Thursday, January 15, 2009
In Our Opinion...
There Ought To Be A Law
We are more firm than ever in our belief, and motivated in our strivings, to help bring about legislation to control, and prevent, prosecutorial
misconduct. We have come to believe that such legislation must provide both incarcerative and financial penalties; but, at the very least, involve permanent loss of one’s license to practice law. Furthermore, the legislation must be enacted by Congress, as it must be applicable, and enforceable, everywhere throughout our Nation.
Under the current state of affairs, state and federal prosecutors, district attorneys, and United States Attorneys, have no disincentive to engaging in any and every form of prosecutorial misconduct, and, in fact, routinely do, unfortunately, as witnessed in two separate, well-known cases here in Westchester just last week; one in the State Supreme Court, Anthony D. Simone; the other in Federal District Court, Paul Cote.
In the absence of meaningful punishment, prosecutors, already advantaged with unlimited human and financial resources, with increased frequency, find it convenient and personally acceptable to engage in prosecutorial misconduct of every kind in their effort to convict accused citizens, be they guilty or innocent. Without fear of punishment, at the very least loss of their license to practice law, our courts, both state and federal, are virtually powerless to protect the Constitutional rights of citizens against such unscrupulous, rogue prosecutors.
In case after case, we see such prosecutors bent on winning at any and all costs, sending innocent individuals to prison, often for life, based upon false confessions, witness coercion, evidence tampering, suborned perjury, and a host of other actions which, if engaged in by anyone other than a prosecutor, would be dealt with as crimes and would result in incarceration and financial penalties.
In the interest of justice and fair play, We believe the time has long been at hand when federal legislation must be enacted that will prevent the kinds of deliberate and calculated prosecutorial misconduct that sent Jeffrey Deskovic, Richard DiGuglielmo, and Anthony DiSimone (see Advocate, p.5), all innocent victims of prosecutorial misconduct, to prison from state court, and most recently, Paul Cote (see Court Report, p3) from federal court.
No democracy can long endure if the Constitutional rights of its citizens are routinely violated with impunity by the very individuals entrusted to protect them. We must not stand idly by as rogue prosecutors, together with rogue police and others in the Criminal Justice System, commit crimes against innocent citizens, indeed, against the very fabric of our society.
Amongst all of the presidential candidates, Democratic, Republican and other, who offered themselves to the American people, only one, Barack Obama, on at least two occasions, spoke of the need to, “deal with wrongful convictions.”
Now that he is about to take the reins into his hands, and in light of the unprecedented Constitutional violations of his predecessor’s administration, what better time for the voice of the People to be heard on behalf of such legislation?
Our Readers Respond...
Reader Complains Of Tyranny In Rockland Courts
Where do I begin? I was charged with Harrassment, 2nd Degree sometime in mid-2006. I am a resident of Rockland County. My defense attorney, at the time, was Anthony Dellicarri, then working for the law firm of Zugabie and Ferraro, one of the county’s largest law firms handling senior estate guardianships granted to them by the Surrogate Court.
In January 2008, Tom Zugabie was elected District Attorney of Rockland County. He now had to make an abrupt closure of his private practice. Mr. Dellicarri was hired onto the District Attorney’s staff as a senior attorney. However, Mr. Dellicarri was still continuing to act as my defense attorney well into February of 2008, after he had sworn the oath of office working in the District Attorney’s Office. In fact, he had written
letters to Judge Paul Phinney in Orangetown Court, presiding over my case, stating that he [Dellicarri] was my attorney of record.
He advised me that a guilty plea would be my best option, and promised to submit a pre-sentencing memorandum, which he promptly failed to prepare after I heeded his advice. A letter-writing campaign ensued between Mr. Dellicarri, Justice Phinney and myself. In short order, Judge Phinney withdrew my guilty plea in the interest of justice, and rescheduled my case to his calendar with new counsel.
I requested a special prosecutor and the recusal of Justice Phinney. I was granted a prosecutor from Putnam County by the name of Mr. Hogan. Who picked him, I don’t know. And Judge Phinney said he would not recuse himself from the case. I wrote to Gary Casella of the Grievance Committee advising him of Mr. Dellicarri’s actions, on the one hand working as my defense attorney and, at the same, being a sworn prosecutor.
My complaint was referred to the Westchester County Bar Association; and, I am currently still waiting to be heard by their Committee as to whether my complaint will be investigated.
I was assigned an 18B counsel because all money had been spent on Mr. Dellicarri’s representation. I was now assigned a Mr. Allen McGeorge, and was given approximately 30 days to prepare my case with him.
On the very eve of my trial, at approximately 8pm, Mr. Mc-George and I were in contact, and he requested that I meet him at a McDonald’s Restaurant, together with my 17-and 13-year-old daughters, witnesses for my defense.
At that meeting, McGeorge stated to me that saw a lot of my letters and asked, “Come on, who do you think you are writing complaints about Anthony Dellicarri?” He said further, “Let’s face it, if he didn’t work for Mr. Zugabie, he would have never gotten the job he has.”
He told me that I hadn’t made any friends writing complaints, stating, “Let’s face it, you’ve pissed-of the judge.” He further stated, “I recommend
you take a toothbrush to court tomorrow,” indicating that I was not going to get a fair trial because of my letter-writing. Well, he wasn’t lying. On the morning of January 6, 2009, approximately two years after my original charge was filed, I stood for trial. I was found guilty of Assault, 2nd Degree and hit with the maximum fine of $250 and 14 days in the Rockland County Jail.
