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Friday, April 24, 2009

Fiasco Continues With Ex-Lawyer Who Brought Down NYS Judge

Ex-lawyer Adams jailed briefly in DWI coverup
“I hatched a selfish and reprehensible scheme. ... My actions were inexcusable.”—Anne E. Adams
The Buffalo News by Gene Warner and Matt Gryta - April 24, 2009

Anne E. Adams emerged as a shamed figure in a basement courtroom downtown Thursday morning. The former prosecutor and later defense attorney stood tall at her own sentencing, but with her head bowed for virtually the entire 23 minutes, choosing to speak only in monosyllables. Then she was led away in handcuffs to spend 15 days in the county jail, her punishment for trying to cover up her drunken-driving arrest last September.

But Adams’ unusual case took another strange twist Thursday afternoon, when a senior state appellate judge granted her a stay of sentencing, giving her attorney 120 days to appeal the sentence. She left the back entrance of the Erie County Holding Center shortly before 4 p. m., joined by three friends and relatives who tried to shield her from being photographed. “I’ve never encountered a case quite like this,” Adams’ attorney, James P. Harrington, said earlier in court, referring to his almost 40 years as a criminal defense attorney. “I’m not sure if it’s more of a Greek tragedy, a Shakespearean play or a John Grisham novel.” Whether Adams serves a day in jail won’t be known for months, but the sight of her being led away in handcuffs showed how far she had fallen, from her roles as a longtime Erie County assistant district attorney, popular University at Buffalo Law School figure, mentor to many young female attorneys and a possible judicial candidate as recently as last summer. In the last few months, Adams lost her license to practice law in New York State and was fired from her part-time supervisory job at UB Law School. Then she went to jail, if only for six hours. “She’s humiliated. She’s disgraced,” Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said after the sentencing. “She no longer can be a lawyer. . . . She lost her job at the university. She’s publicly humiliated. And on top of that, she’s going to jail. I think that sends a strong message.”

A few hours later, Senior Appellate Justice Samuel L. Green granted Adams, 46, the stay of sentence, after a half-hour session in his Buffalo chambers. Green acted on the challenge by Harrington, who called the 15-day sentence unduly harsh and questioned the legality of the multilevel sentencing imposed Thursday morning. Sedita wasn’t pleased with the release, emphasizing that his office “adamantly opposed” the stay of sentence. “In our opinion, she has no legitimate appealable issue,” Sedita said. “She pleaded guilty, and as a condition of her plea, she waived her rights to an appeal.” Harrington disagreed.

“We would argue there is a sentencing issue that’s not covered by the waiver of appeal,” Harrington said without elaborating. Earlier in the day, after saying he was moved by many letters of support for Adams, acting State Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Griffith quoted the former attorney’s own words before sentencing her. “Judge, I hatched a selfish and reprehensible scheme subverting everything I hold sacred in the law,” she stated in her letter. “My actions were inexcusable.” “I think that says it all,” the judge said.

Griffith, in his sentencing remarks, addressed both those who might think the sentence was too soft and those who would consider it too harsh. “The public, lawyers included, need to be aware that if they subvert the laws of the state, like you did, there has to be punishment,” Griffith said, addressing Adams. “As much as I feel for your situation, I can’t get away from that.” Besides the 15 days, Griffith sentenced Adams to three years’ probation, continued mental health treatment, 100 hours of community service, continued drug and alcohol testing, and attendance at a DWI Impact Panel. Griffith, a Wyoming County Court judge assigned to the case in March, also included two unusual measures in his multiple sentencing provisions, ordering Adams to write two “sincere letters of apology,” both within the next 20 days. One must be sent to the Town of Hamburg officers who originally arrested her, for comments she made about them that were “totally a lie,” the judge said. The other letter must be sent to the county bar association’s newspaper, Bulletin, so the legal community can see “what got you to this stage.” Other lawyers said they could not remember such letters being ordered as part of other sentencing provisions.

Adams had pleaded guilty in February to three misdemeanors: driving while intoxicated, offering a false statement for filing and attempted tampering with physical evidence linked to her DWI arrest in the Town of Hamburg on Sept. 2. She is not the only professional who has been disgraced by her actions. After her DWI charge, based on a 0.19 percent blood-alcohol level, Adams had tried to avoid prosecution by getting a falsified blood-alcohol test and a statement from a judge that she was not intoxicated at the time. In an attempt to convince authorities that she wasn’t drunk that evening, Adams persuaded Dr. Tarik Elibol, her primary- care physician in Kenmore, to draw a sample of her blood the next day. She also asked him to falsely specify on the tube that the blood was drawn at 10 p. m. the previous day, just hours after her arrest, according to court records. Sedita chose not to prosecute Elibol because “he came clean and came clean early,” the district attorney said. In February, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph G. Makowski resigned in disgrace while facing a state judicial investigation and a potential grand jury investigation of statements he made in an affidavit in the Adams case. Makowski, in that Sept. 11 affidavit, repeatedly stated that nothing in Adams’ behavior suggested that she could not drive home safely from a downtown Buffalo restaurant on the night she was arrested.

