crooks and criminals over the past 15 years.
Reader Takes Colunmist Burgos To Task
Regarding Ms. Burgos commentary on the plight of Latinos in today’s housing market, let’s start at the beginning. It was pressure from professional “do-gooders” supported by lawyers such as Ms. Burgos who threatened home lenders with discrimination lawsuits forcing them to make home loans to totally unqualified individuals. Naturally, terms were stiff in accordance with the risk.
Borrowers figured, what with home values soaring, they could always refinance or just flip the sale to new buyers and, at worst, walk away even. Sorry but it just didn’t work out that way.
Ms. Burgos laments that today refinancing is being denied to some Latinos just because of “late payments” that lowered the credit scores of people “without social security numbers and other documentation.” Read that to mean illegal aliens with no verifiable records of income, income tax payments, or bank accounts.
Yes it’s unfortunate that many Latinos, as well as Blacks and even upper middle class Whites are losing their homes. This is the price one
pays for being financially overextended in the misguided belief that the easy money housing boom days would go on forever.
Robert E. Gerson
Reader Reflects Upon Society’s Morph
I recently saw the Academy Award winning film, “No Country for Old Men,” I left the theater thinking about what I experienced, but I am
not sure it is remotely what the writer had in mind when he put it together. While I am an old man, my thoughts turned more towards matters of life, not death and I began to think about just how difficult it has become to live in this country during these times when core values were ceasing to exist, elected officials had more to hide than disclose, and the media promoted form and sensationalism over substance and public service.
While trying to piece all of this together in more tangible ways, my thoughts turned to a 16th century Franciscan philosopher, William of
Ockham, who, simply put, was of the view that, given life’s issues or questions, “the simplest view or answer was usually the correct answer.” Putting this to the test, I looked at certain institutions or issues we face in our community.
Take the political process. We are bombarded daily with self interest and aggrandizement. Corruption, graft, special interest, earmarks,
pork — the list goes on. There are few “Mr. Smith’s going to Washington (or Albany) these days. Shelly Silver can literally approve or disapprove Bloomberg’s downtown driving initiative while maintaining a healthy proprietary interest in his law firm.
What would Ockham say? He would probably advise looking not only at who benefits, but how they benefit and the conclusion would be
that it is the nature of politicians to seek election and re-election so that might account for the “why”. But he would inquire who these politicians are and, lamentably, they are largely lawyers. Lawyers are trained to do deals, compromise, acquire and defend. It doesn’t make them dishonest, it makes them a poor fit for politics if the goal of politics is to advance the greater good.
They are not alone in this. Take the school systems. In New York State, it is almost automatic that extra money will be found for the school systems. Ockham would observe that in New York State the per capita student costs outpaces all other states. He would also see that, from the point of view of productivity, our students do not outpace those from many other states. Sounds like a disconnect. He would go on and examine the costs in the system where a teacher with a work year of around 180 days can and does make twice the salary, if not more, than our first responders. And, the notion that school districts are run by school boards who are largely made up of people with no training in running or overseeing a multi-million dollar business is the rule and not the exception.
Then, of course, there is the power of the labor unions and the political reality that to unbundle or challenge school expenditures will cost you many votes. All this despite the evidence of people from, for example, the Manhattan Institute who have research indicating the extra funding, among others, do not make a dimes’ worth of difference in improving school performance. If you want mass hysteria, say or do something that “takes away from the kids” and you will see all reason fly out the window and little do people know that years ago, more simple, straightforward and focused systems made our kids the best and brightest in the world.
So many other things would interest friend Ockham, but this old man will put down his pen and end with what I can only describe as systemic hypocrisy. I am, by training and inclination, a social advocate in the body of a fiscal conservative. You can support and nurture the “least among us” while doing it responsibility and doing no harm to others. Maybe the hypocracy I am referring to is the refusal to accept the fact that we are morphing towards a benign socialistic system seen in other countries like the Sweden, Denmark even, in part, Great Britain. Maybe it is ok to weaken the pressures on our politicians, take a good deal of discretion away from the spending decision makers, and make this country great again.
Oh, by the way, all of this is not at the expense of our basic freedoms. I mentioned the unfortunate turning of the media toward mass exploitation. This is not the case with this great newspaper that takes on many important social, political and judicial challenges and educates the public on what is going on. Even here, you got some idiots who think they can stop this form of courage and conviction by removing free press boxes and trying to shut down one of the few open mikes we have in society.
New Rochelle, New York