Judith Clark featured in Times magazine article

Convicted murderer Judith Clark is featured in a New York Times Magazine article this week. She’s on the cover, complete with then and now photos.
The article  written an old friend of hers  – investigative reporter Tom Robbins –  is a then and now, as well.

Robbins focuses on the former radical’s life in prison since 1983 and her relationship with her daughter, whom Clark left as an infant on Oct. 20, 1981, to take part in the robbery of a Brinks armored car in Rockland. The article discusses Clark’s positive work with her fellow inmates and her educational growth behind bars.

On Oct. 20, 1981, Brinks guard Peter Paige and two Nyack police officers – Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown – were murdered by a band of self-proclaimed revolutionaries. Brinks guard Joseph Trombino was seriously wounded. Nyack Officers Arthur Keenan and Brian Lennon were injured.
Clark is serving a 75 year to life prison for three murder convictions for a role as a getaway driver in the robbery.Paig was killed at the Nanuet Mall when gunman robbed $1.8 million. O’Grady and Brown were murdered at a roadblock leading onto the Thruway when gunmen burst out of a van driven by David Gilbert with Kathy Boudin as a passenger. Clark drove one of the get-away cars.

The families of those killed have opposed parole for the Brinks participants,  though Boudin was released despite their opposition in 2003 after serving 23 years.

Written by investigative reporter Tom Robbins, a friend who interviewed her several times inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, the article discusses her life as a revolutionary to her personal repentance.
Much of her personal redemption came through her relationship with her daughter, Harriet, who was brought to visit her mother in prison. Clark, according to the article, came to face the reality she not only left her daughter motherless, but the three men killed during the Brinks robbery left behind children who were now fatherless.
At one point, she breaks down after being told: “You can’t cry for yourself and Harriet and not see that the children of the men who were killed cried the same way for their fathers.”
Boudin also left her son with a babysitter to take part in the Brinks robbery. Boudin developed a relationship with her son Cheasa while at Bedford Hills.
Clark has lost federal appeals for a new trial. She argued her rights to fair trail were violated because the judge should not have allowed her to go without a lawyer and boycott the proceeding. At trial, Clark and her co-defendents, David Gilbert, a former Weather Underground radical who fathered a child with Boudin, and former Black Panther Kuwasi Balagoon, considered themselves political prisoners.
She gives a spin to her capture after crashing the getaway car into the wall on Broadway in Nyack near Helen Hayes’ “Pretty Penny.” South Nyack-Grand View Police Chief Alan Colsey, who had pursued the vehicle, said he saw Clark reach for a gun as Sam Brown was injured. Gilbert was asking Colsey for an ambulance. Clark said she re-injured a bad shoulder injury in the crash. They had a standoff with Colsey threatening to shoot them until more officers arrived to aid Colsey.
The article quotes O’Grady’s nephew, John Hanchar, now a Clarkstown cop, saying, “One thing about Judith Clark I will never forget was her smiling face as she was led out of the police station in Nyack into the back of that car.”

Upper Right Photos:

Waverly Brown and Edward O’Grady

David Gilbert sandwiched by Kathy Boudin and Judith Clark in Nyack on the night after their arrest

Rapist resentenced in Rockland court 10 years later

Anthony Blackman returned to criminal court in Rockland this afternoon.

The last time Blackman appeared before Justice William A. Kelly was Nov. 26, 2001, when Kelly sentenced him to 25 years in prison for raping and sodomizing a 75-year-old woman. The prosecution wanted 50 years.

Blackman was never given post release supervision as part of the original sentence.

Many others convicted of crimes also were not given post release supervision and have since been resentenced over the years. Back then there was a new law and judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers were used to the concept of people being released from prison on parole. The post supervised release was similar to parole.

Back in 2001, Blackman turned down a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty that was offered by then District Attorney Michael Bongiorno.

