Defendant Arrested Again After Leaving Rockland Courtroom

Judge Catherine Bartlett just finished listening to attorney Anthony C. Emengo make his arguments and reached for her next case when the lawyer rushed back into her courtroom this morning, yelling that his client had just been arrested.

Barlett looked up as Emango said, “They just picked him up now. They pushed me away. They are just harassing him.”

Bartlett told the attorney that she didn’t see what happened and there was nothing she could do about it anyway.

“I can’t help you,” she said, adding that Emengo could file a complaint against the Rockland District Attorney’s Office. “I assume they had probable cause.”

Emengo then  left and took the elevator from the fourth floor criminal sector to the fifth floor offices of the District Attorney’s Office in the County Courthouse in New City. He waited.

His client, Emmanuel Odigie, was charged with perjury based on false financial and personal information he filed with a state Supreme Court justice, prosecutor Gary Lee Heavner said.

The filing involved his attempt to unfreeze his bank accounts and other assets that were frozen when prosecutors charged him with underpaying security guards working at the Clarkstown garbage facility – the reason he was before Bartlett. Heavner also said Odigie had been warned that his records were not in order and should refile them. Heavner said Odigie underreported his bank accounts and other assets, as well as filed different birth certifictates.

Emengo said prosecutors had confused his client with another worker with the same name.

Odigie owns Northeast Security Guard Services and is accused of underpaying three guard by $291,573 from September 2004 until July 2008. He paid them $5,50 an hour when the state prevailing wage is $12 an hour, leading Heavner to say Odigie treated his workers, who hail from Africa,  like “indentured servants.”

Odigie was being held on $100,000 bail in the county jail on the perjury count pending a hearing Monday in Clarkstown Justice Court.

Dale’s Lawyer Opts For Non-Jury Trial In Sex Case

Ramapo defense attorney David Goldstein decided today to have Justice Catherine Bartlett decide whether  fired Ramapo Police Officer Andrew Dale is guilty of sexual abuse.

Dale is accused of performing medical examinations of the gynecological type on the former wife of a Monsey businessman, Zalman Silber, who will be tried separately.

Dale and Silber are accused of performing exams on Silber’s former wife, Sarah,  under the pretense of insurance coverage. Silber faces similar accusations in Manhattan of giving gynecological exams to women in an office he rented.

Goldstein’s strategy in seeking a non-jury trial could be betting he’s gaining an advantage because of Bartlett’s contentuous relationship with the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.

She already has tossed 26 charges against Dale – two official misconduct counts and 24 misdemeanor sexual abuse counts. She found four felony counts each of fourth-degree aggravated sexual abuse counts and  unauthorized practice of a profession.

However, Bartlett last week denied Goldstein’s motions accusing prosecutors and Ramapo police of collusion. They claimed prosecutors used Dale’s confidential statement to police and video-tapped statement to build a criminal case. Those statements were only admissible in the disciplinary case. The hearing officer recommended a year suspension for Dale, but the Town Board voted to fire him.

Bartlett ruled Goldstein and Dale didn’t provide any evidence to support their contentions.

Sarah Silber will be the prosecution’s chief witness, along with taped recording conversations with Dale. Dale and Zalman Silber have claimed she has lied to get more money from her ex-husband during their divorce.

Opening statements by prosecutors James Meilion or Kevin Gilleece starts today, with Goldstein to follow.

Verdict in Dempsey Gang Assault Case Re-set for Tomorrow

Victor Dempsey today got A 24-hour reprieve from learning if Judge Catherine Bartlett found him guilty of first-degree gang assault stemming from an attack on rival street gang members in December at a Spring Valley apartment building.

Bartlett, an acting state Supreme Court judge, had set today for her verdict announcement, after putting it off for Aug. 18 and on an earlier date after the non-jury trial.

Tomorrow is now the day, according to a hand-written note next to Dempsey’s case on Bartlett’s calendar, which is thumb-taxed to a board outside her courtroom at the Rockland Courthouse in New City. Prosecutor Stephen Moore came in from vacation on Aug. 18 and has been willing to make himself available for the judge’s announcement.

Dempsey stood trial before Bartlett on accusations of taking part in a brawl among Spring Valley Bloods and Crips during which a rival Crip suffered 150 stitches across his face and other injuries. The prosecution evidence included Dempsey’s statements to police and surveillance tape showing him carrying a gun inside the apartment building at 150 Liberty Parkway in Spring Valley.

While six of his friends pleaded guilty to first-degree gang assault and received state prison sentence, Dempsey opted for a non-jury trial. He faces more than a dozen years in prison if convicted.

All the suspects were caught on surveillance video entering the apartment building, some armed with a machete, knives, a gun, a metal pipe, BB gun, and brass knuckles.

UPDATE: Bartlett Reschedules Verdict In Dempsey Case

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bartlett today delayed releasing her verdict on a felony gang assault charge against Victor Dempsey, who is accused taking part in a brawl during which a rival gang member suffered 150 stitches across his face and other injuries.

