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We, the family and friends of innocent police officers and civilians who have been maliciously prosecuted and imprisioned by Jeanine Pirro, believe it is our moral obligation and responsibility to keep her from doing to the justice system and the Courts of New York State what she has done in Westchester County, New York. WE ARE DETERMINED TO STOPIRRO!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

ONE WHO WOULD ENFORCE THE LAW MUST LIVE BY IT

Angela Montefinise’s piece in THE NEW YORK POST on Sunday, March 5, 2006 regarding Kerry Bartow, brings nothing of value to the discussion of Depraved Indifference Murder. The article, clearly intended to raise public ire over the fact that a man, apparently responsible for the violent death of his wife at the hands of his girlfriend’s brother, not only has had his conviction overturned but also, now seeks to get her money. It happens that the crime with which he was mischarged, and convicted, was Depraved Indifference Murder. However, his conviction was not thrown out because of “a new interpretation,” as Montefinise asserted.

For some 39 years since the introduction of the Depraved Mind Murder Statute to the New York State Penal Code in 1967, prosecutors throughout the state in homicide prosecutions, either unable, or unwilling to produce sufficient evidence to convince a jury that a defendant was, in fact, guilty of Intentional Second Degree Murder, had used the very limited Depraved Indifference Murder Statute as a kind of ‘backstop’ or ‘safety-net’ to ensure a “conviction by compromise.” It became the Prosecutor’s gimmick, a wide-spread form of prosecutorial misconduct by which an accused could be convicted of a crime for which no evidence was presented, as Federal District Judge Charles Brieant has found, a violation of Constitutional proportions.

To be sure, some District Attorneys abused the statute more than others. For prosecutors such as Jeanine Pirro inclusion of the Depraved Alternative, in prosecutions for Intentional Murder became almost automatic, to the point where the notion of depravity, as intended by the Legislature, was completely distorted and made applicable to every fact pattern. Stubborn, “and above the law” as she perceives herself, Pirro continued the practice for many months following both the GONZALEZ and PAYNE decisions, until taken to task in the press.

Reporter Montefinise speaks of “11 convicted murderers who have been set free or had sentences reduced in the PEOPLE v PAYNE fallout.” She quotes City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. who refers to those cases as “the tip of a deadly iceberg” and who is calling upon the State Legislature for a clarification of Depraved Indifference Murder. Unfortunately, both Montefinise and Vellone fail to understand that the Court of Appeals has already preformed that function, as indeed they should have more than 30 years ago when it was first becoming apparent that prosecutors were abusing and distorting the Legislature’s intent. Put quite simply the notion of depravity is clearly wedded to the indifference of the perpetrator as to whether or not someone might die as the result of his action, as well as to just who that victim might be. Such a mind-set runs completely opposite to the “mens rea” (state of mind) necessary for conviction of Intentional Murder.

If the high court is to be faulted for anything it is for allowing four decades of such prosecutorial antics to result in literally hundreds of wrongful; and unconstitutional convictions and imprisonments, many of them involving innocent individuals such as Police Officer Richard D. DiGuglielmo who not only was acquitted of Intentional Murder, but also, of any form of Assault as well, for having saved his father’s life from a bat wielding assailant, and who is in his 10th year of a 20 Year to Life sentence for Depraved Indifference Murder.

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