Blackman originally pleaded guilty to first-degree rape following negotiations between Public Defender James Filenbaum and prosecutors, Kelly accepted the plea. Prosecutors wanted to avoid having the woman relive being raped by testifying.

Blackman backed out of the deal and went to trial. The jury deliberated for less than four hours before convicting Blackman of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and first-degree burglary.

Today in court, Kelly went over the crime and sentenced Blackman to the same 25 years on both charges, as well as 15 years concurrent for burglary. Kelly added five years supervised release.

Blackman told Kelly, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have took the plea 10 years ago, My life has been totally destroyed.”

Kelly responded that he recalled Blackman was adamant about going to trial and turned down the plea offer of less years.

When Blackman was tried in 2001, he had a 20-month-old daughter. When he appeared before Kelly today — dressed in green prison garb and shackled at the waist – the same girl sat in the courtroom. She was there with Blackman’s brother and other relatives.

Blackman blew her a kiss. She smiled.

Rockland DA program goes national with fed money

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and his staff hoped to break ground by creating their own community prosecution teams to work with police and community leaders on fighting crime.

Zugibe put together the teams soon after taking office in 2008, after researching models across the nation, and believes it’s one of the most important programs he’s initiated, along with the victim’s center at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern.

Now, the U.S. Justice Department has issued a $500,000 grant for several cities to replicate the Rockland District Attorney’s Office program.

Zugibe gets bragging rights.

Below is the news release from his office on July 6, 2011:
Contact: Xiomara Lopez (845) 638-5013

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe announced that a $500,000 grant has been awarded by the United States Department of Justice to replicate the county’s visionary and highly successful Community Prosecution model in three initial U.S. cities.

The federal grant, secured jointly by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), is being used to develop Community Prosecution programs in Mesa, Arizona, St. Paul, Minnesota and Newport News, Virginia.

Under Zugibe’s leadership, the District Attorney’s Office has developed and refined an innovative Community Prosecution approach, which has been recognized by the Justice Department as a cutting edge approach.

The funding allows the IACP to provide technical assistance and other guidance to out-of-state prosecutors’ offices and police departments to facilitate the adoption of Rockland’s model of Community Prosecution in their respective areas.

District Attorney Zugibe, Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan, Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica and members of their respective staff together with representatives from the Rockland Intelligence Center and Rockland County Drug task Force this month offered presentations on the basic tenets of Community Prosecution to law enforcement representatives from Mesa, Arizona, St. Paul, Minnesota and Newport News, Virginia.

Participating agencies included:
The Mesa Police Department
The Maricopa County Attorney
The Mesa City Attorney’s Office
The City of St. Paul Police Department
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
The St. Paul City Attorney’s Office
The Commonwealth Attorney for the City of Newport News
The Chief of the Newport News Police Department

Zugibe’s vision for restorative justice is touted as a model for other prosecutors throughout the country. Rockland County’s Community Prosecution model seeks to reduce the distance, social and physical, between prosecutors, law enforcement and the community.

The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office has initiated a series of high-profile initiatives designed to address quality of life concerns and other issues that fall outside of the traditional case-processing domain. Included in these are partnerships with local police departments, school districts, businesses leaders and community groups.

The Zugibe Administration officially launched Community Prosecution in Rockland County on November 20th, 2008. Since then, the effort has resulted in numerous indictments and convictions on a variety of criminal offenses. In addition, the model of Community Prosecution in the RCDA’s Office has given local residents a greater voice in prioritizing and solving problems that plague neighborhoods, from Suffern to Stony Point.

All of Rockland County’s police departments have been assigned Community Prosecutors, each possessing unique knowledge of their jurisdiction. Local residents are helping to make a difference by engaging directly with prosecutors from the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, contacting local police departments and utilizing the RCDA’s Web site, RocklandCountyDA.com.

Celebrity becomes a side issue for Taylor

Lawrence Taylor didn’t show up today for his sex offender hearing in the Rockland County Courthouse in New City. He wasn’t obligated to show since the proceeding is civil, not criminal.

