Feds drop Quinoy case

Federal prosecutors have decided against a retrial for Jose Quinoy, the Sleepy Hollow police detective who was cleared last month by a jury on two of three charges against him.

Quinoy, 37, was accused of violating the rights of two men in two incidents in late 2006. He was also accused of tampering with a witness in the case, fellow Sleepy Hollow Officer Michael Hayes, who wore a wire for the feds.

Quinoy was cleared of violating the rights of Luis Vilches in December 2006. In that incident, prosecutors said Quinoy illegally used a stun gun on Vilches after he was handcuffed. Vilches had shown up with a tree saw at police headquarters earlier that day threatening to cut Quinoy up over alleged comments Quinoy made about his daughter months earlier. Quinoy was also cleared of tampering with Hayes. Federal prosecutors said he tried to influence Hayes’ grand jury testimony.

The jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal on another civil rights charge. In that incident, Quinoy was accused of punching and kicking gomez after he was already handcuffed following a vicious street brawl outside police headquarters on Oct. 17, 2006. The fight stemmed from Gomez’s belief that Quinoy was dating his 22-year-old daughter. The married Quinoy and Gomez’s daughter Haydee both denied there was a romantic relationship.

The case took a bizarre twist on the eve of trial in June when it was discovered that evidence in the case was missing. A disc with recordings made by Hayes turned up blank. After pre-trial hearings, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas said the lead FBI agent in the case, Catherine Pena, had destroyed the disc and then lied about it on the stand.

Simoesus Interruptus

OK, it’s not a legal term. But it should be after yesterday.

With all the activity surrounding the breaking terrorism case in the Brieant Courthouse yesterday, I was only able to pop in and out of the Wayne Simoes trial for a few minutes. Here’s what I caught: The prosecution rested after finishing up with Yonkers cop Todd Mendelson. Interestingly, Mendelson did not draw the same glares from some of the assembled throng of Yonkers cops that his partner John Liberatore did after he testified for the prosecution earlier this week.

Mendelson testified that he did not see Simoes throw Marquez to the ground of the restaurant and that Simoes seemed shaken up aftter the incident. But he also testified he didn’t see Simoes’ foot slip as the defense contends happened when he grabbed Irma Marquez inside La Fonda Restaurant. He said Marquez was loud and intoxicated but not a threat. He said he was too close to Simoes and Marquez to actually see what happened. But he said he saw no reason to take her to to the ground.

That was yesterday. Today, Simoes’ side called its video expert, the owner of La Fonda Restaurant, and a Yonkers emergency services cop.

Interestingly, the defense didn’t cross-examine either Julian Santos, the bar owner, or Chris Kowatch, the ESU cop. 

And Judge Kenneth Karas said he was expecting an objection from the prosecution when defense lawyer Andrew Quinn asked video expert Grant Fredericks if he thought Simoes threw or dropped Marquez. Fredericks said he dropped her. Prior to the trial, Karas had ruled that Fredericks wouldn’t be allowed to offer his interpretation of that, just what was happening in each of the 199 frames from the video of the incident .

But the prosecution didn’t object when Quinn asked Fredericks that question. Karas said after the jury left the room today that he expected an objection from the prosecution team of Anna Skotko, Cynthia Dunne, and Benjamin Torrance. But none came. Quinn said he asked because he felt the prosecution had opened the door with its cross-examination of Fredericks. The judge didn’t think so.

“I don’t know why you didn’t object,” the judge said to Skotko.

“It came out of left field,” Skotko said.