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Saunders, Real Estate, Hamptons
27east.com

204 Comments by Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor

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Arrest tape could be used in Kabot DWI case

@ AlwaysLocal and T.J.:

Our argument--and we certainly will make the case forcefully--is that the video of Ms. Kabot's arrest is documentary information related to the arrest, in the same way the official police report is. Since such information is, by law, available to the public in most instances, we believe the video should likewise be available for public review.

I suspect the argument we will get is that it is evidence in the case. But I think that's beside the point--making that information public will not affect the investigation, nor the trial. It is simply giving the public a chance to review the record of charges filed against someone.

As you know, a FOIL fight can take a while. We'll keep you posted. We've asked for expedited review of our application, since it's a high-profile case, and there isn't any compilation of documents required (that's what usually delays the response to a FOIL request). " Sep 16, 09 2:02 PM

@AlwaysLocal, EastEnd68, et al:

Our argument would be that it's public information, and if we can get a copy of it, we would post it on the website if possible, sure. If that's not possible--I'm trying to be realistic--we'll view the tape and describe it to the best of our ability. And, I believe, any citizen could do the same if they filed a FOIL request, too. (The Freedom of Information Law is not just for journalists, after all.)

I'm eager to find out myself if there is case law that addresses the matter directly. I've heard conflicting things from a couple of legal people I respect. I won't be surprised if New York courts would call it evidentiary and say it can't be made public, as a result, until after a trial is completed--and if the defendant is acquitted, it would be sealed from the public along with everything else related to the case.

I'm not an attorney, but I would argue that a video of an arrest might be evidence, but it is also a document of the facts of the case, just the same as the arrest report, the affidavits related to it, any reports or test results, etc. Those are generally available for public review, if I understand the law correctly.

We'll see how things shake out. All we can do is make the request, and appeals.

I would respectfully point out to critics of our FOIL request that the law says that all information filed with the courts is, by default, public information, unless a solid case is made against its release. I can't see how allowing the public to review the video would in any way affect Ms. Kabot's right to a fair trial. " Sep 17, 09 12:53 PM

Report says anti-immigrant atmosphere in Suffolk County fuels violence

Just FYI, folks:

A few posts were taken down; some of them are back up now. As I've said before, we're struggling a little with a coherent policy for managing comments on the site. We will take down duplicate comments, and we reserve the right to remove comments that use profanity, are off topic, involve purely personal attacks, are potentially libelous, or are otherwise inappropriate. We're going to try to err on the side of allowing commenting, though--just try to keep it civil and on topic, please.

In some cases, when a comment is removed, we've been taking down comments that refer to the original comment--but I think that's pretty hard to do, so we're going to reconsider that going forward.

We're trying something here--managing the site a little to keep it from devolving into something ugly. There are going to be some fits and starts along the way." Sep 17, 09 2:06 PM

P.S. Allow me to just throw this bit of information out there, to stir the pot:

I've spoken personally with the CEO of Southampton Hospital, and he has confirmed to me, emphatically, that illegal immigrants make up only a very tiny portion of the unreimbursed expenses at the hospital, and are insignificant when it comes to the hospital's financial difficulties. In fact, it is uninsured American citizens who pose a much greater drain on hospital finances. " Sep 17, 09 2:08 PM

@dagdavid

I may be mistaken, but I read that as a sarcastic comment. You can take exception to the message, or the choice of words, but I don't think it's sincerely meant to be a suggestion of violence. It's hyperbole, and I think most people will see that.

No question, I am dismayed by the intensity of some of the messages on the board. I'm also heartened by some of the intelligent ones. " Sep 17, 09 3:30 PM

@ people first" Sep 17, 09 3:40 PM

sorry...

@ people first

Nah, this is healthy. An exchange of ideas is the only way we move forward. Pretending an ugly sentiment doesn't exist, or keeping it quiet, doesn't make it go away." Sep 17, 09 3:41 PM

@mo: "editor, after reading comments it is difficult to look up who said what to go back to quote in order to pinpoint the rebuttal one is trying to make. Can't comments be made directly on comments so the thread is more manageable and make easier reading? thanks"

In fact, I believe we're working on exactly that kind of arrangement for comments--so that responses to specific comments will follow in a thread, to make it easier to respond, and to better organize the various threads. Coming soon--stay tuned." Sep 21, 09 5:57 PM

Some confuse rocket for UFO

@ North of Highway:

A few years back, my wife and I dragged ourselves out of bed on one clear, chilly October morning at about 3 a.m. for the Orion meteor shower. We went down to the beach in Southampton and, along with a small group of folks, were treated to a sight we will never forget.

I strongly recommend it to anyone who hasn't done it. It's worth the loss of sleep." Sep 22, 09 3:26 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Kabot, attorney give first interview on DWI arrest

@ EQme:

Ms. Throne-Holst is a candidate for public office. In such an instance, we give much wider lattitude to comments. " Sep 25, 09 1:30 PM

@ PrivateerMatt:

Just to set the record straight: Linda Kabot's grandmother was indeed murdered in 2001, but having searched our archives and other papers' to review the stories covering the crime and subsequent trial, I just want to point out that I found no suggestion that the man convicted of the crime was in the country illegally." Sep 25, 09 2:01 PM

Attorney: Linda Kabot will be vindicated

@joelhassoul:

You make a fair point--so we're posting an image of both the anonymous letter and envelope, copies of which were provided to us by Ms. Kabot's attorney, William Keahon. You'll note the stamp at the top showing when the letter was received at Town Hall--which, by the way, makes it public record, and subject to the Freedom of Information Law, which I think is why the attorney provided a copy to us in the first place. Copies of the same letter also were sent to Ms. Kabot at her home and a personal P.O. box.

