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Monday, August 4, 2008

More Ineptness from State Attorneys' Character and Fitness Committees

The New York Post by LARRY CELONA and JENNIFER FERMINO - August 4, 2008 

Two prosecutors in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office have been suspended after an internal investigation showed they were never admitted to the New York State Bar, The Post has learned. Damani Sims and Charles Coleman both passed the grueling legal exam but didn't go through with the final step for bar admittance, a spokesman at the DA's office confirmed. Sims works in the rackets division, while Coleman was stationed in the gang unit after a stint as a grand-jury prosecutor.

Their status with the state bar will not jeopardize any of the cases they worked on, said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes. "It doesn't mean their cases are going to have to be reviewed," he said. "There's no law that says the defendant has the right to be prosecuted by a lawyer." Both of the lawyers will be welcomed back at their jobs when they clear up the necessary paperwork, he said. Sims started with the DA's office over a year ago, and Coleman began his career with them three years ago. They were hired under the condition that they needed to appear before the state bar's character and fitness committee - a standard practice for new lawyers. But neither of them made the routine appearance.

Hynes honored Coleman at the Law Enforcement Appreciation Awards last year for saving a man having a seizure at Modell's on Fulton Street. Coleman spotted the man beneath a sweatshirt rack and slid a ballpoint pen into his mouth to keep him from swallowing his own tongue. He could not be reached for comment yesterday. Sims, who went to Duke University and Brooklyn Law School, declined comment outside his Harlem apartment yesterday. In 1989, the Brooklyn DA's Office discovered one of their veteran prosecutors who'd handled hundreds of cases over 15 years had never passed the bar exam. Daniel Penofsky - who worked as an assistant at the city's Special Narcotics Office - was fired and ended up pleading guilty to practicing law without a license. The appeals court consistently upheld his convictions.

Time for Statewide Overhaul of Lawyers Committees on Character and Fitness. CLICK HERE TO SEE prior story on Manhattan and Bronx Committee Scandal   


Anonymous said...

The Brooklyn DA's office should arrest every idiot who works at the Brooklyn Committee on Character and Fitness. Don't they have lists of people who pass the bar? Don't they have lists of "attorneys" working as prosecutors? Why the hell aren't they checking these things out? The Committee on Character and Fitness should be constantly checking up on the proper legal status of "lawyers." Hello, what's wrong with these clowns. What a useless group of people.

Anonymous said...

While the responsibility rests with the individual seeking admittance into the bar, perhaps the Fitness Committee should have some sort of check system in place. The biggest problem, however, is that the Ethics and Fitness Committees adhere to the unwritten rule that attorneys blessed with jobs in any DA's office are largely HANDS OFF... STAY AWAY FROM THEM, THEY CAN DO NO WRONG.... and, they probably have well-placed friends too.

Anonymous said...

Here's the inside scoop: everyone in brooklyn knew the facts (oh, and there are other people with WORSE problems inside this and other DA's offices).... but room was needed for a friend of a friend's kid to get on the payroll.... watch for one of the two unlicensed attorneys to go elsewhere after they get around to being admitted.....

Anonymous said...

ANY person in the Brooklyn DA office that was charged with investigating the candidate could have walked over to the appellate division to check the files.

There is nothing wrong with hiring the candidate in a legal sense. they call it patronage. they just shouldn't be allowed to deal with cases in court, and should be paid at a lesser salary.

Anonymous said...

I have told anyone who will listen that the wheels have fallen off the vehicle. The is just another example. Something has to be done quickly otherewise the public will have absolutely no confidence in the whole shebang. Judge Judith Kaye is not the answer, she is a big part of the problem, as I see it.

Anonymous said...

You would think that the otherwise useless character committee could follow-up with people who have passed the bar exam, say, in the preceding 6-9 months.... remind them of procedures and, here's a new one, give them some on-going assistance as to obeying the rules of good conduct and, dare I say- ETHICS.

Anonymous said...

Any committee on Character and Fitness that gives the OK for Al Pirro and Saul Wackler to get their law licenses back really can't be taken seriously for anything.

Think about it: character and fitness to be an attorney. 2 clowns lose their law license, go to federal prison, get out, and are given their law licenses back. Not a very good example, now, is it?

Anonymous said...

In Orange County the DA's claims child porn and prostitution is not illegal. But then again it involves a couple of Judges and attorneys in the cover up of child porn and prostitution....

Anonymous said...