The retired grid-iron great left it up to his attorney, Arthur Aidala, to do the talking. The last time Taylor talked after his sentencing he downplayed the crime of prostitution and his paying woman for sex in an interview with a cable news station — an issue that came up during his risk assessment hearing on Tuesday.

Taylor, 53, who now lives in Florida, was convicted patronizing a prostitute, a 16-year-old runaway girl from the Bronx, and sexual misconduct. The former Giant linebacker admitted during sentencing in January that he and the girl had sexual intercourse. Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelly sentenced Taylor to  six-years probation and a $1,400 fine in March 2011. The girl showed up with her lawyer.

In a statement to Ramapo police after his May arrest, Taylor told Detective Richard Strathey that he had oral sex on the the girl, after mutual back tubs. Police recovered a condom with their DNA. He also told Strathey that he and the girl  talked and she left the room to make a telephone call — to a family member. Taylor declined to name the friend who had hooked up with Rasheed Davis, 37, who brought the girl up to Rockland. Davis beat her up before forcing her into Taylor’s room at the Holiday Inn in Montebello.

In court today, Aidala convinced Kelly to classify Taylor as a low-risk Level one sex offender. That means Taylor’s name, photo and address will not appear of sex offender registries run by New York and Florida.

Maybe, Kelly didn’t need too much convincing. The judge tried to focus Aidala on the issues of contention, telling the lawyer he saw his point on several collateral subjects.

There was lots of discussions on the media and Taylor’s celebrity.

At one point, the discussion  compared Taylor with Tiger Woods as far as a negative reputation hurting an athlete’s ability to garner endorsements. Kelly noted that despite Woods’ problems and loss of sponsors, the golfer “still makes $85 million and the whole world knows about his dalliances or whatever you call it.”

Woods  issue came up when Aidala discussed how a level two sex offender classification could economically harm Taylor. Level two would mean Taylor’s name, address, photo and conviction would be added to public sex registries. for life

The level one classification would keep Taylor anonymous, though Kelly pointed out Taylor’s case is no secret having been on television, newspapers, and the Internet. SInce Taylor didn’t have to attend the hearing – and didn’t – four reporters attended, compared to dozens and the circus-like atmosphere when he did appear in court.

Aidala said businesses like Nike would check and could become hesitant to use Taylor if his name was out there.

Kelly then cited Woods, leading Aidala to note that Woods is still active while Taylor works as a retired player. Kelly then pointed out in the real world we’re a society based on money

“My determination is not going to be based on media reports,” Kelly said. “I’ll decide this on the law.”

Aidala said, “I knew that and knew that when we first walked into this courtroom,” leading Kelly to respond, “You don’t have to compliment me.”

Upper right: Young woman who Taylor paid $300 for sex and her lawyer Gloria Allred

Upper left: Lawrence Taylor and local attorney Alan Brill

Lower Right: Taylor’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala

Paula’s killers up for parole again

Two years like clockwork the two men who murdered 16-year-old Paula Bohovesky 31 years ago will soon sit before a parole board panel and ask for their freedom.

And what has becomes an annual rite every two years since their first parole hearings in 2005, the teenager’s family, residents, police and prosecutors will urge the parole panel to keep the two men in prison — hopefully for the rest of their lives.

On Oct. 28, 1980, Paula Bohovesky walked down Main Street in Pearl River on her way home from her part-time job at the library. She was attacked and killed, separately, by Richard LaBarbera and Robert McCain. Bohovesky, an aspiring actress, musician and artist, was two blocks from home.

Both LaBarbera and McCain had spent the day drinking at the High Wheeler bar on Main Street.

McCain, a drifter and career criminal, saw the high school junior with long blonde hair walk by. He left the bar and struck her in the head with a chunk of pavement outside a vacant house on North Main Street. She stumbled down the alley, where McCain had pulled her and then supposedly sexually abused her.

