Tuesday, May 25, 2010

News That Matters - "Do you think this is appropriate?" - Special Report

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Good Tuesday Morning,

This is the first of two special reports from News That Matters that will come to you today.

"Do you think this is appropriate?" yelled enraged Carmel Town judge Joseph Spofford from the bench, neck muscles bulging, eyes glaring and face reddened with indignation...

Well, yes
. I thought my comment made to a woman sitting next to me, "Justice, Putnam Style", was gospel-good appropriate for the shenanigans in Carmel Town court last evening and had I packed an overnight bag I would have laid it out for him as clear as day. But he knows all too well the political bullshit played out before more than two dozen witnesses with some traveling clear across the county to bear witness to what happens to a resident who legally defends her property against Putnam's political establishment and their darlings; Paul Camarda, Pulte Homes, Brennan Construction and their attendant handmaidens.

Justice, Putnam Style.

Francis O'Reilly, Lori Kemp's court appointed attorney, admitted to the judge that he hadn't returned Ms. Kemp's calls nor acted on her behalf because he was too busy or something, quit the case right there before god and everyone. You see, Southeast's Jay Hogan, acting as the ADA, had just asked the court to send Ms. Kemp to jail for 15 days and serve her with an order of protection that would be in effect for two years. We're assuming she must not attack backhoes, bulldozers and blasting caps. This was apparently too much for the lawyer who can write such glowing letters to the NYJN blogs about Senator Leibell that you need to wear welder's goggles just to read them.

After O'Reilly bailed out there was a brief discussion that went something like this:
Lori: This has been going on for almost a year.
Spofford: There are documents that have to be filed.
L: I kept calling my attorney [O'Reilly] telling him to file them but he never called me back.
S: There are documents and a process that is available to everyone here!
L: They would have been filed if my attorney...

.... and on and on.
At first the judge set a trial date for June when Lori said she would defend herself just to get this over with already but he suggested that since Adam Levy's office was demanding jail time that she have an attorney. She asked if she could have Kent's Maureen Fleming appointed and he agreed. It was tentative there for a moment as Ms. Kemp vacillated between a June trial and one for later in the summer but in the end, with urging from those who filled the room to support her, she finally agreed.

In the meantime, Francis O'Reilly (who is probably going to sue my ass) was sitting in the corner with a smirk on his face that told those assembled volumes about the power of the Political Establishment in this county and how it reaches its ugly hand into the very courtrooms where justice is supposed to be blind and impartial. Either that, or the shit-eating grin he was wearing was for some private joke he had going on inside his head. Or he had gas. It's hard to say.

Justice, Putnam Style.

On the way out I asked Francis if he would like to come out into the hallway and talk to us but he declined. I asked him a second time, and then a third, a little more forcefully. But having a backbone constructed of freshly steamed rice noodles not only did he decline but was escorted through Lori's paparazzi and out of the building - by a bodyguard - as if we were a threat to his physical safety. But his well-deserved paranoia spooked him and thus we all must have looked dangerous and scary and threatening. Had he done his job and been attentive to the case he was appointed to he not only would not have been afraid to talk with us but would have been glad to do so. His rejection of our entreaties and the smirk he wore while sitting amongst his lawyerly friends said it all: "Justice, Putnam Style."

I had a brief moment to talk with Jay Hogan as he was leaving the building and asked if he had received the letters we had sent to Adam Levy's office. He said he had but that they were written by people 'who were not there' at the scene of the alleged crime and that he would not drop the charge because there was a "victim". I said that there was no victim, that the police had filed the charges in place of an actual, real victim, but my objections fell on deaf ears and though my sources tell me Mr. Hogan is a fine man he's still a prosecutor and his job is to persecute prosecute.

After being thrown out of the lobby en mass for making too much noise, we gathered outside the courthouse to discuss strategy and plan actions for the summer before Ms. Kemp goes to court on August 2nd at 10AM to have this scene replayed again. And again.

To those of you who came out last evening to witness the ongoing debacle of what passes for justice in Pumpkin Putnam County, I salute you. Yes, it was all supposed to end last evening and in a normal place it would have - for good or ill. But for those of us who have been around for a while we know this is the game they play here - they wear you down slowly over time until they break you. Until you've lost your health and your property and your mind, leaving you with nothing but nightmares and they do it all on the taxpayers dime.

JR asked last evening what this has cost the taxpayers so far. Add together court and police time, the salary and billable hours of the public (mis)defender and the costs incurred by Adam Levy's office and I'm willing to bet it's starting to look pretty expensive. That's an interesting question and we might just have to start filing the FOIL requests to find out what it costs to persecute an innocent resident, Justice, Putnam Style.

Next Up: Corporate Welfare, Putnam Style.

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