Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 17, 2014

COPS NOTEBOOK: Ranting about the silence

It’s one of those weeks when it’s time to rant.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seems like a nice enough guy. Affable, funny, smart, a good lawyer and a pretty savvy politician. 

He certainly doesn’t come across as the kind of control freak that his two immediate predecessors, Andrew Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer, were. However, first and surface impressions can be deceiving.

Schneiderman, like Cuomo and Spitzer, champions himself as “the people’s lawyer.” The guy who is out there really looking out for you and your best interests.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d expect “my lawyer” to be pretty open and honest with me about how he’s handling my business, my cases. Sadly, the New York State Attorney General’s Office is a fortress of secrecy and silence.

Case in point, the public corruption indictment of Town of Niagara Supervisor Steve Richards. 

Richards was arraigned on a 28-count indictment in October in front of State Supreme Court Justice Richard C Kloch Sr. 

Kloch, who sits in Lockport, is no rookie on the bench. He has been the supervising judge for the criminal courts in this judicial district for years. 

At the time of the arraignment, Richards’ lawyer questioned the legal validity of many of the counts in the indictment. In fact, you didn’t have to be even a third-year law school student to see what a sloppily drafted document it was.

Kloch agreed with Richards’ lawyer that there were issues that might need to be addressed and scheduled hearings for those matters. Just days before those matters were scheduled to be argued, Kloch took himself off the case.

The legal term is he “recused” himself.

Recusal is something that happens when a judge, for some reason, believes there may be a conflict of interest in his hearing a case or if he believes he can’t be an impartial arbiter of the facts. It can also happen if a party in a case raises those objections about the judge.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: The Bills stadium and the proverbs We are what we are because of the way that we think, and we got the nothingness that have as a result of it.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Say it ain't so, Joe I had just parked my car in front of the Gazette offices on Niagara Street last week Thursday when a man approached me and stood by my door.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Tom T mug TOM'S CORNER: Bringing your own parts to repair shop is a bad idea The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Tourism operators ready for new season Niagara area hospitality industry people will mark National Tourism Week, May 3 to May 11, with special events focusing on the assets that shape the Cataract City as a major destination.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Neither long ago, nor far away ... If you did not catch documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' latest masterpiece, "The Address" on PBS last night, it will be well worth your time to look for the re-run, or to find it online as soon as possible.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: Gothic architecture -- a fitting structure for church services Before we get involved in the new church building, we need to know what happened to the former structure on First Street which was utilized for St. Peter's Church services for 30 years until 1880 when the present stone church was ready for use.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • GLYNN: Local interest mounts in India's big election A number of people whose families have emigrated from India to the U.S. -- a solid sector of the hotel and restaurant business in the Niagara area -- are expected to hear a message today directly from the homeland.

    April 13, 2014

  • SINGER: Locating the next Shaq or Bird? With hallowed college hoops programs thriving around here, plus March NCAA games held in Buffalo (featuring champ-to-be UConn, upstart Dayton and a winnowed 'Cuse), will some new Shaq or Bird be located?

    April 13, 2014

  • Rick Pfeiffer COPS NOTEBOOK: Road rage and turkey shooting

    It would be fair to say Ryan Jackson, of Youngstown, has had a difficult couple of weeks.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page