LaBarbera, a local resident, watched and thinking the teenager was dead, tried sodomizing her. When she stirred, LaBarbera stabbed her multiple times with a knife, leaving five large stab wounds to her upper body. She was found in a pool of blood with her dungarees pulled down around her ankles.

Both men denied killing her — and continue during parole hearings — but were convicted of second-degree murder and sentence to 25 years to life in prison. Both men have been denied parole every two years since 2005.

They come up for parole for a fourth time in May and June.

Lois Bohovesky, a puppeteer whose works with children, has diligently opposed their release, along with her son. Her husband died in recent years. Local residents have joined Bohovesky to lobby every two years.

Legislator John Murphy, R-Pearl River, started a website called “Petition for Paula Committee” that raises money and awareness for the anti-parole effort. His daughter Jennifer, now 47, went to school with Paula Bohovesky.

“The driving purpose is to rally everyone into telling the New York State Parole Board to never release these convicts who remain unrepentant,” Murphy wrote. “The other purpose is to keep Paula’s memory alive. Pearl River High School theater students sustain a modest scholarship fund on their own.”

Murphy said the purpose is to “create a little corner of the school property in Paula’s memory where all students, but mostly those who hear the call of the arts as Paula did, can find quiet to meditate and reflect. Lois’ life now revolves around performing art as the central figure in the Vagabond Puppets.”

To oppose parole for LaBarbera and McCain, go to Petition for Paula

Lawrence Taylor gives views on prostitution after sentencing

When Lawrence Taylor had a chance to speak at his sentencing this week for paying a 16-year-old runaway girl $300 for sex, the retired NFL great had little to say.

“Thanks, judge, I am fine,” Taylor answered when Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelly told him it was his time to speak before sentencing.

Taylor had less to the say to the media surrounding him as he and his wife walked to their car in the parrking lot of the Rockland County Courthouse in New City.

The retired New York Giants linebacker didn’t stay quiet too long about his views and the time he spent with the young Bronx girl he had sex with at the Holiday Inn in Montebello in May 2010.

A few hours after sentencing, Taylor essentially told TV reporter Shepard Smith he had no problem with prostitution on Studio B  when he talked about his arrest last year. (Click video with link)

Speaking to Smith, Taylor said, “I didn’t pick her up at no playground. She wasn’t hiding behind the school bus or getting off a school bus. That’s not my M.O. I’ve been around kids and people all my life.”

His comments came after Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe skewed him for providing a market for human sex trafficking industry that exploits women and young girls like the Bronx runaway who was brought to Taylor’s bedside.

The young girl also told the media Taylor should have gotten jail time for what he did to her and that she wasn’t a prostitute but a victim. Taylor’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, countered she’s tailored her story to attack Taylor under the script provided by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.

Taylor’s agent Mark Lepselter wished his client said should have remained silent.

Taylor gets another chance to remain silent or talk on April 12 when he returns to Kelly’s courtroom for a sex registration hearing. He faces being a level 2 moderate offender and his name on the sex registries in New York and Florida or a level one low-level offender and anonymity on the registry.

The Bronx man who provided the young slim woman for Taylor faces federal prison time for sex trafficking and using violence – beating the young woman and plying her with drugs and alcohol.

While Taylor is free to play with his young son and grandchildren in Florida, Rasheed Davis, 37 faces up to nine years in federal prison.

Lau’s competency hearing Tuesday

Eric Lau returns to state Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelley’s courtroom on Tuesday to continue a hearing on his claims he’s unfit to stand trial on charges of murdering Jaimi Erlich, his neighbor at Lake Road Condominiums and a gym teacher the Richard P. O’Connor School in Ramapo.

The hearing continues at 11 a.m. with Dr. Michele Katz testifying about her findings that Lau is incompetent to stand trial and can’t assist in his own defense. At 2 p.m. Dr. Alan Tuckman will testify for the prosecution that he believes Lau is faking mental illness to avoid being tried.