In the courtroom Thursday morning, prosecutor Bethany A. Solek, who studied under Adams at UB Law School, told Griffith that Adams had made the choice to drive in a “highly intoxicated” condition on a busy road before manipulating others to subvert justice. “Ms. Adams solicited others, including a physician and a judge, to make false statements,” Solek said. Harrington then told the court that Adams does not minimize those actions or blame anyone else. “She’s profoundly ashamed, and rightfully so,” he added. But Harrington also cited the emotional and psychological toll on Adams, to the point that a person who has made her living as a wordsmith wasn’t able to speak to the court. “Her depression and decompensation are such that she finds it almost unbearable to face people who love her,” the defense attorney said. Adams, an Angola resident who was dressed in a black suit and white open-collar blouse, even had trouble facing the judge. Before sentencing, Griffith asked Adams whether she wanted to comment. “No,” she replied, as she continued gazing at the floor. That wasn’t the only monosyllabic answer. After the sentencing, when Harrington asked for a one-day delay on Adams’ jailing, the judge sternly said, “No.” Uniformed court officials handcuffed her and took her from the courtroom at 10:01 a. m., before a higher judge’s stay opened the jail doors for her about six hours later. and


proud said...

Lovely. Our legal system at its best!

Anonymous said...

Someone should be looking into Appellate Division Judge Sammy Greene's involvement in this case.

Galison said...

Lawyers are taught that truth is irrelevant as long as you can win the case.

The grievance committees also reenforce the notion that anything goes in defending a client, whether it be destruction of evidence, perjury, or harassing the opposition. Connected lawyers are not sanctioned in any way for these acts,

Fudging evidence is just an extension of that mindset.

Adams was probably shocked to learn that she was being held to account.

Frank: can I use the word "fudging"?

Lawyer who has seen it all said...

There were others who submitted affidavits in this case..who have not been named...Police dept Lt. and a lawyer...and also the Buffalo cop who saw her drunk driving with Judge Makowski and slamming into a car in the restaurant parking lot...but let her smashed butt continue to drive on a very busy thruway swaying from lane to lane!
Why were they not protected and thus this case half prosecuted?
As far as 15 days for all those charges...she should have kissed the Judge's rings and robe!
The Judge by the way is the HERO in all of this...since he is from an area over an hour away from Buffalo and is not privy to the antics and corruption that exudes from the courts that circle the downtown area of Buffalo , in the 8th judicial district that Administrative Judge ...Sharon Townsend perpetuates and leads the daily flourishing of abuse of power!
And for Judge Sam Greene...this stay, as the above poster inquired...was a given...since Mr.Greene has had many such antics in his chambers over his lenghty tenure, while many female employees and judges, enjoy his exertion of power to secure their positions...perfect pick for Harrington to choose as a judge to grant such a stupid stay.
This just shows the public what a disgrace the 8th district has been for the past 20 yrs!
Greene and several of his buddy judges......citizens... is the reason that our courts here, will not address the issues of ethics and crime.
Greene is on his second certification for appellate his 70's and making sure the sex and power of the 8th..never gets addressed. He was a highly touted Kaye golden boot!
The Buffalo news was outraged..amazingly so... and so are most of the taxpayers and why then won;t the Buffalo News ...investigate and identify these judges, and clean house... and esp query and report the need and use of these ancient judicial criminals?
It is smacking you in the face, Buffalo News...don't just report each case as it hits you seem to know there is a legal and judicial problem enmasse...and you should be informing the citizens with an informational and solutional series of they can have what they deserve honest judicial entity!

Anonymous said...

The system at work in the cover-up and protection of their own and these clowns demand a pay raise! Do they want the pay raise to pay for the lawyers they will all need when they get arrested?

Anonymous said...

In 120 days Adams will be back in her orange jumpsuit...Greene just issued that stay to give her time to reconcile jail with her crimes....and I bet she will secretly be released way earlier than she should. 10 days is the sentence with good time, but for the NY citizens it is do the max..BUT GIRLY WILL SNEAK OUT IN PROBABLY 4 OR 5.
Keep an eye out for that inept Sheriff Howard...he is a political ass wipe for OCA....and favors for the once legal princess seem to still exist!

Anonymous said...

You need a life of your own.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding???... I grew up in Niagara county and this Bethany Solek is as abnormal as they come... I was a complaintant in Buffalo City Court and she was nothing pro bono. I dont trust any of these people and nothing was more outside juristiction.. What a crackhead.

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