Why is the Brooklyn DA Delaying Court Appearances of Hasidic Molesters?

Charles Hynes photo by Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2012

Charles Hynes photo by Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2012

The Democratic primary for Brooklyn District Attorney is on September 10th.

Two of the more notorious alleged Hasidic child molesters are Baruch Mordechai Lebovits and Yoel Malik. Malik is next scheduled to appear in court on September 10th and Lebovits who was convicted and won a retrial on appeal is due in court on September 12th.

Meilech Schnitzler tried to blind Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg by throwing a large cup bleach at his face on the day Nechemya Weberman was convicted. Meilech is scheduled for his next appearance on September 9th.

Thinking observers have to wonder about this cluster of court dates just around the September 10th Democratic primary which will determine who becomes the next DA (because Democrats almost always win countywide elections in Brooklyn).

Some folks think the DA wants to give them a sweetheart deal similar to the deal given to Menachem Deutsch. If so he can satisfy his Hasidic money and vote bundlers while avoiding the glare of bad publicity that would hurt him with other voters. Others are more charitable and think he intends to throw the book at them and just want to lull the Hasidic community into thinking he is their guy in spite of his vigorous prosecution of Nechemya Weberman.

A lot of seasoned courthouse observers note that clients of the Hynes’ buddy, Arthur Aidala, such as Lebovits and Deutsch seem to do very well with the DA.

Either way, it is not right for a DA to let his political calendar dictate his prosecution schedule.

To check court dates go to NYS WebCrims.

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6 thoughts on “Why is the Brooklyn DA Delaying Court Appearances of Hasidic Molesters?

  1. Absolutely. In light of these big upcoming events. I would think it would be only hospitable to post them on any given advertisment site so that Boro residents & voters know what’s in the know. Mr. Hynes should be given the crown of thorns to wear along with his lists of has done, doing, & gonna do, unless he is stopped. The molesters should be given great honor as they are his “marters”. Mr. Hynes doesn’t give a snitch about these yoyo’s, with the exception of they allow him to live a Royal lifestyle.

  2. It does look like the intention was to get these cases disposed of as quickly as possible — after the election. But apart from the schedule-warping effect of the threat of pre-primary publicity, is someone keeping track of the delays in these cases? Is there a pattern? You noted that Deutsch was out on bail for nearly two years until he got a good plea deal on the eve of trial. How does that compare with other cases in which the defendant has private counsel — in other words, where delay can’t be blamed on the public defender’s caseload?

    It should be obvious that evidence does not improve with age. Witnesses’ memories become less clear, their testimony more easily brought into question on cross-examination. Witnesses may move or even die, pressure can be exerted on witnesses in various ways, and witnesses get tired of showing up and learning that the case has been postponed. As long as the defendant is out on bail, delay is fine with him, and his lawyer earns a little extra for showing up for each continuance.

    Normally, prosecutors don’t like delays; defendants do. (Even defendants who aren’t out on bail may welcome delay, if the evidence against them is strong. They will get credit for time served in jail in any case, and if the case against them weakens, the prosecutor may offer them a better deal.) Someone ought to look at this, because a big disparity in the treatment of cases against Chassidim, or Chassidim represented by certain select attorneys, could be damning evidence easily explained to voters.

    • Kevin In Chicago,

      I agree with almost everything you say. However, almost all hasidic defendants have private lawyers. If cases go to trial they usually have enough resources for the strongest defense possible including hiring of specialty jury selection firms. Kolko in Lakewood even had pledges lined up for his appeal.

      Yes someone should construct a full database. Nuchem Rosenberg periodically puts up list of pending cases. He an his colleagues find out about cases by trolling the courthous and looking for conspicuously orthodox gentlemen at arraignments. To be really systematic we would need the list the DA keeps, which I hear he might release because of media pressure, of cases handled by Kol Tzedek (sic).

      The frum community has its sources to immediately inform them when one of their own gets arrested. Most of them know to keep quiet until the community sends them a lawyer to get them bailed at arraignment. They know to make special kosher food requests which help get the community informed. The only important exception was Samuel Kellner. When he was arrested in full view of the community, a worker in the largest charity (aka fixing machine) in Williamsburg asked if he should get on the phone to provide the usual assistance .He was told “No, at least now we will have some relief from all the arrests of molesters.” While most defendants get bail put up through general collections, he was only able to make bail because his brother-in-law put up his house.

      The ultra orthodox may reject secular education for careers in law and medicine but they are expert consumers of those professional skills. There are a number of Rebbes who give expert advice about which doctors to use for complex medical conditions or critical surgeries. The Munkatcher Rebbe is the maven on deciding on which lawyer to use. He is known as a pidyon shvuyim rebbe. He spends a lot of time knowing the local courthouse scene and talking to top- flight lawyers including Alan Dershowitz.

      One other qualifier to your observations. Because almost all hasidic defendants are out on bail their cases will be delayed. In NYS courts, 2+ years to trial is standard. Usually that means that even if a witness cannot be pressured to drop the charges, they are more inclined to sign on to measly plea bargains.

      Prosecutors and judges understandably expect defendants without bail to get to trial ahead of those out on bail.

      I have pitched a fast-track for trials of alleged perpetrators to Abe George, who is running against Hynes in the primary and has attacked him for coddling hasidic offenders. I emphasized not basing it on religion or ethnicity but on witness vulnerability to intimidation both to reduce their susceptibility and the toll of putting up with the harassment. He rejected it out of hand as unpractical. Somewhere on FB you can find a back and forth between me and him about this.

      • “SPECIALTY JURY SELECTION FIRMS” ???????? REALLY?????
        naive me, I thought the lawyers of the two sides accept or exclude prospective jurors???? with some limit as to how many they can reject????
        is that just in the movies???? How does that work???

  3. Thanks — if two years is roughly the norm, then it isn’t significant, and of course those unable to make bail should come first. I love the quote from the guy denying assistance to Samuel Kellner, “No, at least now we will have some relief from all the arrests of molesters” — who, unlike Kellner, get special treatment from the “community.” I commented either here or elsewhere that Mr. Kellner’s case was reminiscent of the “justice” of Sedom recounted in the Gemara.

  4. GAON, it’s not what you seem to think it is — it’s legal. The law says how juries are to be selected, and as you say, each side may challenge any prospective juror “for cause,” that is, give a reason why that person might be prejudiced. Additionally, each side has a fixed number of “peremptory challenges” for which no reason has to be given (although the hidden reason is not supposed to be race, religion or sex). The role of what YL calls “jury selection firms” is to analyze prospective jurors and advise which jurors should be challenged and which accepted in order to give a party — the firm’s employer — the most favorable jury possible out of the available pool.

    These firms have, or claim to have, the expertise marketing firms have — they claim to judge from a prospective juror’s age, sex, occupation, address, etc., what values and prejudices he or she is likely to have. They also may employ psychologists who look carefully at prospective jurors’ manner of dress, demeanor and facial expressions as they are questioned to fine-tune those conclusions. It is legitimate, but because it is expensive, is usually employed in big-ticket civil cases or criminal cases with wealthy defendants. No way does the ordinary criminal defendant get that kind of help, which was YL’s point.

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