Thursday, October 26, 2006
Amazing how when you’re a Mother you can’t wait for your child to take their first steps or to say Mama, etc. Unfortunately, what my Mom received was a knock at the door telling her that her son was at the hospital.
March 28, 1998 multiple gunshots rang out at a nearby Amoco gas station on the corner of Ashburton and Nepperhan Aves. in Yonkers. There, upon the ground lay a young black 24-year-old male, Patris Derville.
No parent, especially a Mother, should ever have to be left to bury their child. And I had to watch, as my Mom (Sharon), was basically put through that. Pretty much, with the look upon her face, when it was all said and done, she had to feel as if she’d been put through 2 funerals, one to bury her son and the other the murder trial. She deserves an apology.
How so, you would be asking yourself? First of all how, do you have a murder trial and not present crime scene photos (no one questioned this), even though photos were taken. Instead, the prosecuting D.A. (George Bolen) instead decided to be creative and draw on a large white posterboard with a red and black markers. Ah, don’t you just love our justice system? The D.A. showed the jury only one autopsy photo, a head shot, so they never had any real idea how much damage those 6 bullets had caused at close range.
Such a sloppy job! They all were down from the Yonkers Detective Division, all the way to the Westchester County D.A.’s Office. They all had no qualms about lying because for 8 months they had my Mother believing that her son (Patris) had died at Yonkers General when in fact he was D.O.A (dead on arrival). And, once she had obtained his death certificate, it stated as much.
There were never any apologies made, from either side, for the time when they told us that the suspect had been apprehended, and then we fi-nally found out about 5 months later, that they didn’t have anyone. Guess what?
They left me to be the bearer of the bad news, to tell my family. Never once did they bother to take it upon themselves to get in their County assigned cars and do it.
The jury was never informed that there were no fingerprints found on the shell casings which evidently showed some type of premeditated intentions. Instead of the crap that the jury was fed from someone from the warrant squad, that the gun was carried for protection.
Although the Westchester office of the F.B.I Fugitive Task Force were the ones to seek out and apprehend, no one from that unit was informed about the trial. Therefore, they weren’t there to give the jury much needed info about all they went through to capture the fugitive at large. Am I angry? Hell yes, but with good reason as I’m certain most, if not all, of you can see.
I was trying to obtain a much-deserved apology from the system for my Mom because there was far from any justice found. For those of you that did put forth your best efforts at the time. You all know who you are. My family’s biggest “THANK YOU” goes out to you. But as for the ones that allowed for the mess up, so-called mix-up, etc., and most of all Jeanine Pirro - shame, shame, for you brought my Mother heartache and pain.
In Our Opinion...
At this moment, barely two weeks before Election Day, the most important document to have to been exposed in the race for Attorney General, was clearly former Mayor John Spencer’s 2003 official letter to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, entitled Investigation Needed In Westchester County. The fourteen-page virtual indictment, primarily of then-District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, was, in fact, the result of an informal conversation Spencer and Spitzer had had, in which Spitzer instructed the Mayor to submit a formal complaint for his consideration.
Spencer took that suggestion seriously, and requested his Corporate Counsel to draft the detailed, eight-section,
letter now at the center of the contest for Spitzer’s Office. What, of course, is remarkable about the document, other than its candid, bold, exposure of the workings of the cabal in control of the politics of, and election outcomes in, Westchester for many years, is the source from which it comes, John Spencer, himself a major player, in a position to know. Spencer’s principal target was DA Jeanine Pirro, who unlike all the others exposed - Andy Spano, Larry Schwartz, Nick Spano, Zehy Jereis, Anthony Mangone, Reggie LaFayette, Michael Spano, Al Pirro, Leonard Spano, Larry Horowitz, David Hebert, and many others - alone had the power to determine who would be prosecuted, and who would not.
Quite simply, Spencer accurately perceived the schematic of the cabal, a wheel-like configuration with DA Pirro at its center. He understood, from years of personal experience, the singular significance of their control of the electoral process, by manipulation, and disenfranchisement of voters. He boldly declared, “The Board of Elections is nothing more than an extension of the two major political parties, which parties control much of the electoral apparatus at taxpayer expense.”
Spencer totally unveiled the criminality and hypocrisy embedded in the Dennis Wedra prosecution, and trial, in February 2002, where Pirro surgically attempted to satisfy her personal vendetta against a Yonkers Democratic political operative by granting immunity from prosecution to the very individuals, Anthony Mangone, and Philip Werbel, who were guilty of the crimes for which she was charging Wedra, in exchange for their testimony as Prosecution witnesses, all the while avoiding the very mention of the intended beneficiary of the election fraud, Nicholas Spano.
The most obvious political significance of Spencer’s letter, from the standpoint of Andrew Cuomo, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, is the remarkable fact it was authored by the current Republican candidate for United States Senate. There is no way that Jeanine Pirro can reasonably suggest that it is the product
of a “witch hunt,” or something devised by her opponent.
One can only ascribe the highest motives to then-Mayor John Spencer, and, perhaps conclude that, for whatever reason in 2003, he somehow “got religion,” particularly given his call upon both the State Attorney General, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, to come into Westchester and investigate his
allegations. Whatever the case, Spencer’s actions, three years ago, may yet turn out to be the single most important instrument in bringing about the downfall of corruption in Westchester County.
Carl Vergari: The Last Great Westchester DA
Carl Vergari was a remarkable man, a devoted husband and father, and a tireless public servant. I had the privilege of being touched by him at two points in my life, as a young Westchester County Probation Officer in the late sixties, and again, for the past four years, since authoring The Jeanine Machine. Carl was a ‘no nonsense’ kind of executive, who expected excellence from his attorneys and investigators, and led by example. Unlike the DA who would follow him, and who never saw a camera she didn’t love, Carl was so involved in his work, he never stood still long enough to catch a picture of him.
Born in Yonkers in 1921, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on his 20th birthday. A year later, upon graduating from Fordham University, he joined the Marines, and was sent off to face the enemy in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Compiling a brilliant record in service, he emerged from the war with the rank of Captain. He entered St. John’s Law School, going to work in the Manhattan DA’s Office in 1948, under the legendary
Frank Hogan. In ten years there Carl rose to become the head of the Rackets Bureau.
Carl’s innovativeness and work ethic landed him an appointment as assistant counsel to the State Investigation Commission, a newly formed state agency which would go on to tackle serious issues of public integrity throughout the state, including the City of Yonkers, for many years. By 1961 he had become Chief Counsel. I was already a County Probation Officer when in 1968 Carl Vergari was appointed by Governor Rockefeller to
succeed DA Leonard Rubenfeld, who had decided to run for County Court Judge.
Carl wasted no time reorganizing an office that had, as I seem to recall, some twentytwo assistant district attorneys. I shortly became aware of operational changes, a tightening of procedures, in my trips to the DA’s Office at the Old Courthouse, in White Plains, in search of case information needed for pre-sentence investigations for the County Court, and the Criminal Part of the State Supreme Court. He would go on to be elected six times, serving a total of nearly 26 years as the chief law enforcement officer of Westchester. In
the more than two and a half decades that he presided over the office hundreds of fine attorneys would emerge under his leadership to go on to assume their places in government, corporate, and private law practice, proud to have worked under Carl Vergari.
Carl was steady at the helm. He was respected by both, police, and public officials alike. He brought new and effective ideas and programs to a rapidly growing office. He understood the importance of solid criminal investigation, and put together an elite unit within his Investigations Bureau that was the envy of departments everywhere. State and federal law enforcement were constantly enlisting the assistance of his crack investigators.
District Attorney Carl Vergari left a huge footprint, a statement about excellence and integrity not seen since his retirement. He was very generous, and also very loyal to his party. His loyalty often kept him from speaking out publicly about the transgressions and misconduct of his successor. He was, however, delighted with the publication of The Jeanine Machine, expressing his appreciation that someone had finally spoken out, and
set the record straight. For four years he stood by tolerating his successor’s repeated false claims, taking credit for the innovative programs and units he had established, and attempting to discredit his performance.
