So this guy is convicted of “intimidating a victim or witness in the third degree”. He wants to call a witness in his defense, and while she is waiting in the courthouse to testify, the prosecutor arranges to have her arrested.
Before she testifies. Ironic, don’t you think?
Not a problem, says the Appellate Division.
She never winds up testifying (surprise, surprise) so we don’t know what she would have said. Great. If you’re the government and you terrify some defense witness out of testifying at all, you win. If you’re a private individual doing the same thing – that is, even assuming this guy was guilty of intimidating a victim or witness in the third degree – you get charged and convicted after the government intimidates all your witnesses.
Nice incentives you put in place there, AD. Even the most mediocre intelligence at the police departments and prosecutor’s offices can figure out what to do now when the defense wants to present some pesky witness that might jeopardize a conviction.
The timing and circumstances of the arrest here yield an inference that is all but mandatory. That the AD can disingenuously dance around that with a truly laughable feigned ignorance tells you everything you need to know about how the system in working in New York at present.
And in a seemingly unrelated story, a police officer is accused of fabricating evidence, only this time it isn’t get the bad guy; it’s to collect $350 in a small claim against a neighbor. But it isn’t really unrelated.
Without getting into the merits of that case, the real question is: why wouldn’t a cop do whatever he felt like doing to vindicate his position? It’s only in the rarest of cases he word will ever be second guessed. The cop is just following his training.
And that comes down from the regional appellate court, setting the tone for the whole region. There could not be a clearer statement from the appellate court that witness intimidation, while a crime for everyone else, is a government prerogative.
This case will be little noted elsewhere, but CDL’s should be up in arms about it.