Thursday

I don't know how they do it...

A rare personal reminiscence:

I was in court today—on a case in which a cop named KEVIN ROGHNEEN broke my client’s arm in three places. She’s in her 40’s, a cancer survivor and never had so much as a traffic ticket. The pictures of her injuries are ghastly—the cop caused permanent nerve damage.

I’ve filed a number of motions in the case, (I’m representing her because many years ago she worked in our office. She’s a lovely woman and I promised to help her—I’m trying), most recently a motion to dismiss in the interests of justice.

It was denied today by Judge Ralph Fabrizio. Who makes me want to….

I’ll spare you the tirade about him but he’s insufferable. I’m fairly certain that he never even read the lengthy pleading I filed. Nor, I think, did he even look at the photos I attached, or the medical records or the letters from the community.

It’s funny—the last time the case was on Judge Ethan Greenberg urged me to file the motion. Knowing a bit about the case he called it an obvious Clayton dismissal. I told him that Judge Fabrizio would never do it but he urged me to file it anyway (which, with some effort, I did).

I was right, Fabrizio couldn’t have cared less. But here’s what got me: he denied the motion because she filed a lawsuit against the city.

I kid you not—he said (and I have the minutes and am quoting)

“I think the fact that there is a ten million dollar lawsuit really means that the court should not be dismissing this criminal case”

Nice huh? The judge bases his decision not on the merits but on an attempt to protect the city from deserved liability.

15 comments:

Litigator said...

This is an unbelievable situation. First of all, I can't believe that the judge actually put that statement into the record. Secondly... Who filed the $10M lawsuit? Could that have been filed after the criminal case?

Anonymous said...

Imagine the trouble you would be in if I were the Judge's clerk.

Anonymous said...

Made. For. Appeal. Movie.

Anonymous said...

The point the judge was probably trying to make (though his words weren't the best choice) was that dismissing the criminal charges against the woman may prejudice the civil suit (they'd make the argument, "see this innocent woman who was not charged with anything was abused.")

and $10 million for a broken arm? Give me a fucking break. Pay her bills, give her a little "I'm sorry" money and tell her to STOP BREAKING THE LAW.

Anonymous said...

Gosh,
The only problem with your theory is that it's not going to be admissible in the civil trial. And I think the entire point was she wasn't breaking the law--they were breaking her arm, and the arrest was to cover their asses. No one is actually going to award 10 million dollars, but a little I'm sorry money? The post indicated that they caused permanent nerve damage. Somehow I don't think you'd be singing the same song if you lost the feeling in your arm...

Richard said...

You are a fucking moron to actually post this, including names. I blog minimally about work, pretty much in vague terms, occasionally posting a story, leaving out the names, and I just run a damn restaurant.

Indefensible said...

Why Richard, exactly?

I have an official transcript of what the judge said in open court in a public proceeding. I have a sworn complaint by a cop--also in the public domain. There is nothing there of a confidential nature concerning my client. So other than being afraid to piss off a judge who (as you can see from the ruling) is awful, why am I, as you so eloquently put it, a 'fucking moron'?

The Ghosts of Blogs Past said...

Richard, before you start calling people a "fucking moron" you ought to a. study up on your civics, b. know what the hell you're talking about. Records of judicial proceedings such as transcripts are public records, available to anyone who's interested. The law is not the same as the restaurant business. Can you say, "public v. private?" That's what all that "Freedom of Information Act" is about -- getting public records as a taxpaying citizen. The NYT or other media source easily could have been at David's hearing to report what took place.

One more time; Judges are not the same as assistant managers or waiters. They are public servants. Their actions are a matter of public interest. -- L

Choke-n-Puke said...

Isn't it time that we stop fooling ourselves about this decaying society? This judge is just a another spineless loser that somehow wound up as a judge. This society is filled with all kinds of otherwise disqualified people who surpass their ordinary limitations and con their way into positions of power over our veggie electorate. Just look at the 546 on-the-take losers that tell the rest of this almost 300 million member society what do. Americas blows so badly now that we can't even take our country back from the losers who stole it from us. This joke for a judge will never have to pay for any mistakes because lawyers take care of lawyers and everyone protects and covers each other's asses and that's why America just plain sucks anymore. Excuse me, I need to go barf.

{546 LOSERS=President, Vice President[he really does call ALL of the shots-don't even kid yourself], 100 members of the Senate, 435 members of the House of Representatives, and lastly, 9 members of the US Supreme Court}

Anonymous said...

Are you just jealous that you were not popular enough to be elected or appointed to anything? Jesus christ man, have some respect for yourself and go to law school like the real people do!

Anonymous said...

Hear hear. Good for you for telling it like it is about a bad judge. (I once was in the room when a federal judge in one of the perhaps 10 busiest and most important districts in the country slept on the bench.)

Indefensible said...

UPDATE:

The client was acquitted at trial in about 30 seconds. The irony is, that had the judge granted the motion, my client might have been barred from pursuing a malicious prosecution case, but having been acquitted...watch out.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the judge didn't want some slip and fall lawyer arguing to a civil jury that the granting of a Clayton motion was a reflection on the merits of the case. I have appeared before him myself and I don't think he deserves your screed just because you lost the motion.

Indefensible said...

No Anon,
He deserves the screed because he was attempting to protect the city from liability instead of doing his job. And as to your slip and fall suggestion, 1. she'd already filed the suit, 2. Judges are perfectly capable of curtailing that argument should they have believed it appropriate to do so, and 3. the beautiful irony is, had he had some spine and dismissed the case there wouldn't be a valuable malicious prosecution claim which there now is.

Anonymous said...

Was your original Clayton motion based on her actual innocence? If not, then the granting of the motion would have been worse for you: If charges are dismissed out of mercy, since mercy presupposes the guilt of the accused, you don't have a favorable termination of the criminal case. At least the Court of Appeals says so. So granting your motion would have foreclosed an action against the city. Malicious prosecution is a tougher way to go for you......