Finally, on Feb. 28, 1997 no longer able to stand by as she self-aggrandized, Carl sent the following open letter to Jeanine Pirro, which was published in the Gannett Newspapers:
By Richard Blassberg
Judge Adler Carefully Balances Justice Interests
State Supreme Court, White Plains
Judge Lester B. Adler Presiding
Monday, October 16th former high school science teacher Paul Wicht appeared before Supreme Court Justice Les Adler for sentencing, having been found guilty, nearly a year ago, by a jury, of three counts of 110.235.22-00, Attempted Dissemination of Indecent Materials To A Minor, a Class E Felony.
Number 96 in a long chain of 111 of Jeanine Pirro’s so-called Internet Sting cases, prosecuted between July 1999 and December 2005, Wicht’s case is, in fact, distinguishable from all of the other prosecutions in that the initial e-mail correspondence was not initiated by the Defendant, but rather by a 15-year-old female, former student, apparently seeking adult attention and advice.
Seeing her former teacher, who had transferred to another high school, at an athletic competition with her school, she had passed a note to Wicht through a friend asking him to contact her. The student informed her former, very popular science teacher, that she was involved in an intimate relationship with an older boy, and that she couldn’t communicate with her parents about it.
In short, unlike every one of Pirro’s other sting targets, Paul Wicht had not been surfing the Internet seeking inappropriate sexual contacts, but rather, was picked out by his “victim,” who desired to re-establish communication with a former, very popular, teacher, quite possibly to prove to her peers that she could. Quite simply, Paul Wicht demonstrated no predisposition to engage in unlawful activities with minors, sexual, or otherwise. He was not seeking any, let alone any unlawful, contact with minors, when his former student, for whatever reason, pursued him.
Unfortunately, the report that appeared in The Journal News on Tuesday, October 17th, was flawed in several aspects. To begin with, Paul Wicht never exchanged sexually explicit e-mails with the actual student, however ill-advised and overreaching his expressions of affection might have been. After all, had there been any criminality in Wicht’s correspondences to that young woman, he would not have been charged with Attempted Dissemination, but rather with Dissemination of Indecent Materials To A Minor.
Inappropriate, wrong-minded, certainly, however innocent and beneficial the series of correspondences to his former student might have started out, in response to her request for contact, it did not constitute a crime. Specifically, Wicht’s e-mail exchange with the actual youngster could not be prosecuted as a crime under any statute. Furthermore, under the recent Kozlow Decision, even his correspondence with North Castle Police, and Westchester District Attorney surrogate correspondents, skillfully inducing and entrapping as it may have been, did not provide sufficient evidence of crime, as there was no transmission of indecent graphic images.
Judge Adler, mindful of Kozlow, having denied a three-pronged Defense appeal, on procedural grounds, which included a serious allegation of prosecutorial misconduct, a Brady violation, the type of which former DA Pirro
is becoming known for, several days earlier, came to his sentencing duties determined to discharge his mandated responsibilities, but equally determined to be fair, if firm, and realistic, with regard to the probable outcome of the
Defendant’s appellate motions, once placed before the appropriate tribunal.
And, while the Judge felt compelled to stiffly reprimand Wicht for his obvious poor judgment, and failure to respect his custodial responsibilities as a teacher, Adler was, at the same moment, thoughtful, and very careful to avoid the premature execution of punishment upon a Defendant whose indictment and conviction may well be overturned.
The Journal News erroneously reported that Wicht “saw the girl” when she visited Bronxville High School for a softball game. Actually, she had passed a note to the Defendant, her former teacher, through a schoolmate. Clearly, what started innocently enough, on the part of the Defendant, and was terminated by him, after several e-mails were exchanged over a two week period, would never have gone any further had it not been for the intervention of, and restarting of the “correspondence” by the North Castle Police, followed by Jeannine Pirro’s operatives, a fact omitted from the daily newspaper’s report.
Irrespective of the Kozlow Decision and its certain favorable impact upon Paul Wicht’s present appeal, had the police and Mrs. Pirro’s Office not been maliciously motivated to create a crime where there was none, to induce and entrap, and then withhold Brady Material from the jury, the Court, and the Defense, intentionally failing to produce the most exculpating of the e-mails forwarded by the Defendant, and, had Mrs. Pirro not decided to engage in extreme tactics for self-promotional purposes, this defendant would never have been arrested.
It was nauseating to witness the interaction between Assistant DA Michael Delohery, the now seventeen-year-old “victim,” and her parents. In point of fact, given that Wicht, even under “Pirro-Law,” had not broken the law in his original e-mail exchanges, and had terminated the correspondence, there was no legitimate reason for the Prosecution’s elaborately choreographed use and manipulation of the girl involved. As regards her statement to the Court, applied for by the Prosecution, truth be told, it was not the Defendant who “robbed her youth” as she complained to Adler, but rather the DA’s Office which used her and exposed her unnecessarily, both at
trial, and at sentencing.
The words “He killed my age of innocence,” coming from the mouth of this youngster who had spoken of her intimate relationship with an older boy, two years earlier, at age 15, was as contrived as her other utterance, “I
was five feet tall, and I weighed ninety-five pounds.” These words were not her own, and were specifically inserted by the DA’s Office to shift attention from their prosecutorial misconduct. Only time will tell what impact this child’s unnecessary involvement in the malicious, and unlawful activities of the North Castle Police Department, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office will ultimately have upon her life.
Traveling north up a very dark Route 100 on my way to the Somers Public Library for a joint Bedford/Lewisboro North Salem/ Somers League of Women Voters (LWV) candidate debate on a recent Monday night, I wondered if there would even be a “phone booth” crowd present on this cool October 16th evening.
I passed the Croton Reservoir, over the hills and into Lincolndale and arrived at the Jacob Reis Park to find a packed parking lot. Tension was in the air as I approached the Somers Library building and observed from a distance the community room packed with a standing room-only crowd spilling out down the hallway and into the entryway. I simply was not prepared for the political theatre about to unfold before me.
The Honorable Sandy Edlitz, Democratic incumbent Westchester Family Court judge, was just con- cluding her
remarks as I entered the back of the cramped room. Judge Jeff Cohen, Democratic candidate for County Court Judge from Yorktown, followed with a brief statement. Unopposed Democratic 89th District Assemblyman Adam Bradley stepped up to the podium and promptly described his past achievements in Albany and upcoming plans for reform.
A TV camera was rolling as League of Women Voters moderator Bruce Gilchrest of Chappaqua stepped back up to the podium to introduce the next participants, the real reason why this crowd was assembled from across Westchester and Putnam County, the sole opportunity for the contenders for the 40th Senatorial District, which contains Bedford, Cortlandt, Lewsisboro, Pound Ridge, Somers, Yorktown, Peekskill, all of Putnam County and eastern Dutchess County, to square off in Westchester.
Like a night at a boxing match, I found Democratic County Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, 47, Somers favorite son, in the left side of the room surrounded by supporters. Incumbent Republican Senator Vincent Leibell, 60, of Patterson, was encircled by his staff in the back of the room. Tall, fit and dressed in their dark navy suits, ready to square off in the League’s tightly controlled verbal match comprised of two League questions and two audience questions.
Kaplowitz was first to enter the ring, pointing out that he was a Somers resident, lawyer, Chartered Financial Analyst and stock broker with 9 years experience on the Westchester County Board of Legislators, including several years as Chairman of the Budget Committee. With this background in mind, Kaplowitz stated that he was “a realist and an optimist.” He forcefully contended, “state spending is out of control, having risen from $63 billion to $114 billion with no end in sight.” He concluded his opening remarks, prepared to the final second, indicating that “New York, like Washington, has no energy policy,” and called for New York State to do its part in “reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”
Senator Vincent Leibell, confidently approached the podium with statesmanlike stature cultivated after serving 23 years in the New York State Assembly and Senate. Leibell stated that when he and Michael Kaplowitz talked about New York State, he “ wondered if we are talking about the same state.” Leibell went on to criticize
Kaplowitz when he asked “Why haven’t you come to Albany?” Leibell described for the audience how he has frequently met with Westchester County Executive Andy Spano and Larry Schwartz, and, members of the Westchester County Board. Leibell said for him “New York State is a far different picture than what Kaplowitz has painted.” Kaplowitz later described in detail to this reporter that he had made numerous trips to Albany over the years, indicating that he, “ Prefers to meet with people who are important.” He indicated that he has “…not only met the legislature’s Westchester delegation on numerous occasions but has accompanied delegations of senior citizens, concerned taxpayers and Red Cross representatives to Albany.”
