And now a technical legal point. Sometimes these technical legal points are important. To courts and lawyers, anyway.
A guilty plea does not generate all by itself what we lawyers call a “judgment”. The “judgment of conviction” is not entered until the sentencing. There was no judgment of conviction in Sephora’s case in Livingston County Court until January 3rd, 2007.
So even though a guilty plea had been entered on October 20, 2006 the proceeding in the Appellate Division to put a stop to all this went on.
I brought another motion for summary disposition in the Appellate Division on November 17th, 2006 and we were scheduled to go argue the matter on November 24th. Of course the main features of this motion were the statements of Ashley Baker and Todd Gaddy, showing that the entire prosecution of Sephora Davis was a law enforcement sponsored frame up job. No evidence was offered in opposition. The opposing papers from Moran’s attorneys were purely rhetorical and formal. The frame up job was, in legal terms, conceded. None of the facts being contested, there was nothing to talk about other than “law” and “procedure”.
We had oral argument in the Appellate Division on November 24th and Judge Nancy Smith was clearly the “hot judge” on the four judge panel, meaning that she was the one who knew the most about this particular case on the calendar that day.
All she talked about was Sephora’s guilty plea, and how that gave the court a “real problem, procedurally.”
There was no procedural problem. You grant prohibition, the prosecution is stopped, everyone goes home. What was the problem? What was the alternative? We’re going to let police and prosecutors rape a girl and then frame her for something she didn’t do and send her to prison on an Alford plea because that’s easier?
The question I wanted to ask Judge Smith, and more or less did ask albeit more politely and formally was: “Are you out of your fucking mind?”
Judge Hurlbutt expressed misgivings about the plea deadline fiasco. But it didn’t bother him enough to really think about it or do anything about it.
In the end, the Appellate Division punted in the most disgraceful and truly disgusting display of judicial diffidence and cowardice I had yet seen:
Notice how the legally conceded facts about perjury are misrepresented. Notice how the little rape episode isn’t even mentioned.