Thursday, June 26, 2008

Westchester Guardian/Janet Difiore.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

“We Are Confident That You Paid Close
Attention To The Evidence”
– Attorney Andrew Quinn, opening his Summation to the Jury

Bubaris’ Defense Attorney Clearly Outlined All Of The Facts
Relied Upon By The Jury In Determining Their ‘Not Guilty’ Verdict

Monday, June 16, summations, fi-nal arguments from Defense and Prosecution in the George Bubaris trial were delivered to the jury. Prior to admission of the jury, Judge Adler stated for the record, “I just want to go over the substance of the Charge Conference. The People have requested, and I have granted, the down-charge, Criminally Negligent Homicide.”

Prompted by Adler for a response, Defense Attorney Andrew Quinn responded, “There is no justification for the down-charge.” Offering several citations, Adler then commented, “I will charge on the subject of Witness Pre-Trial Preparation.” He then called upon Mr. Quinn
for his summation.

Quinn opened his summation with, “I have no intention of being exciting or dramatic. We are confident that you paid close attention to the evidence.”

Quinn then told the jurors, “You are going to be asked to consider whether the evidence is sufficient.” He went on, “Had I not asked any questions, you could still come to the conclusion that George Bubaris, that my client, committed no crime on April 28, 2007.”

Taking his first shot at the Prosecution’s medical experts, Quinn declared, “April 29, 2007 Dr. Millard Hyland called the District Attorney to say the bruise was a punch, and Rene Perez’ death was a homicide.” Looking into their faces he declared, “They were trying to fit a rectangular fist into a triangular hole.” He then asked, “How surprised were you when the Defense brought out that there are no nerve
endings in the mesentery?”

Shifting gears, Quinn observed, “Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of calling upon the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office for backup. But, Dr. Wetlie knows the case cold. Had Doctors Hyland and Sampson done their homework, put in 30 or 40 hours, George
Bubaris wouldn’t have been charged, and you wouldn’t be here for four weeks.”

Quinn, turning more critical of Prosecution medical experts, said, “This case went off the rails when Dr. Hyland declared Rene Perez’ death a homicide. Dr. Hyland never took the trouble.”

But Quinn wanted the jurors to know that there was plenty of blame to go around on the Prosecution side, telling them, “The police and the District Attorney had the obligation not just to look for evidence to convict the Accused, but also to look for evidence to exonerate the innocent.”

He went further; drawing the jury to a conclusion, telling them, “All of the medical evidence was more consistent with a fall and less so than with a punch.”

Quinn then harkened back to the theory he put before them in his opening statement weeks earlier, that the investigation that produced the charges against his client, “was run backwards,” such that the police and prosecutors decided who would be the Defendant early on, and then ran an investigation searching only for evidence to support their charges. He pointed out, “They had one piece of evidence from the crime scene; one, just one, and they never investigated it.”

Of course, Quinn was referring to the black Armitron watch, found at the site where Rene Perez had been discovered lying near death on Byram Lake Road in Bedford. Quinn had hammered away on cross-examination at Lead Detective Dickan, who, in 13 months, had failed to have the watch checked for DNA, or hair follicles, and never questioned Officer Evan, of his own department, as to whether or not Perez
was wearing it when he gave him the courtesy ride back to Mount Kisco from Kohl’s Department Store in Bedford.

Attorney Quinn asserted, “You can’t find my client guilty of Manslaughter In The Second Degree. We have no idea where Rene Perez was
from 11:05 until 11:42pm.” At that point, about a half hour into what he had promised would not be a long statement, Andrew Quinn began
touching upon several areas in doubt, one after another, beginning with, “The Peltz Video; I bet you were expecting to see a police car. Not even John Zarzeka could say it was a police car. Where were the roof lights?”

Quinn proclaims, “On every single level of advocacy, the Prosecution fails. Nobody has testified to a motive here.” He then shared the constant modus operandi of the DA’s Office, telling the jurors, “There are two suspects. One cuts a deal with the Prosecutors, and the Prosecutors say, ‘Okay, we’re done’.” Attacking the credibility of the suspect/witness who ran to the DA, Quinn said, “Dwyer gave a limited statement.

Then it changed over time. He changed what he said originally and, the Prosection wants you to rely on it.” Intensifying his attack, Quinn told the jurors, “The evidence is more compelling that he was fabricating what he said and not telling the truth. You know Dwyer was
a suspect, and that he cut an immunity deal. Not one single witness puts George Bubaris with Rene Perez.”

For the most part, Defense Attorney Quinn kept his word, completing his summation in 37 minutes. He touched upon every relevant
aspect of testimony over the course of the trial that tended to support his client’s innocence. He was not shy about pointing out not only the District Attorney’s failure to make a convincing case, but also the prosecutorial misconduct with which they attempted to make up for
the total lack of evidence connecting George Bubaris to Rene Perez’ death. The jurors were obviously in agreement.

Ad Hoc Public Committee On Attorney Conduct Formed
To Review Actions Of New York State Ethics Committees
New Bar Oversight Committee Being Organized by the Litigation Recovery Trust and Integrity in the Courts and
Expose Corrupt Courts Blog Organizations With Objective to Replace Existing Grievance Committee Structures

Press Release

New York, New York. June 17, 2008. Litigation Recovery Trust, a New York based rights administration organization, and Integrity in the Courts and Expose Corrupt Courts, two Internet blogs focused on judicial and attorney disciplinary process and procedures, have announced joint plans to form an Ad Hoc Public Committee On Attorney Conduct (PCAC) to oversee the New York State Attorney Departmental Disciplinary Committees. The Ad Hoc bar oversight committee is being headquartered in New York City.