Moderator Bruce Gilchrest introduced the first question which described “an ideal situation where there is health insurance for everyone.”
Kaplowitz responded, going into detail about the “1.9 million New Yorkers who are uninsured.” He advocatedfor “The need to boost enrollment for every New Yorker,” and called for a public health policy that is both “preventative and humane.” Kaplowitz used all of his final seconds, stating that New York must “ control costs, especially premiums and pharmaceuticals.”
Senator Leibell stepped into the ring, with years in Albany, responding that “Healthcare is challenging but we need a national health care policy that considers the different issues that are faced at the state level versus the national level.” He detailed his efforts to create a “quilt or safety net” for New Yorkers and his efforts to “support our hospitals.” Gilchrist’s second question focused on the environment with a call for reducing emissions. Kaplowitz, a noted policy wonk on Westchester environmental issues, jumped at the opportunity to respond. He described in detail Westchester County’s efforts to reduce emissions of its own vehicles. Kaplowitz advocated the implementation by Con Ed of “an advanced new generation of ‘smart’ electric meters that ensure accurate meter readings, provide residential and small business customers with incentives to significantly control their energy and automatically manage their costs without guessing.” Kaplowitz indicated that these new meters “should reduce the likelihood of electricity shortages and defer the need for future power plants.”
Industry experts in California and Canada, have indicated that this advanced technology does not necessarily change the price of electricity but “ more accurately reflects the true cost of electricity used at various times of the day for the advanced metering system to reduce peak electricity usage.” Studies have shown that taking electric meters out of obscure locations such as basements and placing them near primary entrances has the biggest impact on controlling use and costs.
Kaplowitz enthusiastically called for the need to “boost renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.” He stated that “New York cannot stay this course.” The crowd responded with loud applause to his conclusion that “New York can lead on an energy policy that focuses on conservation and renewable fuels.”
Senator Leibell then claimed that in the New York State Senate “No one has better environmental credentials than I.” He described his efforts and concluded his remarks with the fact that Mike Kaplowitz has received “ campaign contributions from a ‘smart meter’ company.”
The moderator then opened the floor for questions from the audience. A Somers gentleman asked Senator Leibell to “reconcile the fact that the courts have ruled that New York City schools have been under-funded to the tune of several billion dollars while you have given taxpayer dollars to private education.”
Leibell detailed his history of directing taxpayer dollars to both public and private schools indicating that New York has a lengthy history of “ giving money to public and private schools as part of a bi-partisan public policy.”
Kaplowitz, long considered a “budget watchdog,” hammered Leibell for questionable use of his discretionary spending such as sending secret state tax dollars out-of-district to Leibell’s children’s college, and, to a commission that represents private universities, not SUNY schools. The Putnam County legislature just approved an 18.65% property tax increase for fiscal year 2007 on October 3rd. Multiple school budgets have failed and two school districts are operating under contingency budgets in the 40th Senate District.
Kaplowitz concluded his remarks when he stated that as a State Senator, he would “not be sending our public dollars to private schools until our public schools are fully funded. Education is ‘job one’ of state government!”
A Somers woman described the recent bi-partisan Massachusett’s legislation that is intended to insure all of its consumers and asked both candidates to do the same in New York. Kaplowitz described in detail the $30 million of indigent health care provided by Westchester Medical Center; that 18 cents of every dollar is spent on health care; and his opinion of Massachusetts consumer driven model.
Senator Leibell promptly described the New York Senate’s review of “ the Massachusett model and their questioning of their ability to finance this with their current revenue stream.”
Leibell got down to business when he said “a lot of my time has been spent on rescuing the Westchester Medical Center because of what the Westchester County Board of Legislators did and didn’t do.”
A Bedford resident questioned Senator Leibell about any efforts to fix the broken New York State Legislature as defined by a recent Brennan Center report. Leibell indicated that he considered the Brennan Center report, “ A partisan report produced by Democratic staff.” Senator Leibell concluded his remarks by stating “We can all agree that reforms are necessary.”
Kaplowitz popped right up, charging “Albany does not get it! Each legislative body does not talk to the other; they do not have mandatory conferences on legislation.”
An Avalon resident expressed his frustration with the multiple levels of Medicaid reimbursement for the same services. Kaplowitz indicated that home health care was preferable to institutional care. He stated that he was concerned that “ Health insurance companies were making un- Godly pro_ ts,” and “in certain instances, Medicaidreimbursement is not high enough for providers to meet their costs.”
Senator Leibell asked the audience “Which program would you like dropped?” He described the history of Medicaid, indicating it is a result of federal legislation and that New York has a legacy of o_ ering a more expansive program than those o_ ered in most other states. Leibell clearly stated “ Medicaid fraud needs to be addressed,” and that there needs to be “a cap on charges to local county governments”
Leibell responded to a resident’s concern about the current atmosphere of scandal a_ ecting campaigns for candidates from Washington and Albany. He stated “In twenty-four years of o_ ce, this is the most disappointing campaign” he has been involved in. Senator Leibell indicated “ No party has a monopoly on integrity. I’m satis_ ed with my years in office.”
The audience responded with loud, boistrous applause when Legislator Kaplowitz responded that as State Senator, he “won’t set up private foundations with $10 million in taxpayer dollars.” He went on “I will disclose where all member dollars are going and I will not participate in the $87 million GLOP.”
Moderator Gilchrest then ruled the next questioner, Mark Fang of Yorktown, out of order for an inappropriate question Kaplowitz. In addition, the audience booed Fang and called for him to sit down. It was the _ rst time that this reporter had ever observed an “out of order” ruling by a moderator at a LWV debate.
The two candidates then had precisely one and a half minutes to provide their closing remarks.
Senator Leibell accused Mike Kaplowitz of “ dropping the ball” with the _ nances at the Westchester Medical
Center, and further charged that its Board was loaded with unquali_ ed political appointees. Leibell proudly described his commitment to creating a_ ordable housing for the district’s senior citizens through his Putnam Community Foundation.
Michael Kaplowitz, with unrestrained exuberance, concluded his remarks, down to the last second, by stating that as a candidate for State Senator “I believe we can do better, with school taxes, with property taxes and energy policy, not in secret but in transparent government. We can do better, we must!”
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I’ve been following the Jing Kelly case since its inception. I don’t understand why this mother Jing Kelly isn’t allowed to visit with her natural child Tristram. The Appellate Division, First Dept. of the State Supreme Court
has already instructed the State NY Family Court under the guidance of Honorable Sara P. Schechter to commence immediate visitation between mother and child. What’s the holdup?
It’s only natural that a mother and child be together. The unfairness of this situation is perhaps due to the Westchester County Judicial System under the tyranny of our former DA Jeanine Pirro.
Please, Honorable Schechter, let this mother and child be re-united. We don’t need to further cause any disruption in Tristram’s life. Four years is long enough. Let’s put aside the conspiracy and criminal activities that have snowballed and causing havoc in the life of an innocent child and a pain-filled heart of a mother.
I write to you concerning the City of Yonkers and its continued retaliatory actions as a result of my 2000 lawsuit for employment termination. In March 2004 I won a modest jury award in Federal Court against former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer and the City of Yonkers, for the termination of my civil service position. I contacted everyone in New York State government for assistance before I filed my lawsuit, to no avail. I am a lifelong Democrat whose personal political activities incurred the wrath of Mr. Spencer, currently the Republican nominee for the United States Senate seat currently held by Hilary Clinton. Yonkers has always been a politically corrupt municipality, but it reached new heights under the Spencer administration.
