The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg
Take The Gloves Off
Tell Judge: “We Are Accusing Dr. Roh Of Making Up Forensic Results”
Jeffrey Deskovic v. City Of Peekskill, Et al.
United States District Court, White Plains
Magistrate Judge George Yanthis Presiding
Last Tuesday morning, December 23rd, Jeffrey Deskovic and his attorneys, Barry Scheck and Nick Brustin, appeared in United States District Court, White Plains, having filed two motions with the Court specifically regarding documents and specimens involving former Westchester County Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Luis Roh, one of several Defendants named in a civil action stemming from Mr. Deskovic’s wrongful prosecution and imprisonment.
Judge Yanthis opened the proceedings saying, “There are a number of issues, but I will save the one involving tissue specimens for last.”
Attorney Nick Brustin then told the Court, “As of September we still haven’t gotten most of the documents the County has promised. We are forced to make this kind of motion to get documents.”
Attorney Stewart Kahan, representing Westchester County, former Assistant DA George Bolen, who prosecuted 16-year-old Jeffrey Deskovic, and former Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Luis Roh, replied, “The volume of documents required is greater than any I have ever had to produce.”
He went on, “The County has probably produced more documents than all of the other Defendants combined. But the County is the main actor.” He assured the Plaintiff ’s attorneys, and the Court, “By the 20th of January, I will have everything that is outstanding.”
Brustin responded, “We are spending an inordinate amount of time babysitting. We may have to make a motion for sanctions against Dr. Roh. We learned in July that the actual specimen viewed by Dr. Roh had been found. We were very concerned that Dr. Roh not get access to the specimen.” But Dr. Roh already had.
Brustin questioned, “When Dr. Roh was told that he wasn’t to look at the specimen, how was it that he didn’t indicate that he had already
looked at it?”
To that, Attorney Stewart Kahan then attempted to reassure the Court, passing along what Dr. Roh had said, and raising the issue of Roh’s credibility. Brustin came back with, “I don’t believe one word of what Dr. Roh said. We are accusing Dr. Roh of making up forensic results.”
Barry Scheck then entered the fray with, “This may all be handled in one deposition. The idea that we had with Mr. Kahan was that we would bring a court reporter to the examination of the specimen.” Scheck explained to the Court, “We first discovered that Dr. Roh had seen the specimen when we went up to see it. Dr. Hyland told us.”
Scheck further explained, “He [Dr. Roh] didn’t note the findings in the autopsy. Then, after Jeffrey Deskovic did not match the semen found
in the victim... “We have the leading forensic doctors in the world who are not seeing what Dr. Roh claimed he saw on slides.”
Scheck, then changing gears, declared, “Enough already. We can get right to the heart of this. We can do what is done every day. You can cut
into the tissue and determine whether or not there is scarring.”
Judge Yanthis asked, “This will not destroy the specimen?”
Scheck quickly responded, “No, we already have Dr. Roh saying he has slides.”
Yanthis then looked toward Kahan, prompting him with, “Mr. Kahan.” Kahan attempted to come at the issue from a different angle, perhaps inspired by Yanthis’ concern over specimen destruction. He said, “At trial, Dr. Roh and the Assistant DA [George Bolen, also Kahan’s client], come up with the theory that the victim had had prior sexual activity in order to account for the fact that the semen found in the
victim didn’t match Jeffrey Deskovic.”
He continued, “The testing of it changes everything. We take issue with the notion that the testing will not destroy the specimen. This is not
like testing ball bearings.” Kahan then said, “Dr. LaPointe, the expert for the County, takes significant issue with Dr. Spitz,” [one of three forensic pathologists employed by the Plaintiff].
Kahan then declared, “The question in this case is, ‘Did Dr. Roh fabricate something?’ That can be settled at the time of trial.”
Barry Scheck then told the Court, “Nothing about the testing will be destructive to the specimen. It is well accepted that sectioning and microscopic photograhy will enhance a specimen’s evidentiary value. Let them put up this guy who says that it is.”
Judge Yanthis then ruled on the two motions, stating, “On the first issue of the deposition of Dr. Roh, I am not going to assign the charges to
the County. However, I am going to allow the testing under the circumstances proposed.”
Bronx Man Pleads Guilty To Using The
Internet To Entice A Minor To Have Sex
LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that FRANKIE PEREZ, a/k/a “Bxloveboy22@aol.com,” a/k/a “Perez2250X@aol.com,” pleaded guilty to using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. According to the criminal Complaint, the Indictment to which PEREZ pleaded guilty, and statements made during PEREZ’ guilty plea proceeding
before United States Magistrate Judge HENRY B. PITMAN in Manhattan Federal Court:
Beginning in 2005, PEREZ, who was a volunteer in a New York City public school, started sending AOL (America Online) instant messages to a 13-year-old child whom he had met at the school. On numerous occasions between 2005 and March 2008, PEREZ met and engaged in sexual activity with the child after communicating with him via instant message. PEREZ’s conduct included providing the child with alcohol in
exchange for sex.
PEREZ, 29, of the Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to entice, induce, coerce, or persuade a child to engage in illegal sexual activity. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
PEREZ is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27, 2009, by United States District Judge DENISE L. COTE. Mr. DASSIN praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the New York City Police Department, the New York City Department of Education, the
New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and the Family Advocacy Program at Jacobi Medical Center, for their assistance in this case.
Assistant United States Attorney HOWARD S. MASTER is in charge of the prosecution.