Kelly will decide Lau’s competence after hearing testimony and from defense lawyer Bruce Klein and prosecutors Stephen Moore and Dominic Crispino. Lau has spent his courttime being silent and staring down at the defense table, his body siff.

The murder count carries a prison sentence of 15 to 25 years.

Upper left: Eric Lau

Upper right: Jami Erlich

Gulity plea in Spring Valley stabbing death

Just this afternoon, a Spring Valley man accused of stabbing his roomate to death during a drunken fight pleaded guilty  to first-degree manslaughter in state Supreme Court in New City.

Juan Aguilar-Galvez, 40, faces 15 years in prison on Jan. 11 in the stabbing death Feb. 21 of his roommate, Candido del los Santo-Hernandez, 27, who suffered 14 stab wounds during the fight inside their Dutch Lane apartment. He faced a maximum of 25 years.

On Monday, Aguilar-Galvez’ lawyer, public defender Kenneth Murphy, asked for a non-jury trial before Justice William Kelly on a second-degree murder charge

All that changed today. Following a conference with the judge and protracted discussions with witnesses and the Spring Valley Police Department today, Rockland prosecutors Dominic Crispino and Richard Kennison Moran agreed to a plea to manslaughter with Murphy and Kelly.

“We believe that this disposition was fair, appropriate and in the interest of justice,” Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said, adding the plea decision relied on the “strength of the evidence and serious state of intoxication of the defendant and victim at the time of the incident.”

Even if a trial had been held, Kelly could have considered the lesser first-degree manslaughter charge instead of the murder count.

At the time of Aguilar-Galvez’s arrest, Spring Valley police said he was a naturalized citizen who had lived in the United States for 20 years. Because of this conviction, he faces deportation after he serves his sentence, Zugibe said.

Playful Taylor appears in Rockland court today

For a married man with kids who’s facing statutory rape charges involving a runaway Bronx girl forced into prostitution, Lawrence Taylor was in a good mood today when his black car pulled up in front of the Rockland County Courthouse in New City.  The Rockland Sheriff’s Department cordoned off the walkway to the front door for him.

His lawyer, Arthur Aidala, had pulled up seconds before in a white BMW and parked at the curb to the entrance.

“Hello,” Taylor said. “What’s going on, Bud.”

Then referring to Aidala’s parking spot (clearly illegal), Taylor said, “You must know somebody.”

The lawyer didn’t get a ticket.

When reporters asked Taylor if he had anything to say, he responded, “Have a nice day.”

He walked up to the courthouse door laughing with his friends and at one point he used his massive arms to put his longtime golfing buddy, Dino Kyriacou, in a headlock. Dino, who owns the Ramapo Diner, stands just above Taylor’s shoulder. Dino and other golfing buddies were with Taylor on May 6, before Taylor was arrested on charges of having sex with a 16-year-old girl at his hotel room in Ramapo.

Inside the courtroom, Taylor stood silently before state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly. Taylor got a chair to sit in when his lawyer and prosecutors Arthur Ferarro and Patricia Gunning spoke with the judge.

At one point, after Taylor felt uncomfortable about his dress, Aidala told Kelly, “My client profusely asked me to apologize to the court for not having a jacket and tie. He has great respect for the court.”

Kelly responded bruskly,  “He’s suitably attired. No need to apologize.”

What didn’t happen in court is TMZ, the TV-Internet website that tracks the hijinx of celebrities, wanted to video-stream Taylor’s court appearance. Kelly noted state law converning allowing  cameras and/or video in courtroom  was never reaffirmed by the Legislature.

 Both the defense and prosecution said, ” No,” arguing cameras and/or video would be disruotive. Prosecutor Patricia Gunning noted if Taylor goes to trial, the prosecution’s victim is a teenager. Kelly said, No.