I was almost five years from full retirement age when my position was terminated in July 2000, and could not retire without significant penalty until December 2004. I learned from the City of Yonkers during my trial in March 2004 that they would not provide me with retirement benefits due to the fact that one must retire from the payroll. I subsequently was not afforded medical benefits when I reached full retirement age of 55 in December 2004. It apparently doesn’t matter that I could not meet Yonkers’ retirement criteria due to the fact that they fired me illegally four years earlier – they hinge their denial on a technicality this issue of lost benefits not
being addressed at my trial.
I am a lifelong single and proud parent of a 27-year old son. On the last leg of his lame-duck mayoralty, John Spencer also fired two friends of mine, young single mothers who, unfortunately, did not hold permanent civil service status and had no legal recourse.
Current Mayor Phil Amicone has learned well the are of political vindictiveness under his mentor, John Spencer. Yonkers is denying me the medical benefits I earned through nearly 25 years in the New York State pension system via a legal technicality. What Yonkers is doing is immoral and unconscionable. I won a unanimous jury verdict, and never sought to take the easy way out and settle out of court. Without the awarding of these
medical benefits, I have won nothing and it proves that there truly is no way to fight City Hall.
In Our Opinion....
Last week saw the long anticipated arrival of casino gambling at Yonkers Raceway, known to some as the Hilltop Oval. The track originally opened more than a century ago as Empire City and, featuring thoroughbred
racing, has been a major harness racing facility for more than fifty years. Until it’s closure in 1988, Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, Long Island, shared the downstate major harness racing action with Yonkers Raceway, with the meet alternating between the two half-mile ovals every three months, or so.
In 1976 Meadowlands Racetrack, owned and operated by the State of New Jersey, a bold new experiment, opened in East Rutherford, only minutes from Manhattan. A one-mile track, offering substantially larger purses,
the Big M, as it came to be known, immediately drew many of the fans and most of the better racing stables across the river. Additionally, OTB, Off Track Betting, had come into existence a few years earlier, and
was beginning to seriously eat into track attendance at Yonkers as well.
Prior to the Meadowlands, and OTB, attendance at Yonkers Raceway, and Roosevelt throughout the sixties and early seventies, typically, was 15,000 on weekday evenings, and crowds of 25,000, or more, were not unusual on Friday and Saturday nights. Track handles of $2 to 3 million per night were routine, and everybody was making money.
Over time, the combined impact of OTB, The Meadowlands, and numerous competing gambling venues, Atlantic City, Indian Casinos in Connecticut, and on-line gambling, to name a few, brought harness racing, even with the advent of on-track simulcasting, to its knees.
Prior to shutting down fifteen months ago, for renovation, and construction of a casino, Yonkers was drawing crowds of 1,200, or fewer on weekday nights, and perhaps 2,500 on weekends. Naturally, with vastly reduced attendance the purses, and the quality of racing stock severely suffered, a situation for which both the Pataki, and Cuomo administrations must share blame. Foolishly state government, which for many years enjoyed abundant revenues, sharing a percentage of the profit from pari-mutual wagering, had virtually allowed “the goose that was laying the golden eggs” to grow feeble and nearly die.
Such government neglect over three decades was particularly shortsighted given the thousands of jobs supported by an active vibrant horseracing facility. After all, it is not merely the owners and trainers and drivers, whose
livelihoods are dependent upon the operation. Feed and hay, and bedding suppliers, blacksmiths, veterinarians, tack shops, shippers, not to mention grooms, feeders, track maintenance personnel, and racing officials, literally several hundred, all involved in the “backstretch,” are implicated.
And, of course, the concessions, the parking attendants, the ticket sellers and cashiers, the restaurant staffs, the program printers and distributors, the security, and cash handling operations, comprising several hundred more in the racing plant itself, as well as front office clerical and support personnel, are all dependent on the health of the racing industry.
Thankfully, along come racetrack casinos to the rescue, albeit very late, almost too late for Yonkers Raceway. We believe better late than never, however. It is a fact that the introduction of casino gambling, in whatever form, whether merely electronic slots, such as Yonkers has installed, or full-blown casino operations such as the Hippodrome, formerly Woodbine Raceway, in Montreal, or the casino at Dover Downs in Delaware, all very significantly benefit racing.
At every track where casinos have been introduced purses, and handles, and the quality of racing has improved enormously, generating revenues and taxes in the municipalities in which they are located that far exceed the added cost of police and other services. We have every confidence that Empire City Gaming at Yonkers Raceway is going to be a huge success, not only for the horseracing industry, but also for the People of the City of Yonkers and the County of Westchester. To be sure, better days lay ahead.
Call The F.B.I.
The time has come for all of the victims of Jeanine Pirro’s “reign of terror” to lay aside their trepidation and share the unlawful patterns and practices worked against them, and their loved ones, between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2005, by the District Attorney of Westchester County. Events of the past several days clearly suggest that the Justice Department has finally begun to turn their attention to more than the joint ten-year federal tax fraud that sent Albert J. Pirro, Jr. to prison. In fact, it would now seem that United States Attorney Michael Garcia, unlike an earlier occupant of the office, might be altogether very willing to go ‘toe-to-toe’ with Mrs. Pirro for as far down the road as necessary to uncover, and root out corruption and criminality, wherever that road may lead.
Garcia, to his credit, has already demonstrated a distinct unwillingness to play the game by her rules, a fact which has made Pirro uncomfortable, to say the least. In her public statements, more accurately, proclamations, one gets the clear impression that, much like Dustin Hoffman after Rain Man, she’s having great difficulty coming
down from the role of DA. Imagine her, demanding that the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York discover and reveal who it was that “leaked” the investigation of her attempted wiretapping of her husband and his mistress aboard his 26-foot Loveboat in Rye Harbor?
Despite Mrs. Pirro’s protestations to the contrary we know that the prosecutor handling her investigation is not Eliot Jacobson, the Assistant United States Attorney who developed and prosecuted the Pirros’ tax fraud case nine years ago. In fact, the prosecutor assigned is Perry Carbone, a bright and already very accomplished federal attorney whose work in public integrity cases in New Jersey and elsewhere, we are told, caught the attention of President George W. Bush, who has specifically called upon him to “help deal with the public integrity issues in the suburbs north of New York City.”
Furthermore, Mrs. Pirro’s repeated claim that the current federal investigation, both into her civilian criminal conduct, as well as her conduct in office, is a “witch hunt,” or somehow “politically timed to destroy her election prospects,” is not credible given the fact that she is a Republican and the Administration in Washington is Republican, and has financially supported her campaign. Her screaming and carrying on notwithstanding, there is every reason to believe that United States Attorney Michael Garcia’s Office is conducting a totally above-board, non-politically inspired, investigation into the activities, not only of Jeanine Pirro, and Bernard Kerik, but also
numerous other former, and present public officials, Democrats, Republicans, and Independence Party members in Westchester, and the New York metropolitan area.
If, indeed, as reported, President Bush has called upon Mr. Carbone to go in and investigate, and clean up corruption in Westchester, and elsewhere around New York, he is to be congratulated for recognizing that the War on Terrorism is not the only attention the federal government ought to be paying to this area. No reasonable
observer could accept the notion that there isn’t a great deal of information to be uncovered and dealt with.
Those in the know around the Westchester County Courthouse have understood for years the concept “Pirro Law,” and its implications for an accused individual’s Constitutional Rights. False confessions, police violence, and totally confabulated prosecutions all flourished under Jeanine Pirro.
Her Public Integrity Bureau under Mike Hughes was a total fraud, better yet, an oxymoron. In one case Pirro expressed the opinion to an attorney that it really didn’t matter if she knowingly used false testimony and evidence to convict his brother. Her power was so absolute for so long, that she was arrogant, and virtually imperious.
Under the present circumstances, it is entirely probable that she, herself, leaked information of the federal investigation, preferring to control both the timing and the spin. It is not unlike her to do the unexpected, the outrageous. And, furthermore, she was, and still is, far behind in the polls to be this close to election. Once again,
particularly in light of the Government’s interest in her “steering of criminal cases,” now is the time when victim’s of her abuse of power, and their families should come forward in order that the unlawful patterns and practices of her office for some twelve years may finally be exposed.
