Niagara Gazette

Crime

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
Crime
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
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