On May 5, 2014, I reported that the Brooklyn DA was planning to give a no-jail plea deal to Jerry (Yechiel) Brauner. The advance publicity about his notoriety managed to abort the deal. At his next court appearance on Thursday, May 22nd Judge Jane C. Tully ordered a psychiatric exam and scheduled his next appearance for Thursday, July 17. Ordinarily, defense attorneys move for the exam in the hope that the defendant will be able to delay or avoid trial with the claim that they are not mentally competent to participate in their defense. This is totally separate from the “insanity defense” which can only be raised at trial but almost never succeeds. These psychiatric attempts to avoid trial also usually fail. The exam will be conducted by individuals controlled by the government.
Some people think that such a brazen, incessant groper has to be nuts. But maybe he is quite rational in thinking that he can escape the consequences. For example, several people have alleged that he groped their genitals during synagogue services while they were holding a Torah scroll. While this is a particularly offensive sacrilege, the situation works to Brauner’s advantage. The victim cannot respond because Jews take special care to securely hold onto a Torah scroll. If one is dropped, communities decree a 40-day dawn-to-dusk fast. Even disrupting the service to verbally chastise Brauner would be very awkward and a violation of an especially sacred portion of the service. Jerry ain’t nuts. He is content to be known as a groper and he picks his moments well.
The Brooklyn DA should be gunning for the max with Brauner. It would help to protect the public and there is no political downside.
This is one prosecution that Hasidic Brooklyn will appreciate. On the other hand, a sweetheart plea deal will convince those willing to file complaints that it is not worth the effort.