Friday, March 21, 2008

Silly Ruling By Federal Judge

See bizarre analysis and conclusion by Kravitz.
The prosecutor would not have been standing in front of the judge if he were not a prosecutor. Also, were he to visit the defendant in a jail cell, he might not have marshals there to hold the defendant's arms back.
Bottom Line: If It's OK for prosecutors to beat up a killer, then it's OK for them to beat up your grandmother ....

Killer loses suit against prosecutor,0,3740427.story
By John Nickerson
Stamford Advocate
Staff Writer

March 21, 2008

NORWALK - Convicted murderer Anthony Rogers lost his federal civil rights lawsuit against prosecutor Michael DeJoseph, who punched Rogers twice during a 2005 courtroom fracas.

The July 2006 case, filed more than a year after the incident at state Superior Court in Norwalk, was closed earlier this week after U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz ruled in DeJoseph's favor. The judgment was entered yesterday.

The suit alleged that DeJoseph used his position as an assistant state's attorney to deprive Rogers of his rights. It also claimed assault and battery by DeJoseph.

Kravitz declined ruling on the assault and battery charge, leaving Rogers free to file that case in state court.

"I'm glad to finally have this behind me," DeJoseph said, reached yesterday at state Superior Court in Norwalk,

Rogers' attorney, John Williams, said yesterday he has not talked to his client and they have not decided whether to pursue the assault and battery charge in state court.

DeJoseph was represented by state Assistant Attorney General Matthew Beizer.

Rogers was convicted in January for the April 2005 South Norwalk shooting death of Jamie Cubillos Mendivelso.

During a May 27, 2005, appearance before Judge William Hickey at the Norwalk courthouse, Rogers became agitated and swore at the judge.

Hickey immediately gave Rogers a 30-day contempt of court sentence.

What happened next is a matter of dispute, Kravitz wrote in his ruling.

Rogers later said he thought that he might as well "earn" the 30 days,and picked up a metal bucket containing court files and threw it to the floor.

He said several judicial marshals then grabbed him and began walking back to the lockup area when DeJoseph hit him in the face and then punched him again while he was restrained by marshals.

DeJoseph said Rogers appeared to throw the metal file bucket at Hickey, before he hit Rogers. He was then forced to hit Rogers again when the defendant began to attack him, DeJoseph said.

In his affidavit, Hickey said Rogers picked up the bucket and "threw the bucket at me. I was shocked at the conduct of Mr. Rogers. In all my years on the bench, I have never witnessed conduct of this nature."

Kravitz's ruling said DeJoseph's presence in the courtroom did not mean that he was acting in his official capacity when he struck Rogers.

"Had Mr. DeJoseph used his authority as a state prosecutor in order to commit an assault, such as by using his position to gain entry to a court lockup so that he might attack a detainee, the court's analysis would be different," the judge wrote.

Rogers, who could be sentenced to a maximum 105 years in prison when he returns to court in April for sentencing on his murder conviction, is now awaiting trial for the 2004 South Norwalk murder of Ricky Lee Blakes.

During Rogers' January murder trial, the man Rogers shared a cell with during the 30-day contempt sentence testified that Rogers told him he wanted to kill DeJoseph.

Prosecution witness Barry Bersek said Rogers told him that he even learned DeJoseph's jogging routes through Norwalk.


Cool Justice
A Tale Of Two (Or More) Bastards
Law Tribune Newspapers
June 13, 2005

Norwalk Superior Court is not only a mismanaged nut house, it’s also the best show in Connecticut. Where else can you see body slams, airborne metal objects, driverless cars crashing through the front door, bitter rivalries and broken relationships played out in open court: sometimes before a trial judge who – in an impressive Curly Howard imitation—remarks, “A wise guy,eh?”

The tricky part can be figuring out what just happened – even if you are a witness. That’s one reason state police seized the tape of proceedings after a melee on May 27 involving prosecutor Michael DeJoseph and an angry defendant. You see, sometimes the transcript of what transpired can changeover time. In this particular case, eyewitness reports have changed in statements filed with state police and the Judicial Department.

A prior matter provides a window into how official records evolve. In that case, on May 4, prosecutor Robert Hall crossed swords – verbally – with ex-prosecutor Michael Colombo.

The climactic exchange went as follows: “You’re two faced bastard your comments are inappropriate counsel,” Hall asserted, whereupon Judge William Hickey called a recess and fined Hall $92. A subsequent version of the transcript eliminates Hall’s “bastard” comment, which was witnessed by a number of lawyers and others. This is significant, in that it illustrates how supposed “transcripts”can subsequently recount events differently from what actually transpired.It also provides some uncertainty relating to the brawl on May 27 in which DeJoseph punched defendant Anthony Rogers twice, the second blow resulting in Rogers spitting up blood. There were few eyewitnesses in the court. Colombo says he was one of them.

The key question is: Did DeJoseph punch Rogers before or after he was restrained? Accounts are changing. And, as we’ve seen, it’s possible transcripts are, too.

Another courthouse regular, familiar with DeJoseph’s version of events,told me: “The defendant tossed a metal file container toward the judge. Mike [DeJoseph] hit him. The kid [defendant Rogers] grabbed Mike. Mike grabbed the kid. The marshal grabbed his [Rogers’] arms trying to cuff him. He was a long way from being restrained.”

Thus, the reasonable force issue comes into play as Rogers and others claim DeJoseph punched him twice in the face while marshals held his arms back. Rogers had been complaining to Judge Hickey after DeJoseph derided him for not having a lawyer. Rogers wanted more time to earn money to pay for a lawyer.

“I’m telling you, we’ll put you in jail,” Hickey said, provoking Rogers.

“I’ll go do some time. I’m not giving nobody else no money to represent me for you to put me in jail anyway,” Rogers retorted.

“Hey, listen. Do me a favor, shut-up,” the judge said.

Rogers did not appreciate this. He told the judge, “I don’t need no shit.” The judge held him in contempt. At some point Rogers tossed the file container toward Hickey.

“Thirty days, thirty days,” Hickey said. “Wise guy. Wise guy.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Kravitz would have ruled had Rogers simply made unkind remarks about Judge Hickey on in a blog posting.

Still, it seems like Rogers did a lot to deprive himself of his rights by menacing a judge and cursing in open court.

Was the prosecutor justified in punching the man? I don't know because I wasn't there.