By Richard Blassberg
Attorney Wayburn States His Position
New York County Family Court
Judge Sara P. Schechter Presiding
Editor’s Note: The Westchester Guardian newspaper presents the following position paper of Attorney Robert F. Wayburn, who presently represents the parents of Jing Kelly and who has and continues to represent and counsel Jing in her continuing effort to regain contact with, and custody, of her six-year-old son Tristram Kelly.
Tristram, who continues to be held in virtual false imprisonment, intentionally isolated from any contact with, or awareness of, his natural mother, and her parents, his maternal grandparents. This newspaper has repeatedly taken the position, and continues to hold the position, that Mrs. Gail Hiler’s taking of Tristram Kelly from Canadian authorities in Vancouver between January 3rd and 4th of 2003; arranged and facilitated by then-District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, was nothing short of a kidnapping, the result of which has been the total loss of all contact between mother and child for more than three years and nine months to date.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines kidnapping as “the unlawful taking and carrying away of a human being by force, or fraud, or threats or intimidation.” Specifically, Black’s Law Dictionary defines child-stealing as the conduct of “one who shall lead, take, entice or detain a child, under a specified age, with intent to keep, or conceal it, from its parent, guardian or other person having lawful care or control thereof.”
Clearly, Gail Hiler, who possessed no parole custody certificate or other lawful authority, to seize or detain Tristram Kelly, kidnapped him on January 3rd and 4th, 2003, aided and abetted by Jeanine Pirro.
Therefore, although our position with regard to the taking and detaining of Tristram Kelly may differ with regard to terminology, we respect and offer Attorney Wayburn’s position for our readers’ consideration.
I do want to commend your publication and you, personally, for the strong interest and support and coverage given to this matter. It is a great injustice that this mother was wrongly deprived of visitation and contact with her son for the past four years, and that to this very day, no headway has been made to correct that tragedy. I hope that your publication will continue to monitor this situation and voice support for justice in this matter and other matters as well.
While I believe Mrs. Pirro overstepped her bounds in assisting Gail Hiler on January 3, 2003 and January 4, 2003 to retrieve physical possession of Tristram in Vancouver, Canada, over that weekend, without benefit of any prior court review in either Canada or New York, and with a viewpoint of circumventing such court review, in that Ms. Kelly was scheduled to appear in the Canadian Court the following Monday and Judge Schechter was returning from vacation and would also be available that following Monday. This overstepping of her proper law enforcement role by Mrs. Pirro assisted Gail Hiler in that she was then able to file a custody petition and family offense petition later on that month in Westchester County, in a blatant attempt at forum shopping
and at getting rid of the law guardian in New York County.
Mrs. Pirro truly had no reason to assist in this way, nor was she justified in overcharging this mother with a baseless felony count. I believe she did so for the purpose of opposing bail at Ms. Kelly’s arraignment, on March 7, 2003, and thereby again bolstered the custody case of the non-parent resident of Westchester County, Gail Hiler. Again, Mrs. Pirro contributed to this tragedy by not producing the incarcerated mother from the local Westchester County jail in Valhalla for her dispositional hearing in New York County Family Court on March 20, 2003, at which time custody was erroneously and improperly awarded to Gail Hiler in this mother’s absence.
All visitation was denied, again unlawfully and improperly, while the mother remained incarcerated another ten months.
YES, MRS. PIRRO ACTED IMPROPERLY AND OVERSTEPPED HER LEGITIMATE LAW ENFORCEMENT ROLE AND SET IN MOTION AND CONTINUED TO ENHANCE THE PROSPECTS OF THE PROTRACTED SEPARATION OF THIS MOTHER AND CHILD, A TRAGEDY BY ALL ACCOUNTS INCLUDING THE APPELLATE PANEL THAT REVERSED THE UNLAWFUL
FAMILY COURT ORDERS, AND A TRAGEDY COMPOUNDED BY MRS. HILER NOT WANTING TO CARE FOR TRISTRAM HERSELF ANYWAY AND SOON THEREAFTER SHIPPING THE CHILD OUT OF STATE SOME THREE THOUSAND MILES AWAY TO LIVE ISOLATED AND APART FROM HIS SOLE SURVIVING PARENT AND HIS SOLE SURVIVING MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS.
MRS. PIRRO SHOULD BE HELD TO ACCOUNT FOR DOING THIS. I QUITE AGREE, IT DOES DENUDE HER CLAIM TO BE A CHAMPION OF VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. AND, IT IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR WHAT MRS. PIRRO DID HERE THAT THIS MOTHER VIOLATED A FAMILY COURT ORDER OF ANOTHER COUNTY WHEN SHE FLED WITH HER CHILD TO ESCAPE HER HUSBAND’S DEATH THREATS AND PROTECT HER CHILD AS IS NOW CONCEDED BY GAIL HILER HERSELF. HER BROTHER, CRAIG KELLY, WAS LIVING IN HER HOME FULL TIME AND CARING FOR THE CHILD.
Of course, at the time Jing fled with her son to China both Gail Hiler and Craig Kelly, now deceased, both of whom were practicing lawyers, LIED about where Craig was living and claimed he was living full-time with Gail Hiler’s husband’s father, Tom Hiler, in Brooklyn, New York. IT IS NO JUSTIFICATION TO MRS. PIRRO THAT JING KELLY FLED UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES AND THAT THIS TECHNICALLY
VIOLATED AN ADJACENT COUNTY’S FAMILY COURT ORDER BECAUSE:
a. No criminal prosecution was warranted here given the mitigating circumstances and the fact that the Family Court that issued the order had the power to punish the mother for contempt of court and imprison her for up to six months if the judge felt this was warranted;
b. it is one thing to prosecute a crime but it is another thing to overstep the law enforcement role and tailor the prosecution in such a way as to bolster the custody chances of a non-parent who happens to be a resident of the county, as happened here.
SO, BY ALL MEANS, HOLD JEANINE PIRRO TO ACCOUNT FOR HER MISFEASANCE AND THE TRAGEDY SHE HELPED CREATE. I MEAN DO YOU KNOW OF ANY OTHER CASE WHERE A MOTHER HAS BEEN JAILED FOR THIRTEEN MONTHS AND DENIED VISITATION AND CONTACT WITH HER CHILD FOR FOUR YEARS FOR HAVING FLED THE JURISDICTION WITH
HER CHILD. BUT, I BEG TO DIFFER WITH YOUR TERMINOLOGY THAT MRS. PIRRO IS GUILTY OF KIDNAPPING TRISTRAM OR AIDING AND ABETTING GAIL HILER TO DO SO. WHAT SHE IS TRULY GUILTY OF IS ABUSING HER ROLE AND POWER AS A PROSECUTOR AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL TO AID AND ABET THE CUSTODY CHANCES OF A LOCAL NON-PARENT RESIDENT. AND, SHE DID THIS IN A WAY THAT CIRCUMVENTED NORMAL COURT PROCESS AND INQUIRY INTO BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD. AND SHE DID THIS WITH AN OVERZEALOUSNESS THAT RAISES SUSPICION AS TO WHAT OTHER FACTORS MIGHT BE INVOLVED HERE. YES, SHE SHOULD BE INQUIRED OF, MADE TO EXPLAIN HER ACTIONS, and your readers should be writing and calling her in such regard.
Jing has an appeal pending in the Second Department from her misdemeanor conviction and which appeal raises the issue of whether the trial judge in the criminal case improperly prohibited the jury from considering Jing’s affirmative defenses to the lower misdemeanor count of custodial interference in the second degree, of which she was ultimately convicted. I am hopeful justice will prevail and the misdemeanor conviction will be reversed and vacated for this mother, as I do not believe any jury would have convicted Jing Kelly of custodial interference
in the second degree for fleeing with her child in June 2001 if allowed to consider all the circumstances and mitigating factors that existed at the time.
I believe continued press coverage of this situation is essential to justice. I appreciate the strong voice your publication has raised to draw attention to the current tragic situation.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
To the Editor:
Did you know that virtually every police department in Westchester County is sitting on numerous protective orders that have been issued simply because wives have filed petitions (irrespective of whether their allegations
Are you aware that most men are not even provided an opportunity in Westchester Family Court to tell their side of the story for weeks, often months. Are you aware that protective orders are being sustained without the men accused even being given an opportunity to be asked questions under oath by the Westchester Family Court Judges?