As Judge Phinney read my verdict, two Orangetown police officers entered the courtroom, and the Judge ordered me to be removed from the
court and brought to jail. My daughter, my witness, pleaded with the Judge to not take me, stating, “How will I get home?
I have three siblings at home, how do you expect me to care for them alone?” Phinney said there was nothing he could do. I asked him if it would be alright if I were to go home today, and whether he could postpone sentencing until next week, when the childrens’ mother would be home. He eventually agreed.
What needs to be understood is that, for some time, I have been attempting to expose a mortgage fraud operation that starts in Rockland County and extends to Orange and Nassau Counties. I have forensic handwriting examiners’ reports that name a forger. Several of the names forged were of deceased persons. How could the person forging these signatures be certain that the people were deceased?
I believe someone from the Surrogate Court has been divulging this information, and that a criminal network involving fraudulent mortgages and
deeds, have been processed through the County Clerk’s Of-fice, thereby stealing the property of the deceased and robbing banks and other lending
institutions of mortgage loans which are uncollectible because the person who acquired the loan is actually dead.
Several government actors within Rockland County are becoming quite concerned about my repeated notifications to certain government agencies
exposing these illicit activities. I have been, and I am continuing to be targeted, by said government actors and now my incarceration is essentially
phase 1. My situation in Rockland County is serious; the government actors are proving that they will stop at nothing to keep me from my goal of exposing their criminal enterprise engaged in robbing the dead.
Rockland County, and some of its elected government of-ficials, have literally turned the Surrogate Court into one of the largest theft rings in New York State. They must be stopped and exposed. These are the people who required maximum sentence imposed on them, and pilfered property returned to rightful inheritances. Banks must be repaid in order to prevent the economic collapse of our economy from these criminal government actors.
Finally, people need to start watching the actions of judges and court clerks if we are to put a stop to this organized crime ring facilitated by the people who are entrusted to uphold our Constitution.
Mike Kelly, Rockland
County ADA Audrey Stone Should Be Ashamed Of Herself
I was recently a spectator in White Plains Supreme Court because I was both concerned and interested in a case being handled by Anthony M. Giordano, Esq. of Ossining.
A frail and somewhat sickly 71-year-old man, married 48 years, has loud arguments with his wife. During an argument in October 2008 a neighbor called the police, who called in Adult Protective Services. ADT contacted the District Attorney’s Office who issued an Order of Protection for the wife and told the husband to leave the home. The PD prepared a Supporting Deposition. The wife refused to sign it saying it was inaccurate and besides, she wanted her husband back home.
But the District Attorney’s office didn’t care they don’t have a Complainant, along with an un-signed Supporting Deposition. They went full-throttle and had the elderly husband incarcerated when he returned to the house while the TOP was in effect. First he returned because his wife invited him back; second time because he forgot his eye glasses there after he got 22 stitches in his head when he fell.
Attorney Giordano asked for no bail, the ADA asked for $10K and the Ossining Village Judge went with $15K. The elderly man went back to
jail. Then at a bail hearing before kindly Judge Jeffrey Cohen bail was lowered to $1,500. And this is where I ‘met’ the A.D.A. Before going in front of Judge Cohen a woman who’s name I did not know called me to the back of the courtroom. She said to me “What’s your name?” I said “Linda. What’s your name” and she said “Audrey”. She questioned me “What are you doing here? Why do you want to help this man?” I said “Because the man is elderly, needs help, and should not be in jail for the holidays.”
In so many words I was told to mind my own business and just go away. Later on I heard Audrey say to Judge Cohen “And that woman who said the Defendant could live in her home. She refused to even give me her name when I asked her for it!” Hearing a lie being told to a Judge made me
cringe. And from an Assistant District Attorney! ADA Audrey Stone, someone who represents our Court system. Then ADA Stone told the Judge I
“screamed” at her outside of another Court. Another fabrication ADA Stone spewed to Judge Cohen. I was 2 car lengths away from this woman
and said “Someday we’ll both be old. We should be helping our senior citizens.” A witness to this incident corroborated that I had not “screamed” at anyone.
ADA Stone continues to pursue charges again this elderly man who has been forced to live in a hotel since October 2008 (almost 4 months now).
What I’d really like to know is this: How can the District Attorney’s office pursue this matter when they don’t even have a Complainant? How could anyone in their right mind, and under the color of law, force a financially poor person to keep out of his home and either live in a hotel or be homeless? Attorney Anthony Giordano should be sainted. I find him to be honest and caring and professional.
This is not the first time I’ve seen him selflessly represent a truly unfortunate and needy human being. I’d guess he’s disgusted with the shenanigans of the DA’s office.
What’s happening here is a total miscarriage of justice and an abuse of power by District Attorney Janet DiFiore’s office. And after personally hearing ADA Stone lie to a Judge in open Court I will no longer wonder why there are so many lawyer jokes and why our Court system is oftentimes nothing but a mockery.
L.A. Mangano, Ossining
Readers Seeks Answers
While reading the article about the civil rights lawsuit against former County Corrections Officer on January 8, 2009, I wondered who has followed through on the death of Zorn Teodorovic who died some 14 months following the body-slamming on October 10, 2000 by Offier Mark Reimer
in an arc with a radius of some 7 feet who bounced his left side of his head violently on the concrete cell-block floor and then joined by Officer Paul
Cote who kicked him and sidekicked him on the right side of his jaw with his boot while Reimer continued to punch him in the chest and face?
Who is questioning the “reflexive response” and the “approved method” involving the treatment of inmates? Who is questioning the death of individuals housed on units for inmates known to have psychiatric issues and the conditions they endure?
I am appalled by the death of Zorn Teodorovic and hope his death will not be overlooked.