Victor Dempsey

Bartlett rescheduled her verdict announcement for Sept. 1 during her calendar session in the Rockland County Courthouse in New City. Prosecutor Stephen Moore came to work on a vacation day before learning around noon that the judge had adjourned a decision.

Bartlett originally scheduled a verdict for Tuesday, after hearing testimony over several days. The prosecution evidence included Dempsey’s statements to police and surveillance tape showing him carrying a gun inside the building.

Dempsey, 23, of Spring Valley, a reputed Bloods gangsta, is accused of joining other reputed Bloods who attacked supposed Crips members in December at the apartment complex at 150 Liberty Parkway in Spring Valley.

While six of his friends pleaded guilty to first-degree gang assault and received state prison sentence, Dempsey opted for a non-jury trial before Bartlett. He faces more than a dozen years in prison if convicted.

A dispute between a reputed Bloods gang member and Crip gangsta led to the fight in December. All the suspects were caught on surveillance video entering the apartment building, some armed with a machete, knives, a gun, a metal pipe, BB gun, and brass knuckles.

Murderer Belton Brims Loses Appeal

Murderer Belton Brims has lost a bid to vacate his New York prison sentence of 75 years to life for killing Arnold and Elaine Sohn in 1980 and escaping from the then-delapidated county jail in New City.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bartlett denied Brims’ bid for a new hearing, siding with the Rockland District Attorney’s Office’s position that the former Spring Valley man’s contentions lacked merit.

The couple’s daughter, Sheryl Sohn, set up a robbery to repay a drug debt to Brims, a Spring Valley thug and drug dealer known as Panama. Sohn left a door unlocked to her family’s Jill Lane home so Brims could enter and steal $30,000 in heirlooms and jewelry. Sohn had her eye on her grandmother’s heirloom ring.

The Sohns came home unexpectedly early from a holiday party on Dec. 29, 1980. Brims and James Sheffield beat them and drowned Elaine Sohn in the bath tub.

Sheryl Sohn served 26 years of a sentence of 25 years to life for her role in the murder of her parents, being paroled in December 2006.

Brims, now 55, not the first member of his family to be imprisoned, also robbed a gas station in New Jersey. His New Jersey sentence could end between December 2009 and April 2018.

When released, he goes straight to New York to serve 50 years to life for the double murder of the Sohns and 25 years for escaping from the county jail. He escaped from the jail by sawing off the bars and made his way to Selma, Ala., where poiice captured him.

In court papers filed in state Supreme Court in Rockland, Brims argued his New York sentences should run concurrent to his New Jersey sentence because he began serving his New York jail term first.

Brims also claimed his escape conviction should be vacated because he was only “on loan” to New York for the murder trial during his New Jersey sentence, so his escape was technically from New Jersey custody.

Bartlett agreed with the Rockland District Attorney’s Office that Brims’ arguments were meritless. She denied his motion for a new hearing.

Prosecutors argued Brims sseparate convictions in New York and New Jersey should run consecutively, as originally ordered by the judge.

Regardless of the outcome of this case, Brims can’t become eligible for parole until 2055 for the murder and escape convictions.

Sheffield is working off a 52-year sentence for the double murder. He fled the night of the Sohn killings, and later talked his way out of police custody in New Jersey and Toronto. He was eventually captured in California and returned to Rockland.

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said today that Brims will never be released from prison.

“This important victory will keep Mr. Brims behind bars, where he belongs, for the rest of his life,” Zugibe said.

Bartlett Delays Decision on Silber-Dale Case

Judge Catherine Bartlett didn’t publicly disclose today whether she will remain on the Andrew Dale-Zalman Silber sexual abuse case.

But the judge asked Silber and Dale to sign letters from the defense attorneys presented to her that stating she did not have to recuse herself from overseeing the trial. Bartlett then scheduled her decision for March 16, in two weeks.

Bartlett raised the issue of recusal earlier this month. She  told prosecutors and defense lawyers that she had been speaking to a woman who all of a sudden began talking about Silber’s divorce.

Dale and Silber are accused of performing gynocological medical exams on a woman once married to Silber. Dale was fired as a Ramapo police officer over the accusations, while Silber is a Monsey businessman who faces similar charges of performing medical exams on women in Manhattan.

Bartlett told the lawyers she immediately cut the unnamed woman off, but the woman created a potential conflict in the judge’s estimation.

Prosecutors believe she recused herself and can’t recant without opening the door on appeal. The District Attorney’s Office already has asked for a successor judge, prosecutor James Mellion said.

Defense lawyers counter she just raised the issue of recusal and properly advised both sides of a potential conflict.

Having Silber and Dale sign the letters stating they want her on the case could mitigate issues on appeal, said David Goldstein, who represents Dale.

Mellion said he and co-prosecutor Kevin Gilleece are ready for trial and await Bartlett’s decision.