On a regular basis men in Westchester are being pressured by judges into plea bargaining (pleading guilty to their wives’ and girlfriends’ bogus allegations) rather than having a hearing.
It’s like Pre-War Nazi Germany (the Gestapo) or the former Soviet Union (the Gulag) all over again when it comes to how men are being treated in this county. A man is guilty until proven innocent in Westchester.
There is virtually no due process. The courts could not care less what a man has to say for months and months until a hearing is scheduled. Often the hearings never take place.
Well guys, it’s time to organize and sue “the system”! Spread the word. This is not a hush-hush matter.
Ask your neighbors and friends and you will find that they all know someone who is being subjected to this abuse of power.
It’s time to organize men in Westchester County who are currently under protective orders issued by the Family Court under false pretenses (little or no due process); orders or protection being issued simply on the basis of a
spouse or girlfriend’s allegations (which are often hearsay and fabricated).
These men are frequently being denied access to their homes and their children. I am forming a group of men that will qualify for a federal class action against the “system”.
If you feel you are currently under an Order of Protection unnecessarily and are being prevented from accessing your home and/or children, please contact me. Several men have already responded - their stories are truly
unbelievable. It is clear from speaking to them that the “system” is out of control and that Westchester County Family Court and the Department of Social Services are hauling hundreds of men in our County into Court and
restricting their movement dramatically; often preventing them from accessing their own homes.
There is power in numbers. The DSS and the Family Court system each need to be hit with a serious Federal lawsuit in order to curb their behavior. No one man can fight the system alone - it’s simply too big and too many
people are now making money off of its current structure. We will be meeting in the near future (within the next two weeks) and organizing ourselves with the goal of commencing a federal class action suit. Meetings will take place in Central Westchester.
E-mail me for more information. I welcome hearing from lawyers interested in helping us as well.
Spread the word-there is nothing to hide about this. This is a free country. There are numerous constitutional rights that are being violated by this conduct. The “system” (and its members) must be held accountable.
In Our Opinion...
WE believe, based upon what we learned from the recent federal trial of former Westchester County Correction Officer, Paul Cote, and what we have learned over the past several years regarding operations at the County Jail, that the current circumstance under which the Westchester County Department of Probation, and the Westchester County Department of Corrections are each directed by the same commissioner, Rocco Pozzi, is a condition which must immediately be corrected.
To begin with, the only conceivable rationale under which one commissioner may be made to wear two hats, would be in a situation where there are two compatible and closely related county functions, the administration
of which is neither too complex, nor in conflict, and a significant economy can be realized in the payment of a single salary.
Such is clearly not the case between the Departments of Probation and Correction. One might reasonably suggest that these two functions, while theoretically, not totally at cross-purposes, are surely not parallel philosophically.
Furthermore, to suggest that one person’s time is sufficient to do justice to the responsibilities and administrational functions attached to each of these departments is to be out of touch with, or in utter denial of reality.
It is very clear to us that Mr. Pozzi has been on the job and has, for the most part, been running
a tight ship at the Department of Probation, for man years, essentially doing what he was hired to do. One need only examine the success of numerous initiatives over the years, including, but not limited to, the Sex Offender Unit, the DWI Unit, the Support Units, and the overall effectiveness of the Department in the areas of pre-sentence reporting and supervision, to appreciate that someone has been “watching the store,” even if, at times the Ninth Floor has exerted some undue political influence over personnel and operational decisions.
Having said that, We must take exception to the handling of Corrections generally, and specifically with regard to the operation of the County Jail. To begin with, the Jail and the Penitentiary are located on the Valhalla County
Campus at a site remote from the Department of Probation, and most County Government operations. Whether or not that fact alone has contributed to the kinds of problems: contraband, inappropriate contacts between
inmates of opposite sex, inmate/officer sexual contacts, and harassments, plumbing, and other infrastructural issues, inappropriate, in-house crossgender communication, to name just a few, may be subject to discussion.
However, it is indisputable that the operations of the Jail, housing some seventeen hundred individuals at any given time, is sufficiently complex, and significant to the well-being of our County that it deserves the fulltime
attention of a Commissioner of Corrections whose time and attention is not called upon by any other competing official responsibility. Surely, Mr. Schwartz, and the Office of the County Executive grasp that fact.
Therefore we now call upon the County Executive and the Board of Legislators to immediately consider the hiring of a Commissioner of Corrections whose job description will involve the full-time administration of the operations of the Department of Correction, with specific prohibitions with regard to any other form of employment.
After all, when an incident such as the death of an inmate as the result of a violent response by a correction officer, to that inmate, who had assaulted him, can result in the severe injury of that inmate by said officer, and ultimate death of that inmate, not to mention the promotion of that officer to sergeant, and the blaming, and framing of another officer for the crime, as was clearly the case with Sergeant John Reimer, and former Officer Paul Cote, something must be done to bring that operation under control. We believe that that something would be the hiring of a full-time Commissioner of Corrections capable of reining in and straightening out the Department.
A Simple “Yes”, or “No”
Lately we’ve been seeing and hearing a lot from Mrs. Pirro in daily newspapers and on television. Up until last week she would have had us believe that her top priority, was to protect her family, specifically her children, from the glaring lights and the stress of a political campaign: an admirable intention if indeed genuine. However, last week we began to see and hear from her daughter Christine, known to her friends and family as Kiki.
Christine Pirro is now an adult, over 21 years of age, and apparently has made the conscious decision to get personally involved in her mother’s campaign. We understand that she told a group of 200 supporters of her mother, at a fundraiser last week, that Jeanine is a “great role model.” The question that needs to be asked, once again, of her mother is, “Where was your daughter Christine on the afternoon of April 23, 2002, as Robert Viscome, Jr. lay dying on your neighbor’s patio while two dozen of his, and Christine’s friends were
busy cleaning up drug and alcohol paraphernalia?”
The people of Westchester have never been given a satisfactory answer, other than your comment, Mrs.
Pirro, at the Reel Java Coffee and Video Shop in West Harrison, in July of that year, in which you said, in response to the question of whether Christine was present, “She wasn’t there when the assault
The people of Westchester, the friends, family and loved ones of Rob Viscome, Jr., to this day, have never understood how some two dozen youths walked away from that incident without so much as Community Service
for letting Rob Viscome die, for their conscious decision not to call for emergency help, but instead, to clean up
evidence of drug and alcohol use. We’re still waiting for your answer, Mrs. Pirro; or, better yet, for Christine’s account, now that you have brought her actively into your campaign as a spokesperson for you. We’re waiting for an answer – a simple yes or no.
Now that Christine Pirro, daughter of Jeanine and Al Pirro has reached the age of majority, and has made the decision, as an adult, to speak out in public about the conduct and character of her mother, we must now expand
the inquiry previously directed to former District Attorney Pirro alone, to both of them. We must now expand the inquiry that has been directed for more than four years regarding her daughter’s whereabouts to the daughter
herself. After all, who knows better than she where she was and what she and her friends did, or did not do on that fateful and tragic afternoon as their friend Robert Viscome, Jr., lay dying, and unattended on the patio of her
neighbor’s, the Porzio’s, house.
When asked in July of 2002 the same question, Jeanine Pirro, caught off-guard, responded, “she wasn’t there
when the assault happened.” But, when asked a week later to clarify and simply state whether, or not her daughter was at the Porzio residence at any time while Robert Viscome lay injured and unattended, she then responded with a letter from her attorney, David Boies, threatening a defamation action. Imagine, the chief law enforcement officer of Westchester County, a person subject to the highest possible scrutiny for their
conduct in office, threatening a journalist with a defamation suit for asking the whereabouts of her daughter at the time her friend was dying because his friends refused to summon emergency medical assistance, for fear authorities would find alcohol and drug use evidence?