Not only did Al Pirro get his Law License back after multiple federal convictions, while he was Suspended he was permitted to "Lobby" on "Contract" issues including "negotiations" on behalf of a construction firm that the NY
Daily News has reported has had Mob Ties for years before even confirmed by the FBI. Interestingly, Pirro was "Lobbying" and Negotiating with the State of New York Thruway Department yet not only was he not Sanctioned by the Second Department Attorney Committee, he also was not sanctioned by the Third Department Committee in Albany where the State Capitol is and where the Thruway Central office is but yet the Third Dept has gone after suspended lawyers who have acted as mere "typists" typing Uncontested Divorce papers for a lawyer, Papers which the State provides for free in the Courts to be completed by non lawyers. ALL of the Appellate Division Character and Discipline Committees need to be revamped, federal review, and all the dirty laundry brought into the light to clean up the repuation of the Bar and restore integrity in the Bar.

Anonymous said...

this whole thing is a fraud......I was disbarred because I stood up and expose some criminal actions of some prominent white shoe type attorneys. They even warned me, but I was doing the right thing. I believed in the system and believed in the truth. I got hurt badly in the end. These people are gangsters.
I never figured this whole thing out till I found the Christine Anderson case on this website and read her papers. Then I understood the total fraud that has been going on. It certainly is time for the federal courts to become involved.

Anonymous said...

Not to intrude, Dude. I too have been been screwed by the White-shoed, But the word's "ineptitude'.

Though I confess, the word "ineptness", implies no less of a mess, I guess. yes?

Anonymous said...

responding to the comment by disbarred attorney: if you see this posting here, write an email to alot of info to share and action to take.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to give you names but I will let you figure it out for yourselves.

Back in the days not that long ago when the AG was a Republican, The NYS OCTF, under the AG's office did an investigation of high powered politically connected attorney for his alleged connections with the mob.

They sent in a wired up building inspector to see him. The lawyer is overhead on the wire instructing his secretary to write S0 and So a check for $100.00 anyway he wants it.

It was a cheap bribe, but one nonetheless. When it was brought to the attention of the AG, he told them to kill it.

I am told the tape and check still exist to this day and nothing changes no matter what party is in power.

Anonymous said...

when I was a detective in the Manhattan DA office there was a case where a gaggle of lawyers got arrested for bribing court clerks to get their cases heard.

When I retired I did some PI work and was given a job by a large PI firm to assit an attorney in a case he wanted to bring back after he served time and was disbarred. At this time the attorney was fortunate enough to get his law license back, but still wanted to be vindicated.

the lawyer, a LI lawyer took on a case with a Manhattan lawyer and paid the 'fee' for him and his co lawyer in the case. When the lawyer asked the other lawyer to be reimbursed, the lawyer, an ethical lawyer was so shocked that he went to the Bar Assn for advice. He was told to report it to the DA office. They put a wire on him and the rest was history.

The gist of the complaint was that the DA had information and charges on the lawyer that reported it and failed to tell the defense counsel of this. On those grounds he wanted the case reversed.

He was very fortunate to have me as his PI as I knew all the players, the cops and ADA's that prosecuted his case. The two lawyers were now in private practice, and one cop was still alive. I called each of them and asked them if it were true what the lawyer said, To a man, they said it was totally false. The lawyer came in on his own and did what he was supposed to do.

The client said bull****, no lawyer is going to do this unless he had to deal. He couldn't possibly conceive that he may have found the one honest man that Diogenes was looking for. Impossible, he insisted. I was confident I got the truth. one lawyer said to let him know if he files because he is going to come back as a special prosecutor to prosecute the case.

The funniest part of it was that I asked the lawyer: DIDN'T YOU DO WHAT WAS CHARGED? He said, "yes, but that doesn't matter, I didn't get a fair trial, no lawyer would do what he did unless he was dirty." I guess he traveled in the wrong circles because I have met and worked with a lot of honest lawyers, otherwise I wouldn't have worked for them.

Anonymous said...

Gary I. Greenwald, Esq. is a despicable rat involved in the rigging of child custody and divorce cases in Orange County. He helps pedophiles and sexual predators and the FEDS need to take a look as his finances in Orange County, after all the rat is the attorney for a bank in Orange County. I wonder how much of the money is from child porn and child prostitution.

Anonymous said...

is this the same Gary Greenwald that was around Yonkers and White Plains for so long? If it's the same Greenwald here's a big jerk and a fixer.

Anonymous said...

Gary I. Greenwald is a snake on the move. This man and his "team" need to be investigated by the fed for their criminal activities. This rat is involved with many elements such as fraud, kinapping, child sexual exploitation and the Grievance Committee refuses to investigate claiming is up to the courts to that.

Anonymous said...

spoke up when I saw something that was wrong and felt the pain. Was told to withdraw the report involving a "special" person who I caught red handed or I would be disbarred. A survivor, but have not forgotten. Very good blog, keep up the good work you have a lot of friends who will help.

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