By Yerachmiel Lopin (Frum Follies blog)
October 1, 2014
Yesterday I wrote about the surprising and distressing early release of Baruch Lebovits. This morning I emailed the public information office of the Brooklyn District Attorney.
From: Yerachmiel Lopin <xxx>
Subject: Is KCDA satisfied that Baruch Lebovits’ release conforms with the terms of the plea agreement?
The DOC records indicate that on Monday (9/29/14) Baruch Lebovits got out of Rikers on a “NYC general release.” Yet the court plea-bargain transcript show that in return for a definite sentence of two years rather than the 2-6 the DA sought, Lebovits agreed to waive his right to early release.
His release has my readers and many others in the community scratching their heads. He served 1 year and 6 days after his initial conviction in 2010 (4/12/10-4/17/11). His current stint was 83 days (7/9/14/-9/29/14) for a total of ~15 months.
If so, I and many others are left wondering if the DA office is satisfied that his early release was consistent with the sentencing terms and Judge Dwyer’s sentencing memorandum.
Is KCDA satisfied that the sentence served is consistent with your plea bargain?
If so, did you know that this would be the outcome when you struck the deal?
The office of the DA promptly replied:
We have no comment on this.
There you have it. I surmise that either the DA’s office knew how short the sentence would be and didn’t care or knows that the early release was unjustified and doesn’t care to challenge it. Perhaps they even took private action to reduce the sentence. They seem to have washed their hands of any ongoing responsibility for making Lebovits at least serve one additional year for eight felony counts of oral sex with a minor. What is definitely clear is that the office is not interested in convincing orthodox abuse survivors that they are concerned about the aggressive prosecution of black-hat-on-black-hat crime.The DA is probably violating the civil rights of orthodox abuse victims by not affording them equal protection from abuse.
Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson does not seem to care about the message he sends to survivors; he is focused on his political ambitions. He recently hired Lupe Todd as his communications director. She has no experience providing public information about the workings of a criminal justice organization but loads of experience working political campaigns including her work getting Hakeem Jeffries elected to the US House from Brooklyn. She also worked for the politically powerful real estate company, Forest City Enterprises (aka Forest City Ratner). Thompson demonstrated he could win the all-important Democratic primary without Hasidic backing. But, they would be valuable allies if he aspires to higher office.
Thompson’s highest profile innovation has been vigorous evaluations of wrongful convictions and monthly announcements of exonerations. This is politically expedient because the fault all lies in the distant past and can be attributed to the Hynes administration.
Thompson is already tiring of being DA. He is a cold fish with sudden, and sometimes unjustified, temper tantrums. He is cutting himself off from most staff and delegating key administrative roles to the very political old Hynes-loyalist, Assistant DA Eric Gonzalez. In the process, he is marginalizing the professional prosecutor he brought in as his number two, the estimable Mark Feldman.
These days, all old problems are blamed on the vanquished Michael Vecchione, but some of the staff implicated in his misconduct are kept on and even promoted including the prosecutors who mishandled the Lebovits and Kellner cases, Miss Gregory, Joseph Alexis, and Nicholas Batsides. The replacement pinch hitter on the Lebovits case was Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, whose career will probably implode because of her misconduct in the John Giucca murder prosecution.
Like Miss Gregory, Nicolazzi had every reason to keep a low profile and seek an easy plea bargain. I am told Miss Gregory’s mishandling of the case is widely condemned in the office but blamed on undue pressure by Michael Vecchione. The office also overlooks the pay for no work by her subordinate Roger M. McGreaedy. Perhaps she is a valuable political asset because her father is the famous activist/comedian, Dick Gregory.