Clearly, the town hired a special prosecutor to go after me without the town attorney recusing himself officially and without requesting permission to hire said prosecutor. Here is the audio that verifies the facts.
Here is the brief written by the special prosecutor from the Albany firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, William S. Nolan, on behalf of the Town of Stuyvesant:
This document raises two questions: 1) Can the town hire a special prosecutor to prosecute me for a dog barking violation without requesting permission from a judge first? 2) Is William Nolan in violation of New York State ethics laws for accepting this job on behalf of the town of Stuyvesant when the charge is clearly false and the circumstances of the charge are so suspicious?
First, the special prosecutor issue: in every case I could find, local governments request special prosecutors only when the person charged with an offense, say, works for the District Attorney or is a public official or is somehow connected to a public official or if the local officials cannot handle the case due to the lawyers for the town being TOO CLOSE to the defendant. Here are the cases:
Prosecutor Is Changed in the Trial of a Senator
"Judge Leonard G. Tilney Jr. allowed an adjournment in the DWI case against a local attorney so a special prosecutor can be retained"
"The Staten Island District Attorney is confirming he’s sought a special prosecutor to investigate the Working Families Party and that the year-long request has still not be answered.”
"Governor Mario M. Cuomo requested that the Commission investigate this matter to determine if the appointment of a special prosecutor was warranted."
"A state judge yesterday refused to appoint the special prosecutor sought by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice to look into possible misconduct at the now-closed county police crime lab."
You can see in all these cases, the DA or town attorney had to request PERMISSION from the judge first. In Stuyvesant, this didn't happen. Also, if it were to happen, they would have to give a reason. What is the reason? Am I too close to Tal Rappleyea? He's my long lost cousin or something? Maybe I used to work for the town of Stuyvesant or something?
I don't know. I don't see any cases of a town arbitrarily choosing, without even voting at the town board level, to hire a special prosecutor just because they don't like the defendant and he has a lawyer that is better than the town lawyer. I filed motions. Tal didn't know what to do with them. So he said they (and I don't know who they are) should hire another lawyer.
I don't think it sounds kosher.
Next, Mr. William Nolan of the Albany firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna (attorneys, lawyers at woh.com), accepted the job as a government attorney. Let's consider this:
DR 7-103 Performing the Duty of Public Prosecutor or Other Government Lawyer.
A public prosecutor or other government lawyer shall not institute or cause to be instituted criminal charges when he knows or it is obvious that the charges are not supported by probable cause.Can a charge that is impossible according to the laws of physics, that is only supported by evidence which proves that the charge is false, which was issued by an officer who knew it was false when he issued it, could this impossible, false charge, based on a conspiracy to manufacture evidence, possibly not fall under the category of "charges when he knows or it is obvious that the charges are not supported by probable cause"?
Here is my response on the stuyvesant forum to questions about this issue:
On May 18, 2011, at 9:49 AM, Michelle Richardson wrote:
I'm confused. Is this for the town court case?
Yes, criminal dog barking as per 1978 law. Never enforced in the history of the town before they came after me. Allows for up 15 days in jail without a jury trial.
That was dismissed, right?
Yes. But they can refile and I spent over $2000 defending myself, so I'm not just going to let it slide.
Or is this something else? What happened in town court, exactly?
Four days after I met with Valerie Bertram to discuss $10,000 missing from the attorney budget line, I was given a ticket based on the law, January 15. The incident of barking was on December 30, 2010 as captured by the video I link on my site. The officer who handed me the ticket said he knows it's not true. The video proves the charge is not true. There were discussions about this action in town hall on the day the ticket was issued.
We went to court. $500 out of my pocket. The judge did not dismiss but asked for written motions.
My lawyer wrote motions. That cost me $1000. The town hired a special prosecutor to answer the motions. We came back to court. $500 more.
Who hired the special prosecutor, specifically? The Town of Stuyvesant?
Yes. From the same $450 an hour law firm that is handling my planning and zoning stuff.
If so, I agree, this would be public business and should be subject to a public motion and vote, not decided in a back room somewhere.
There was no motion in court to hire the special prosecutor and no vote in the town meeting. That's all I know.
Can you please fill in details so we can follow the sequence of events? Thanks!
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