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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Long Overdue Correction of Corrupt Retaliation Begins

Court win for a political maverick
After felony conviction, John O'Hara gets his law license back
The Albany Times Union by RICK KARLIN - October 10, 2009

John O'Hara fought city hall and won, although it took 12 years. More specifically, O'Hara fought the Brooklyn Democratic machine, which criminally prosecuted him after he launched a series of primary challenges against its candidates in the 1990s. The subject of several newspaper and magazine articles and an Alex Gibney documentary that's in the editing stages, O'Hara has been fighting for a pardon and a reissuance of his law license after he was convicted of felony voter fraud for listing his girlfriend's home as his address. Earlier this week, the Appellate Division's Second Department in New York City concluded that O'Hara could get his license back after its 25-member Committee on Character and Fitness voted unanimously to do so."I'm a lawyer," a buoyant O'Hara said upon learning he was reinstated. "Can you believe it?

The lifelong political activist's odyssey began in 1996 when he ran against Assemblyman James Brennan in a primary. O'Hara's opponents learned of the registration issue and went after him. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes prosecuted O'Hara, who stubbornly turned down a misdemeanor plea. He was convicted of seven felony counts after three tries, including a reversal on appeal and a mistrial. O'Hara, 49, avoided prison through community service, including a stint picking up trash around his old high school in Brooklyn. But without a law license he essentially became destitute. The case drew attention because of the severity with which prosecutors came after him. Normally, an erroneous voter registration address is handled as a civil matter as long as it isn't an outright "sham," noted O'Hara. The lawyers fitness committee acknowledged the heavy prosecution in its recommendation, stating that "Mr. O'Hara, it accurately appears, claims that the machine went gunning for him and pounced on his change of residency, calling it election fraud." Both his and his girlfriend's addresses were in the same legislative district. Neither Hynes nor Brennan returned phone calls Friday.

O'Hara also caught the attention of voting rights activists such as the Justice Card Alliance, a New York City voting rights group that came to his legal defense. They noted that Susan B. Anthony may be the only other New Yorker ever prosecuted for voting: She cast a ballot in 1876 before the advent of women's suffrage. After exhausting the appeals process and unsuccessfully seeking a pardon, O'Hara turned his focus to his law license. "I never thought it was going to happen until it happened," he said. O'Hara, who has jokingly referred to the entire affair as an Irish bar fight but with no bar (O'Hara, Brennan and Hynes are Irish), stressed that he remains unbowed by the system. Normally, he said the path to getting one's law license back involves a show of remorse but O'Hara insists he never did anything wrong. "I was never going to apologize." O'Hara is still seeking a pardon, has an online petition and is raring to get back into politics. This time, he's looking elsewhere than New York City's mammoth Democratic machine. O'Hara will be a featured speaker at a state Libertarian Party meeting Monday in Manhattan. He's considering seeking their support to run for governor. Rick Karlin can be reached at 454-5758 or rkarlin@timesunion.com.

5 comments:

chilled said...

I have chills. The deeply corrupt 2nd department has actually done the right thing. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

they took away his license for listing the wrong address....
sounds like the group that went after a priest for his mailed in vote, out doing missionary work!
they are disgusiting, the favor should be returned!

Anonymous said...

so lawyers can lie cheat steal
file false information with the courts, extortion, denial of rights to due process, threaten,
RICO act violations and they are never charged, just their daily routine!

list the wrong address and it is criminal!

Anonymous said...

About a year ago I read this article on Lexus nexis and another web service about this case. I also looked it up on N.Y law journal also.
Thier is a few judges that think that you can live in one place and call another place your home.
He had 2 apartments, in different voting districts. His story on how he got 2 appartments was dfferent from other people.

This article is very misleading and does not say why the judge came to the decision he came to.
Lexus Nexus did explain the judges opinion.
I also read the election law.
You can only run for office in the area/ District that you live in.

Galison said...

The Second Department is as filthy as they come.

If they are turning around on O'Hara's case it is because they are feeling the heat. I personally have enough on several people there for criminal charges and conspiracy RICO charges. I know plenty f others who do too.

Perhaps they are throwing a bone to Ohara because he is high profile. I hope its because they see the Tsunami on its way. and are hoping to procure a float.

I will supply then with weights.

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