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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thug, Just Admonished by Judge, Arrested for Fraud, Wanted for Rape

Man charged with scamming NYC Transit wanted in rape
Newsday by ROCCO PARASCANDOLA -  March 12, 2009

The Queens man called "a crook" by a civil court judge suspicious of his injury claims against New York City Transit has been charged with insurance fraud and grand larceny - and authorities say he's wanted for a rape in Pennsylvania. Newsday on Monday reported on the unusual case involving Paul Hightower, the 37-year-old mortgage company worker who said that in 2006 he had to quit work because of debilitating injuries suffered when the driver of the Q-85 bus in Springfield Gardens turned so sharply that he was thrown from his seat and into the exit well of the bus. Hightower sued. But last month, with the case close to trial, Judge Duane Hart sharply rebuked Hightower in court. He declared a mistrial, recused himself and referred the case to the Queens district attorney's office. "What I am saying is, in this case, and I am telling Mr. Hightower on the record, I am recusing myself because I think you are a crook," Hart said. "It seems like you live on files, claims for accidents, real or imagined or set up." Yesterday, the DA accused Hightower of fraud.

Hightower after the incident received $17,000 in insurance money from New York City Transit, a sum that was based on lost wages DA Richard Brown says were dramatically overstated. Paul J. Fleuranges, vice president of corporate communications for New York City Transit, said, "Individuals who engage in the prosecution of fraudulent or exaggerated claims of personal injury need be aware of the potentially severe consequences of their conduct." As Hightower was being processed in Queens on the fraud charge, authorities learned there was a warrant out for his arrest in Harrisburg, Penn.  Authorities there could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Brown says Hightower was charged in 2002 with raping a minor. Hightower was arraigned Tuesday night and ordered held without bail. He refused to waive extradition on the rape charge. Hart and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.


Anonymous said...

wow oh wow. we need more judges like this. and i want the useless attorney ethics committee to go after the lawyer that represented this criminal in the civil cases, that were only designed to make money for both the criminal and the criminal-lawyer.

Anonymous said...

2 great stories. We need more judges like this Judge Harte. It's the only way to restore our faith in the corrupt court system. This judge stood up to the legal business as usual model.

Anonymous said...

A point of correction: Justice Hart is a Supreme Court Judge, not a Civil Court Judge.

As a judge, I have not been as proud as I should be to have such an honored position. I am encouraged, however, and feel that positive change is coming to New York's court system. While I largely disagree with what I read on this blog, I applaud the efforts to bring awareness to situations that have been improperly handled. Yes, mishandled by the courts of this state.

Anonymous said...

Your Honor:
I would love to hear what you disagree with that is written on this blog...from a non-biased judicial position....of course.
Since I worked for MANY YEARS for OCA... I believe all of what I have read and more. Just would like a judicial opinion from someone who sits exclusively in his specific courtroom and rarely ventures anywhere else in the building...unlike what I did for many years, while speaking to multiple people during those ventures.
Maintenance people, lawyers and security are great sources for information...that proved to be absolutely true...esp regarding your brethern.

Anonymous said...

One LIAR, I mean Lawyer representing another LIAR..Sounds about right..Lock up both of these losers and DISBAR this pathetic excuse for a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

This judge has restored my faith in our judicial system. We need more judges who will simply do what's right.

Anonymous said...

Three CHEERS for this honest JUDGE.

Anonymous said...

WOW a Judge that followed the rules and reported criminal suspicions to the D.A.'s office.

I can think of 4 Judges in Suffolk County who should be doing the very same thing...

Anonymous said...

If there were more judges like this, more attorneys would be more careful about the bad cases they take. For too long, a majority of lawyers don't conduct the due diligence they are required to take before starting an action. It's been all about the almighty dollar for too long.

Anonymous said...

I am glad the commenting sitting Supreme Court Judge chose not to dispute the items he disagrees with on this blog. Some Judges are wise men and women.
You realized that most sitting judges barely know what goes on with their own suite mate judges and have even less knowledge about the operations of the the offices and hallways of the very building you reside in. Some court employees really do have tremendous
Also, don't look for Johnny to be the reformer you desire...he is a long time, paid hack of OCA...and that is only trouble in my experience.
I suggest you keep reading this blog to update yourself regarding your employer....this is one informative and truthful reporting will never see in the media...good luck.

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