So now we seek the best evidence, as we say in law, a statement from the person in question. Tell us, Christine,
were you, or were you not at the Porzio residence, at any time, on the afternoon of April 23, 2002 as your friend, Robert Viscome, Jr., lay dying and unattended, and twenty or more youngsters, who you know, went about destroying evidence of alcohol and other abuse Please, tell us where you were, Christine, because you speak of your mother as a great role model. But, from where we stand, and from what we know to be true, she would appear to be a role model whose lesson has been that it’s not important to conduct yourself lawfully, nor to be accountable for your behavior, but merely to not get caught. If that is the lesson, if that is what this role model, your mother, has taught, it has had, and it will continue to have, tragic consequences in your life, and the lives of all your friends, who have been prevented from coming to grips with what they did, and did not do, on that day. The guilt has already severely affected their lives and the lives of those who love them.
By Richard Blassberg
No Limit To Cruelty Jing and Tristram Must Endure
[Mrs. Pirro: The Koran tells us, “God has a long memory”]
New York County Family Court
Judge Sara P. Schechter Presiding
Wednesday, October 4th – Jing Kelly appeared in New York County Family Court last week for the reconvening of the ongoing custody hearing in the matter of her infant son Tristram, now six-years-old. Also present in court were her parents, Tristram’s maternal grandparents, who, together with Jing, his mother, have been barred from any contact with the child, for three years and nine months, since he was kidnapped
from Jing, by arrangements made by then Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. There have been no phone calls, no letters, no video, no contact whatsoever, as he has been virtually held in false imprisonment 3,000 miles from his mother, in the home of Douglas Kelly.
Jing is represented in this matter by Attorney Nicolas Pirrella, her parents by Attorney Robert Wayburn, who has also represented Jing, and been involved in the case from the beginning. Wayburn contacted by The Westchester Guardian, declared, “It’s unbelievable. Jing Kelly has fewer civil rights than those charged with terrorism, and
held in Guantanamo.” He went on to reveal in detail what had gone on in the courtroom and what was revealed when Douglas Kelly testified under direct, and cross-examination.
Most incredibly, early in the course of direct examination by Attorney Philip Schiff, Douglas produced three computer print-outs of pictures taken of Tristram for Christmas cards in 2003, 2004, and 2005. These images had not been shared with Jing nor her attorney, and her spontaneous response to seeing her only child’s photos, after nearly four years of total deprivation of contact, was uncontrollable crying. She was so emotionally stunned that she could not stop weeping, and Judge Schechter was compelled to suspend the hearing.
Although the pictures were somewhat fuzzy, Jing noticed that her son had apparently sustained an injury to
his lower lip, that remained visible over the three-year span in which the pictures had been taken. The manner
in which the photo-copies of her son were abruptly shown to Jing, in Wayburn’s opinion, was “deliberately cruel, and vindictive, and demonstrated inexcusable heartlessness.”
Douglas testified that Tristram was shipped out to California by Gail Hiler who was taking a trip to England
and didn’t wish to bring him. However, the child was left to live with Douglas and his family in California.
And, contrary to Gail Hiler’s prior testimony that she had sent Tristram to California to spare him the publicity that might have attached to his mother’s criminal trial in January of 2004, he actually was returned by Douglas on January 17th 2004, and not removed from Hiler’s until January 28th. It was revealed that during the eleven days that Tristram was in New York at Hiler’s, for the trial, he spotted a picture of Jing in the newspaper, and pointing
to it said, “Mama.” Douglas admitted that no pictures of Jing or her parents, or Tristram’s father have been available to him in his home, or Hiler’s.
According to further testimony by Douglas, he, Gail and their sister Tracy, each had different ideas as to how Tristram should be cared for and housed. Apparently Tristram spent ten days around the time of the
trial visiting Tracy and her son in Chapel Hill North Carolina. While this claim may be accurate, this reporter, together with Attorney Christopher Chan, made an investigative trip to Chapel Hill in September of 2004 and discovered Tristram living there.
It was revealed that Tristram refers to Douglas Kelly and his wife, Corrine as Daddy and Mommy, and refers to their sons, his cousins, as his “brothers.” Wayburn stated, “It’s no wonder Tristram is unaware now of
the existence of his mother and grandparents.
They have intentionally isolated him.” To illustrate the extent to which the Hiler and Kelly families have gone to keep him from remembering his mother, Wayburn related that a toy Lego car which Jing had sent to him through Gail Hiler, following her release from jail, was given to him, but the card and a picture of herself with Tristram that accompanied the car was kept from him.
Mr. Wayburn explained that he attempted to enter into evidence documents which would show that Craig Kelly, Tristram’s deceased father, had left more than $200,000 in liquid assets for distribution by Gail Hiler
upon his death. Both Gail Hiler, and Douglas Kelly denied any knowledge of the assets, or the granting of control over their distribution to Gail. And, Judge Schechter, consistent with her ongoing alignment with those interveners
attempting to keep Jing and her son Tristram apart, denied Attorney Wayburn’s application to enter those documents into evidence.
When questioned about the apparent injury to Tristram’s lower lip, Douglas Kelly reportedly responded. “I don’t notice anything. Mr. Wayburn, are you trying to accused me of abusing this child?” Judge Schechter has
forbidden anyone from exposing the photographic copies to the press.
What we continue to witness in this most incredible case is a well-calculated conspiracy between Judge Sara P. Schechter, ACS, the judge-appointed law guardian, and the Hiler and Kelly families. Chief amongst those
who would vindictively keep this mother and her child apart forever, if she could, is Gail Hiler, a conspicuously vengeful and vindictive creature, who has demonstrated her willingness to spend whatever she must, tens of thousands of dollars, and more to keep Jing and Tristram apart. That she should continue to succeed despite a court order followed by a mandamus from the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, First Department, demanding “The immediate commencement of visitation,” nearly a year ago, is mind-boggling.
Readers must not lose sight of the fact that it was DA Jeanine Pirro to deliberately, and unlawfully set this nearly four-year separation of Jing and Tristram Kelly in motion when she arranged the kidnapping by Gail Hiler.
Jeanine Pirro who would have the voters of New York believe that she is a victim’s advocate, Jeanine Pirro who referring to the plight of domestically abused mothers, placed the following passage in her very defamatory book “To Punish And Protect,” in 2003: “If you report you are a victim of battery, not only will we not protect you, but
we’ll punish you by taking your children away.”
Recognizing that due process has apparently failed to remedy this horrific situation, and understanding only too well the serious harm being inflicted upon both mother and child with each passing day, The Westchester
Guardian called upon our readers last week to forward letters and phone calls to Judge Schechter as well as the Judges of the Appellate Court. Once again we are providing their addresses and telephone numbers,
below, and ask you to make your feelings known to them, please.
Hon. Sara P. Schechter
New York City Family Court, New York County
60 Lafayette Street, Rm. 10a1, New York, NY 10013-4048
(212) 374-2580 (Fax)
Hon. John T. Buckley, Presiding Justice
New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department
27 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10010
After a Decade of Grief, Tears of Forgiveness and Understanding
Dobbs Ferry, October 3 – At the site of the Venice Deli on Ashford Avenue, something magical happened. It was the tenth anniversary of the tragic events that left one man dead, and another imprisoned for 20-Years-to-Life. At about 6:00pm twenty-five relatives and friends of the late Charles Campbell, known to his closest associates as “Chazz,” began gathering on the sidewalk near the spot in front of the deli where Charlie had died in a violent episode, that had begun as a dispute over a parking space.
A large photograph of Campbell, who was 37 at the time, leaned against a picket fence, surrounded by ten candles, one for each year, in remembrance of the tragedy. And, as his cousin, Michael Lynch asserted, “in celebration of Chazz’ life.” William Campbell, the decedent’s older brother, stood amongst those gathering.
Four uniformed Dobbs Ferry Police Officers handled the traffic that passed the site, what with the narrow sidewalk overflowing with Campbell supporters and news media. Rosemarie DiGuglielmo, mother of former New York City Transit Police Officer Richard DiGuglielmo, together with her husband Richard, their daughter Rose, and a few friends were inside the deli, which ordinarily closes at six, standing near the open door.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Calling Jeanine Pirro “A deceitful, untrustworthy, flip-flopper,” WCLA/Choice Matters President Catherine Lederer-Plaskett conferred the much-sought-after endorsement of her organization on Andrew Cuomo, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, of whom she said, “We are proud to put our confidence and faith in Andrew Cuomo because we know he is the best-qualified in this race to be our champion.”
