Completely Legal

A closer look at the courts and cases in the Lower Hudson Valley.


Convicted mayor called for jury duty02.03.11

Put this one in the “irony” file.

White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley, who declined to be tried by jury on domestic violence charges and was convicted instead at a bench trial, was called for jury duty today on the third floor of the Westchester County Courthouse.

Bradley should be well acquainted with the courthouse by now. He has made numerous appearances there since his arrest a year ago. It was where, after a lengthy trial, he was found guilty of attempted assault and criminal contempt of court, both misdemeanors, and three counts of harassment, a violation. It’s also the same building where his divorce proceedings are being held.

Today, Bradley was among more than two dozen other members of the public who were called for the murder retrial of Selwyn Days, a former Mount Vernon man accused of killing Eastchester millionaire Archie Harris and his home health worker Betty Ramcharan in 1996. The trial is expected to last 4 to 6 weeks.

I’m guessing that Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit, who will preside over the Days trial, isn’t going to let him be on the jury.

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Drunk driver, witness biter sentenced to state prison01.21.11

WHITE PLAINS — A tearful Serena Walsh (left) apologized in court today for seriously hurting a Yonkers woman in a drunken-driving smash-up, in which she also bit a witness who tried to stop her from fleeing.

The apology came as a Westchester County judge sentenced Walsh, a 26-year-old New Rochelle resident, to two to six years in state prison for her behavior on the night of Sept. 28, 2009.

Walsh was driving drunk on Central Park Avenue when, police said, she ran two red lights and plowed into the driver’s side of a car near Underhill Street.

The 55-year-old driver was left unconscious, with injuries including a broken pelvis, arm and leg. Assistant District Attorney Nadine Nagler said the woman had to replace teeth that were knocked out in the crash.

“I want to apologize for what she had to go through,” Walsh said today, crying.

After the collision, police said, Walsh left her car, tossed her keys in the air and ran away, biting the arm of a witness who tried to stop her.

She later had a confrontation with Yonkers police when they found her at her boyfriend’s apartment. She began cursing at officers and tried to prevent them from leaving by sprawling on the hood of a cruiser, police said.

Walsh’s case went to trial in November, but she stopped it and pleaded guilty to felony charges of first-degree vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated and a misdemeanor charge of attempted assault.

Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit told Walsh today that her conduct that night put everyone on the road at risk.

“Your conduct … showed extreme selfishness,” he said.

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Bronx man to serve 6-18 years for fatal DWI in Yonkers09.21.10

A Bronx man who was driving drunk when he struck a Yonkers couple, killing the husband, agreed to serve six to 18 years in prison for his role in the fatal crash.

Peter Duah, 41, accepted the terms when he pleaded guilty Monday to the entire 10 count indictment against him, which included felony charges of aggravated vehicular homicide,  second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and first-degree vehicular assault.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Duah’s blood-alcohol level was 0.28, more than three times over the legal limit, when he collided with Herbert and Marlene Goldstein on Central Park Avenue Dec. 28.

Duah was fleeing police in New York City in his red Ford E250 van after hitting two vehicles at East Gun Hill Road and White Plains Road in the Bronx — one of which was an unmarked New York City police cruiser. The badly-damaged police car pursued Duah with its lights and siren on but lost sight of him and stopped.

Duah crossed into Yonkers and slammed into the Goldstein’s 2010 Hyundai at 11:47 p.m. as they were leaving the A&P Supermarket near McLean Avenue. The car spun around and flipped over onto the driver’s side, while Duah’s van was stopped by a tree. Duah ran off but was caught on a nearby side street and arrested.

The Goldsteins had to be extricated from the car. Harvey Goldstein died the next morning. He was 65. Marlene Goldstein, then 63, spent three weeks in the hospital.

In addition to the felonies, Duah pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

Duah has been held without bail at the Westchester County jail in Valhalla since his arrest. Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit will sentence him on November 12.

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“The Assassin” pleads guilty to attempted murder, robbery09.14.10

A 21-year-old Yonkers man nicknamed “the Assassin” admitted in court today that he tried to shoot a teenager to death after committing a robbery outside of a Dunkin’ Donuts last year.

Torrell Smith, who lived at 95 Riverdale Ave. before his arrest, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder and first-degree robbery for his role in unrelated crimes on Sept. 2.

Westchester County Court  Judge Barry Warhit sentenced Smith to seven years in state prison on each count. He is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for his role in an Aug. 27 armed robbery at 143 Livingston Ave. in Yonkers.

The sentences will run concurrently, meaning Smith won’t serve any additional prison time for his guilty pleas. However, if his previous conviction or sentence is overturned, he would remain in prison on the new sentence.

Prosecutors said Smith shot a then-17-year-old boy in the hip and lower leg at 1 a.m. Sept. 2 near 383 Warburton Ave.  The teen told police he was talking with his cousin when Smith and another robber demanded their cell phone and money.

Less than two hours later, authorities said, Smith robbed four other men in the parking lot of Dunkin’ Donuts at 132 Tuckahoe Road.

Smith went to trial for the shooting and Dunkin Donuts parking lot robberies as well as the Livingston Avenue robbery. The jury that convicted him for the Livingston Avenue robbery could not reach a verdict in the other incidents.

After Smith gets out of prison, he must serve five years of post-release supervision.

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