Earlier post before Taylor appeared in court:

The countdown is down to two hours before Lawrence Taylor’s 2 p.m. appearance at the Rockland County Courthouse.

If the former linebacker’s past appearances are a barometer, the media from New York City and elsewhere will be out in force to surround him as he enters and leaves the Courthouse. While reporters shout questions to him, Taylor has said little, leaving  camera personnel and note-book-holding reporters usually without some word or words of wisdom or quip.

And the media will likely leave without a plea and told to come back another day, though Taylor’s lawyers likely would prefer less attention when he appears in court.

The media show aside, Taylor is facing serious charges —  paying $300 to a 16-year-old runaway from the Bronx  for sex at the Holidome off Arimont Road in Montebello.

In the background – but not too far away – the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is involved. Federal prosecutors have charged the accused Bronx pimp Rasheed Davis with human sex trafficking, including using violence and drugs to force and coerce the girl to have sex with men. One could surmise that federal prosecutors are interested in what Taylor has to say and what he does concerning the state charges.

The federal complaint against Davis doesn’t help Taylor since it includes Taylor’s admission to Ramapo police that he had paid the 16-year-old (who told him she was 19, not that what she said matters in court) for sex. She told the police that too. And then there is forensic evidence.

Taylor is moving slowly between state and federal prosecutors as his lawyer works on his behalf. Taylor would like to avoid state prison — with the rape and sexual abuse counts carrying up to four years. 

A guilty plea to a sex crime would put Taylor on the state sex registry, which could hurt his ability to make money signing autograph or making personal appearances before children.

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe  said he’s open to a plea to the top felony counts, 10 years probation and possibly jail time.

If Taylor rolls the dice and goes to trial and is convicted, Zugibe has said state prison joins the equation.  Zugibe is quick to add that the judge – in this case state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly – has the final word on sentencing.

Taylor’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, is a different story. He’ll hold news conferences, offering little insight into the case other than what could happen  in the legal process — such as pretrial efforts to suppress his client’s statements to the cops, his client being identified. Aidala has said Taylor didn’t have sex with the girl and claims the girl told a roommate she didn’t  have sex with Taylor.

All those different angles will be decided in court — either through a guilt plea or trial.

Top right photo: Lawrence Taylor  walking into the Rockladn County Courthouse today.

Second photo: Taylor and his wife walk to a car at courthouse parking lot after a previous appearance.

Judge tosses Rockland lawyers from case

Attorney Larry Weissmann’s stint as a Rockland County prosecutor has come back to haunt him in private practice.

State Supreme Court Justice Alfred Weiner tossed Weissmann and his law partner William Gerard from a civil suit against Gerald Braithwaite and several other people. Weissmann represented Otis Tankesly and Brock Tankesly in a civil case concerning real estate transactions involving at 12-14 Slinn Ave. in Spring Valley.

The chief reason is that Weissmann took part in a criminal investigation that involved Braithwaite and others while a Rockland assistant district attorney. The investigation involved allegations of bank fraud. No criminal charges resulted.

Elliot Mirsky, representing Emile and Susan Sayegh in the civil action, argued that Weissmann had inside information from his days as a prosecutor. Weissmann interviewed Mirsky’s clients twice as part of the probe. Mirsky’s clients contend Weissmann had possession of non-public information involving them. Mirsky asked the Weiner to disqualify Weissmann and his law firm.

In response, Weissmann told the court in legal papers that the only “confidential governmental information involved a grand jury subpoena issued to several banks.” Weissmann told the court he used none of that information in the civil case.

Weissmann also had the consent of Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, who wrote he had no problems with Weissmann working on behalf of “these victims potential civil claims, separate from the criminal actions.”

Weiner, in a decision dated Tuesday, found that the Weissmann-Gerard law firm “has not taken and maintained effective screening measures regarding Weissmann’s involvement in the instant action. Based upon the foregoing, the law firm of Gerard & Weissman is likewise disqualified as counsel.”

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