Ms. Lederer-Plaskett, standing before press and media, then declared, “Jeanine Pirro misled us and others about her position on choice for years, using the term ‘pro-choice’ as a marketing tool to be employed depending upon with whom she was speaking. She intentionally represented herself as pro-choice when it served her political aspirations.”
She added, “The last thing we need is to elect someone that we know says things only to garner votes. Jeanine Pirro is just that type of candidate.”
You cannot preserve the Constitution by violating it, and George W. Bush, the forty-third President of the United States, knows that. Furthermore, he who would enforce the Law must live by it.
The Bush Administration in its single-minded obsession with its “War on Terror,” would like the Congress, and the American People, to virtually deliver, carte blanche, a blank check to finance, and a pre-approval to pardon, any, and all Constitutional violations and criminal activity they continue to engage in “under the color of law.”
Daniel Ellsberg, whose whistle-blowing leak, of the so-called Pentagon Papers, to the New York Times, in 1971, probably hastened this country’s departure from Vietnam by at least two years, makes a most important point, when he says, “An oath to preserve and protect the Constitution, is not an oath to obey the President.” His argument goes right to the heart of the Administration’s flawed interpretation of the Federal Oath of Loyalty.
In fact, if the President chooses to engage in and/or encourage others to engage in unlawful, unconstitutional, activities, irrespective of the exigency of the circumstances, or the logic of the rationalization offered, obeying and covering up such conduct is clearly against one’s oath to “preserve, and protect the Constitution.” It is the President and those who willingly follow his dictates who violate the ‘Law of the Land’.
In a recent interview Ellsberg expressed his grave concern that the President is, even now, pointing this country toward an “inevitable war with Iran,” as predicted in Time Magazine last week. We would agree with his assessment, looking back on the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, that the press then, became so preoccupied with the preparations for, and ultimate execution of, the military action, it failed to question the accuracy, or
the legitimacy of the Weapons of Mass Destruction claim.
The press must never relax its vigilance as the ultimate “watchdog” in the perpetual struggle between government expedience and the individual rights of citizens in a truly free society. The Founding Fathers were very clear in this regard, choosing to specifically identify “the press” amongst four freedoms of expression, including speech,
religion, and assembly. Unfortunately, over the past 60 years or so, since the advent of television, news presentation, even investigative reporting, has increasingly become a theatrical production.
Where are the great investigative journalists of yesteryear; writers and broadcasters with the courage and the gumption to stand up for what was right, and identify, no matter where the chips might have fallen, what was downright wrong? Who from amongst today’s popular broadcast journalists would have stood up to Senator Joseph McCarthy, as Edward R. Murrow did? Sadly, none come to mind.
We must encourage our young journalists to question the motives and actions of those we entrust with the power to govern. We must set aside all notions of “political correctness” if we are to continue to enjoy the fundamental freedoms bestowed by our forefathers, and repeatedly paid for in battle, over 230 years, with American blood.
Our Readers Respond...
I have enjoyed reading The Westchester Guardian weekly. Your mission statement to the public is to be an advocate for the people.
You also support adoption and rescue efforts for animals. Kodi’s Club has a similar mission in that it “gives a voice to those who have no voice”.
Kodi’s Club is a group of volunteers that collectively share the same passion for those under-valued homeless animals that exist in shelters. They are being featured as one of the most compassionate rescues on Animal Planet’s Animal Prescient for their rescuing of Clara, formally known as Helen. She is a Rottweiler that suffered
eight agonizing years of severe abuse to be rescued and now is fortunate enough to be fostered by a dog trainer volunteer. Kodi’s Club has chosen to rescue those dogs that have suffered neglect that are in high kill shelters. All dogs that are rescued get the same love and treatment. They receive love and affection and are placed into loving nurturing foster homes until an appropriate adoptive family is found.
Educating the public on the horrors of puppy mills, and those who profit from them such as pet stores and immoral breeders is the basic fundamental goal of Kodi’s Club. Over 25% of all dogs in these shelters are purebreds that were purchased and cast aside for various reasons. This is proof that breeding is not the way to find the “right” dog for you. As an animal lover myself, and one who has rescued dogs from illegitimate breeders,
I can speak from personal experience that you get the same love, loyalty and affection from all dogs equally.
Everyone can make a difference! Foster home, adoptive homes and financial contributions are what make any rescue successful.
Once again, I want to thank and applaud The Westchester Guardian for being in the forefront, and recognizing the needs of “those who cannot speak for themselves!”
Croton Falls, New York
By Richard Blassberg
Jing & Tristram Kelly’s Horrific Injustice Continues
New York County Family Court
Judge Sara P. Schechter Presiding
Thursday, September 28th - Jing Kelly, mother of six-year-old Tristram Kelly, appeared in New York County Family Court, at a hearing in the Court of Judge Sara P. Schechter, unintentionally pro se, owing to the failure of her attorney in the matter, Nicolas Pirrella, to appear. Ms. Kelly’s parents, Tristram’s maternal grandparents, were also in attendance as parties to a motion filed by Attorney Robert Wayburn, requesting, amongst several items, the recusal of Judge Schechter for a host of fundamentally sound reasons, not the least of which involve Schechter’s remarkable continuing refusal to comply with the Decision and Order of the Appellate Division, First Department of the State Supreme Court, dated November 17, 2005, specifically instructing her to commence
“immediate visitation between mother and child,” and a mandamus, commanding her to do so, several weeks ago.
Returning to Schechter’s ‘inner sanctum’ felt like so much “Theatre of the Absurd,” because nothing that should be happening is happening, nor has it been in the life of now, six-year-old, Tristram Kelly, since former DA Jeanine Pirro arranged for him to be kidnapped by Gail Hiler, from his natural mother Jing Kelly. The infant son of a Chinese-American citizen has had absolutely no contact with his mother, nor with his maternal grandparents, in four years. And, if we are to accept the perjured testimony of Hiler’s brother Douglas Kelly, at least three of those four years of false imprisonment have been spent 3,000 miles away in California with a family who have no legal standing whatsoever to be detaining and withholding him from care, love, and contact with his natural mother.
Anyone in the courtroom who possessed a law degree, and who was not a party to the horrific conspiracy, or an incompetent agency-based attorney, directly dependent upon Schechter for assignment and income, must have immediately recognized the patently unlawful, immoral, and downright sick conspiracy between Gail Kelly Hiler, her brother Douglas, and their attorney Mr. Schiff, together with attorneys for ACS, and the Court-appointed law guardian, that has continued to wreak havoc and irreparable harm in the lives of Jing and Tristram Kelly.
With, or without, a law degree, it should be obvious to any reasonable and intelligent observer, after all that this Judge has put this innocent mother and child through, at the behest of a vengeful and vindictive woman, Gail Hiler, that the Judicial System, even the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, is powerless through the usual process, to bring about fundamental fairness and justice, and most importantly that which the Appellate Court deemed “in the best interest of the child.”
Therefore, The Westchester Guardian now calls upon you, our thoughtful readers to make your feelings known, not only to Judge Sara P. Schechter, but also to those judges, above her, who have instructed her to bring
Jing and Tristram together. It is apparent to us that only such ultra viral community action, and expression will bring about a prompt reunion between this loving mother and child, and put down the evil conspiracy set
in motion, four years ago by Jeanine Pirro and Gail Hiler.
The addresses and telephone numbers of Judge Schechter and her superiors are presented here for your convenience. Please, avail yourselves and forward a copy of your communication with them to us at either our
e-mail or fax site as listed in our masthead on Page Two. Thank you for caring enough to add your voice to ours in this noble and compassionate cause.
Let’s bring little Tristram home for Christmas!
Hon. Sara P. Schechter
New York City Family Court, New York County
60 Lafayette Street, Rm. 10a1, New York, NY 10013-4048
(212) 374-2580 (Fax)
Hon. John T. Buckley, Presiding Justice
New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department
27 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10010