Sentencing delayed for Greenburgh feces thrower

showimg.aspConvicted sex offender and (you read that right) feces thrower Eugene Feeney got a bit of a break today, as a judge postponed sentencing him for a brutal attack on his ex-girlfriend earlier this year.

Feeney, a 40-year-old Sleepy Hollow resident, was convicted at trial of raping, robbing and assaulting the woman when she broke up with him. He also was convicted of resisting arrest and obstruction for his excrement-spattered tirade when Greenburgh police arrested him.

Feeney’s lawyer, Ron Stokes, filed papers to set aside the verdict based on new evidence he found following the trial. He said a credit card receipt was discovered that he says contradicts testimony the woman gave at trial. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary gave prosecutors a few weeks to look over Stokes’ motion and file a response, and told both sides to be back in court on Jan. 6.

Prosecutors said when Feeney’s girlfriend tried to end their relationship inside her Armonk apartment on Jan. 10, he restrained and raped her. Two days later, while he was inside the apartment to retrieve his belongings, he stole a diamond ring. The next day, when the victim realized the theft and got into contact with Feeney, they agreed to meet in a public place where he was to return the ring, but Feeney demanded money instead. Another argument ensued and he began assaulting her.

He then drove her to a Greenburgh ATM, where she withdrew money and threw it on the ground to distract him so she could flee. But he grabbed her and tried forcing her to withdraw more money, prompting an eyewitness to call Greenburgh police.

Feeney put up a struggle when he was taken into custody, including kicking the back of a police cruiser, and had to be subdued with Taser gun. He was taken to the emergency room at Westchester Medical Center for treatment. While there, Feeney defecated, and a small plastic bag containing marijuana emerged, police said. He then began kicking the feces at police and nurses.

Say it with me now … ewwwww!

If the credit card receipt isn’t enough to throw out the verdict, Feeney will be sentenced as a predicate felon. He was arrested in Greenburgh in 2004 and pleaded guilty in 2005 to a felony charge of criminal sexual act. He served three years in prison before being discharged in December 2008.

In this latest conviction, Feeney faces five to 25 years for the top charge but could get consecutive sentences.

Behind the scenes at the Arroyo trial

I had a chance this afternoon to talk to the forewoman of the jury that convicted retired NYPD detective Jose Arroyo of drugging and raping — but not kidnapping — a woman at a Greenburgh motel. Click here to read the web update.

The forewoman’s name is Linda Blake, and she’s a 49-year-old Greenburgh resident who works as an administrator for a computer company.  This was her first trial, as it was for several other jurors, who deliberated yesterday afternoon and this morning before reaching their split verdict.

She said deliberations were “very, very intense” and that the panel was split at first between Arroyo’s guilt and innocence. But while each juror had an opinion about Arroyo, the victim, and the truthfulness (or not) of several witnesses, she said the verdict was made solely on the evidence presented at the trial.

The jury spent almost as much time reviewing the evidence as they did deliberating it. As jury forewoman, Blake sent out several notes on behalf of the panel, asking for read-backs of part of the victim’s testimony, medical testimony about the timeline of drug impact and the definition of second-degree kidnapping. They also repeatedly watched parts of a security video from Doyle’s Pub in the Bronx, where Arroyo met the victim and, prosecutors alleged, spiked her drink.

Blake said the jury could not tell from the evidence if the woman was so impaired that she could not consent to leave with Arroyo. The uncertainty stemmed from medical tesimony about how long Ambien needs to take effect and a witness who said the victim walked across the street after leaving the bar with Arroyo.

But she said there was no doubt that the drug had taken effect by the time they reached the motel, and that she was unable to consent to the sex or to being posed and photographed nude.

“We used the evidence, our experience and our common sense,” she said.

Hip-hop artist, CEOs to “rap” at Pace Law School

UPDATE: The session is open only to Pace students and faculty. A promoter for Cash Money incorrectly told Completely Legal that the event was open to the public.

Pace Law School is opening up its entertainment law class Monday night as hip-hop artist Jay Sean and two record label CEOs will “rap” about the music business with Professor Vernon J. Brown’s class from 6 to 8 p.m.

The seminar, called “Where do I sign?” will study the relationship between entertainment lawyers and their clients.

Leading the lecture will be Ronald “Slim” Williams and brother Brian “Birdman” Williams, who founded the New Orleans-based hip-hop label Cash Money, and Jay Sean, one of their top artists.

“The goal is to give my entertainment law students practical knowledge in working with their clients and interacting with label executives,” Brown said in a news release. “What artists expect from their attorneys and what they should expect from their clients. The class is like Inside the Actor’s Studio for lawyers, offering practical advice for the way things actually work in the real world.”