In announcing plans for the new oversight committee, William J. Hallenbeck, executive director of Litigation Recovery Trust, stated that this action was being taken as a direct result of the recent filing of a growing number of federal lawsuits against the statewide attorney grievance committees and their parent organization, New York State Office of Court Administration. Mr. Hallenbeck noted, “Clearly, as suits against the attorney disciplinary committees continue to be filed on a weekly basis, the time has come for a top to bottom review of the fatally flawed process by which attorneys in New York oversee the conduct of other attorneys. We must make sure that the public becomes the controlling part of the lawyer oversight process.”

Since late last year, over a dozen federal suits have been filed with the U.S. District Courts in New York by numerous plaintiffs, citing illegal actions on the part of the various statewide grievance committees (Anderson v. New York State 07 CV 9599) (SDNY). Some suits cite efforts designed to cover up misdeeds on the part of large New York law firms. Other allegations involve the issuing of rulings by the attorney disciplinary committees victimizing both clients and certain attorneys, usually from small firms and sole practitioners. One lawsuit has been brought by a former employee of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee in Manhattan, which charges widespread corruption on the part of the committee, and seeks the appointment of a Federal monitor to supervise the operations of the organization. Subsequently filed lawsuits also seek the appointment of federal overseer.

Frank Brady, chairman of Integrity in the Courts, also issued the following statement: “On a daily basis, we report on outrageous conduct on the part of the grievance committees in New York State. Well documented complaints of malpractice, personal attacks and even theft, filed by individuals victimized by attorneys, are regularly disregarded and covered up
by the ‘ethics’ committees. Other situations involve large law firms using the committees to threaten and harm other lawyers. In short, the attorney grievance review process is corrupt to the core, and in need of immediate replacement by a public review board. The establishment of the Ad Hoc Public Committee On Attorney Conduct is the first necessary step in such a replacement process. Legislative action is also being planned.”

Expose Corrupt Courts blog also issued the following statement: “The cumulative efforts of our organizations’ joint efforts recognize that the vast majority of judges are attorneys first, and accordingly, they must be included within this new ethics umbrella that’s being established.”

Under the plan put forth by LRT, Integrity in the Courts, and Expose Corrupt Courts, the newly formed Ad Hoc Public Committee On Attorney Conduct will review both past and present cases brought before the grievance committees to provide an independent review and analysis of the facts, and issue proposed findings. With respect to past cases, the committee will be particularly interested in hearing from persons who maintain that they have been treated unfairly and unjustly by the disciplinary committees. As part of its initial efforts, the new committee will actively seek documentation of all complaints against any attorneys dating to January 1, 1988.

According to the founding organizations, the Ad Hoc Public Committee On Attorney Conduct will include as members individuals, who through their personal and professional lives have established a reputation of responsibility and fairness. While attorneys will be available to the PCAC as advisers, all voting members issuing formal reports and decisions will be non attorneys.

In commenting on the structure of the ad hoc committee, Mr. Hallenbeck noted that this will be the first time in the United States that a review body made up entirely of non attorneys will be assembled to oversee the professional practices of lawyers. He added, “By initially establishing a parallel committee structure to the New York State grievance committees, we will have the opportunity to determine that a bar review process made up entirely of non attorneys can achieve the desired result. We should make it clear that our immediate goal here is to create a practical, working model to replace the attorney grievance committees.”

Mr. Hallenbeck also confirmed that efforts have begun to recruit members for an executive board to direct the operations of the Ad Hoc Committee, as well as practice review and public affairs committees. Among those being sought as members are active and retired senior business executives, government officials, educators (primarily business faculty at colleges and universities, as well as law schools), business consultants and clergy, particularly with training in business ethics. Mr. Hallenbeck added, “We are in search of a committee to be made up of members with broad and diverse business experience and expertise, as well as impeccable records of fairness and sound judgment to review breaches of attorney ethics and rulings which can be classified as highly suspect.”

About Litigation Recovery Trust

Founded in 1995, Litigation Recovery Trust is a New York based claims and rights administration organization. LRT pursues claims and causes of action worldwide, and processes single and group litigation claims, as well as general rights fees and awards. LRT also participates in legislative and administrative initiatives designed to protect or advance individual claims and rights. Contact: William J. Hollenbeck (347.632.9775).

About Integrity in the Courts Blog

Integrity in the Courts is a daily blog, which focuses on ethical and legal issues related to the administration of justice nationwide. Issues impacting both the judiciary and the bar are investigated, including compliance with a codes of judicial conduct, the codes of professional responsibility. Violations of law and failure to abide by codes of conduct are monitored,
together with actions leading to disciplinary rulings, including admonishment, reprimand, censure, suspension or loss of licenses to practice law.

About Expose Corrupt Courts

Since beginning publication in March 2007, Expose Corrupt Courts has become one of the leading sources of both public and inside information concerning bench and bar misconduct. While the blog focuses primary attention on the court system of New York State, it regularly covers stories of interest throughout the U.S. Expose Corrupt Courts has led coverage of the massive corruption charges that have been filed against the attorney grievance committees in New York that have resulted in the filing of over a dozen law suits with the federal district court in Manhattan.

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