Saturday, April 26, 2008

Another Crack in the Lunchpail

We hate to beat a dead horse, but we like to call a spade a spade on this blog. It's been a long four months for Rensselaer County DA Rich McNally.

The first major loss came in the Jidoun biker stabbing case. McNally fired the prosecutor two weeks before the trial and proceeded to lose a case in which the murderer admitted to stabbing a man to death while his gang members formed a human chain to keep the victim from escaping. More
recently, a convicted felon on furlough gets a gun, goes to Troy and shoots his ex-girlfriend while she is in the shower. A confession and a threatening letter by the felon were not introduced by DA McNally and he lost that case, too.
A story that might have flown in under the radar late this week caught our attention: the Burton Jeffrey Hunter case. The Rensselaer man was convicted in 2002 of sodomy of a young female victim. Hunter was sentenced to 25 years in prison, until the presiding judge overturned the conviction. Weeks before the trial against Hunter began; the victim told the prosecuting attorney that she had been sexually assaulted in Schenectady County. That man would later plead guilty to the sexual assault charge. The trial judge said that the prosecution should have informed the court of the allegations prior to the trial. We are not here to argue the legalities of the case, but the then-DA appealed the trial judge's decision, and the Appeal Court overturned his decision to set the convict free. The defense attorney then appealed that decision. So to be up-to-date, they are appealing the overturn of the overturn. If you're starting to get overwhelmed by all this "prosecutorial stuff", you can consider that to be a small taste of what it feels like to be Rich McNally.

So, how does the DA choose to deal with this difficult, complex case? Fortunately for McNally, the DA's office has a division expressly tasked for dealing with Appeals. Unfortunately for McNally, that division is now being run by a lawyer who's still waiting for the ink to dry on his law degree.

Shortly after firing six of the most experienced attorneys (all Republicans) and bringing in a Deputy DA who had never prosecuted a case in his life, McNally brought on a member of his campaign, Rensselaer County Young Democrats Chairman Ian Silverman, to be an ADA. What position did he give this greenhorn? That’s right: he made him the head of the appeals division.So the young Ian Silverman is in charge of all the appeals from the office, still wet behind the ears, but what’s the worst that could happen?
McNally put Silverman in front of the highest court in the state to argue his first appeal on this complicated Hunter Case. If the safety of the general public weren't being at risk with this action, we might be able to give McNally credit for his dark sense of humor. In the report from the Troy Record, they mentioned that the high court ripped “the kid” a new one. The Record even quoted the young attorney. “It was a good experience,” Silverman said after the hearing.

In most advanced cultures, "experience" is something that well-adjusted individuals seek without putting the safety of the public in danger. Does Ian Silverman want to become a surgeon next? Perhaps St. Mary's Hospital will let him scrub in on their next open-heart procedure and let him play with "the beating red thing". For good measure, we've included the remainder of the Troy Record interview with Silverman.
Troy Record: What was it like arguing this case?
The Kid: The people behind the bench all wore black robes.

Troy Record: Now what is the next step in the case?
The Kid: I want cookies and a nap and my ba-ba.
Troy Record: What do you say to your bosses critics who call him "Lunchpail McNally"?
The Kid: Lunch at McDonalds! Yay!