Brown has been Cash Money’s business manager and attorney for 14 years.

According to the news release, from Wolfson Entertainment, the Williams brothers recently marked the 10th anniversary of a distribution deal with Universal Music Group, which has produced hit albums by Lil Wayne, Drake, Juvenile, B.G., Turk, Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh, Hot Boys and Baby/Birdman, two of Bryan Williams’ hip-hop alter egos. Jay Sean is the label’s latest success, with a chart-topping single in “Down” and his debut album, All or Nothing.

Murder conviction already overturned, federal judge orders man freed in drug case

A White Plains federal judge has ordered the release of a New York City man who had served 18 years for a murder conviction that was overturned last week.

Fernando Bermudez had a 27-month federal sentence waiting at the end of the 23-year state sentence he received for his conviction of second-degree murder in connection to a shooting near a Manhattan club in 1991.

But a state judge in Manhattan overturned the murder conviction last week, saying one witness lied and others were influenced into pointing the finger at Bermudez, now 40. Not only did the judge toss the conviction – he threw out the charges, saying Bermudez was innocent of the shooting.

Bermudez pleaded guilty in the drug case after he had been charged in the killing. The drug charges stemmed from an arrest by agents from the DEA’s Westchester County Task Force on Feb. 6, 1991, at the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas ordered Bermudez freed on bail until June, 30, 2010, to give his lawyers time to  try and convince the federal Bureau of Prisons that Bermudez has long since served the 27 months in prison as part of the 18 years he wrongly served.

Read the Associated Press account of  the Bermudez case here.

A trial so Blue

markblueThe third floor of the Westchester County Courthouse was lined with prospective jurors today for the upcoming trial of Mark Blue.

Blue, 45, is accused of repeatedly stabbing his girlfriend during a March 2008 argument in Mount Vernon, according to the DA’s office. Blue allegedly held the woman captive and watched as she nearly bled to death, the DA’s office claims.

Blue fled the state, but police found him months later in Portland, Ore. and brought him back. He is charged with attempted murder, assault and unlawful imprisonment.

Bharara addresses terrorist trial in NYC

During a news conference in White Plains today to announce the arrests of 37 people in connection with a Westchester County drug ring, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was asked about the decision by his bosses at the Justice Department and the White House to bring self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused terrorists to New York to stand trial in a civilian court.

“We’re honored and proud that the Attorney General is sending the case to the Southern District of New York and we’ve answered that call,” Bharara said. “And our job is to make the best criminal case that we can and that’s what we do best and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Judge to transexual: Your name is private

tjndc5-5b1arnpks9uu1yc0g40_layoutNow this is interesting … and possibly precedent setting.

Here in Westchester County, state Supreme Court Justice William J. Giacomo has allowed a 20-year-old transexual to keep his/her identity private by waiving the requirement that a change of name be published in the local newspaper. Giacomo ruled that publishing the transexual’s name might put him/her at risk for hate crimes. The Nov. 10 ruling seals the case files and identifies the transsexual only as E.P.L.

Click here to read more about this unusual story.

Photo: Justice William J. Giacomo, circa 1998

Biggest trial ever coming to NYC

It looks like the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and others accused of various roles in the plot, are going to be tried in federal court in Manhattan rather than before a military tribunal. Click here to read the latest on this development.

I can’t imagine the jury selection process for this — what New York City resident wasn’t affected by 9/11? How are prosecutors and the defense lawyers going to find fair and impartial jurors? And the security! That courthouse will be on lockdown. It’ll make the 2004 Republican National Convention, where you needed to flash a different badge every 20 feet, where guards snatched glass (potential shards!) makeup bottles from women and where small folding umbrellas were considered dangerous weapons (you still owe me a Totes, GOP), seem like the Wild Wild West. Reporters who want to cover this better get in line for the press passes now.

Innocence Project fundraiser tonight

There is a fundraiser in Manhattan tonight called “Indelible.” Part of the $75 admission fee  ($100 at the door) will be donated to The Innocence Project, whose lawyers take on wrongful conviction cases that can be exonerated through DNA tests.

The event, at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, will feature a performance of Philip Hamilton’s Voices featuring beat boxer Kenny Muhammad, a screening of director Randall Dottin’s award winning film, Lifted, and the premiere of the new trailer for a documentary called Indelible.

The documentary is the story of an African-American female geneticist who races to find a cure for a rare disease that killed her husband and now threatens the life of her teenage son. A majority of the proceeds of the event will go toward the film.

The fundraiser opens at 6:30 p.m. ay 2 West 64th St. (at Central Park West). For more information call (212) 242-4735.