Just to be clear: Mr. Keahon pointed out that he was not alleging anything in connection with the letter, nor was he suggesting that anything said in the letter was accurate. What he said was that it simply was a matter that he was looking into as part of his defense.

We chose to report the facts surrounding the anonymous letter Ms. Kabot received--and we took the step of asking Anna Throne-Holst about the allegations it contains, and included her response in the above story. I think it's up to readers to decide for themselves the credibility of such a letter.

Here are direct links to the images of the letter and envelope (they can be pasted into a browser's URL window to view them):

http://www.27east.com/assets/news.Article/235138/KabotStuff001_2.jpg

http://www.27east.com/assets/news.Article/235138/KabotStuff002.jpg" Sep 29, 09 9:41 AM

P.S. They're also a part of the "photo slideshow" attached to the story--you can view the letter and envelope by clicking on "see all images" just below the top photo above." Sep 29, 09 9:55 AM

@ Joelhassoul:

Criticism accepted. But what would you propose? That we simply not report this at all? The letter exists, after all. It is a fact in the case. I would think most people would take something like this with a grain of salt--in the midst of a political campaign, and, as you correctly point out, considering that the anonymous author herself (himself?) cites the phone call and what was said as at least thirdhand information at that point. Anyone reading that might well conclude, as you do, that the letter "does not pass the smell test." But shouldn't everyone have that chance to decide for himself/herself?

I don't mean this to be argumentative. I guess I am defending our decision--and I'd point out that had we known about the letter and chosen not to mention it, I suspect we'd come under a great deal of criticism for that decision as well.

In this case, I thought it best to err on the side of full disclosure and let people make up their own minds, reach their own conclusions." Sep 29, 09 11:46 AM

Linda Kabot's DWI case expected to be moved to Riverhead Town Court

Clarification: The story above was changed, after our print deadline, to reflect the fact that William Keahon, Ms. Kabot's attorney, received a letter saying the case likely will end up in Riverhead Town Court, but that move is not yet official. The above online story has those changes incorporated." Sep 30, 09 4:38 PM

Jury now deliberating in Oddone trial

Just a quick update: Received a note from reporter Michael Wright that jurors have sent a note to the judge late Wednesday afternoon, asking him to again read to them the legal definition of second-degree murder." Dec 2, 09 5:35 PM

Kabot takes down press release after town attorney files complaint

After our publication deadline, I received a call from Anna Throne-Holst, and since we weren't able to include her comments in the story above, I wanted to pass them along to web readers.

Ms. Throne-Holst said Kathleen Murray was directed to act on the matter, but not by anyone in the Town Board office, and certainly not by the supervisor-elect. She stopped short of identifying who directed Ms. Murray.

Ms. Throne-Holst also said when she learned of the controversy, she was opposed to the idea of taking down the comments from the website. At the same time, she said of Ms. Kabot's remarks on the budget, which were posted at the town's website, that "a boundary was overstepped," and that Ms. Murray "acted very appropriately."

The supervisor-elect added, "Kathleen Murray is an absolutely stellar, top-notch attorney" who is dedicated to both the town and the law." Dec 2, 09 5:40 PM

Jury now deliberating in Oddone trial

We will certainly do our best to do that. Should the jury come into open court and make a further request, we will post something to report it, either as a separate story or in the comments section. At this point, though, the next update might be a verdict.

Should we learn a verdict has been reached, we will post something to alert our web readers ASAP." Dec 3, 09 9:59 AM

I appreciate that, Sam, and we're certainly doing the best we can with the limitations we have as a weekly newspaper.

That said, we have the website, and we intend to use it to keep our readers--both in print and online--as informed as we can, as quickly as possible. I don't mind that 27east readers have expectations. Just be aware that we're doing everything we can to make it happen." Dec 3, 09 10:02 AM

Defense seeks mistrial; Judge rejects motion

Report from staff writer Michael Wright:

Another note from the jury at around 12:30 p.m. today (Thursday). The jury members are asking the judge's instructions relating to "justification," the legal term that means acting in self-defense. They also asked to hear the 911 tape again--it was played for the first time in court during the prosecution's closing argument on Wednesday--and to review some of the photos submitted into evidence." Dec 3, 09 12:40 PM

To clarify: Asking to once again hear the judge's instructions relating to "justification."" Dec 3, 09 12:41 PM

Another update from Reporter Michael Wright:

The jury is back in the courtroom to review the material it requested. The photos are of the tap room and bar at the Southampton Publick House, as well as photos the camera of Anthony Oddone's friend who was with him that night. A contact sheet shows the time each photo was taken.

Defense attorney Sarita Kedia maintains that the photo times are not accurate. She said the jury members should be asked if they want the testimony that talks about the discrepancy in the time stamp and what the detective "understood" to be the real times the photos were taken. .

Ms. Kedia objected to some of the photos that show items on the ground that belonged to victim Andrew Reister, but those are closeups and not photos of the room in general, which seems to be what the jury was asking for.

The jury also asked to again hear the song that witnesses said was playing at the time of the incident, which was used by some witnesses to estimate the length of time Mr. Oddone held Mr. Reister in a choke hold. The jury asked to hear the song played again, but only in the jury room. The judge agreed and sent in a CD player with a compact disc.

The jury also asked to hear the 911 call again, and the judge agreed, although it will be played in open court for the jury.

Finally, the jury asked again for a description of all the charges, with "emphasis on intent and justification." The judge agreed to briefly review the four charges and the entire code on justification, which, again, is the legal term meaning "self-defense."
" Dec 3, 09 1:28 PM

From our staff member Brendan O'Reilly, who is at the courthouse:

The jury was dismissed at 6:30 p.m. and will continue deliberations tomorrow morning.

Before ending the day's deliberations, the jury asked to review several of the medical documents in the case, including records from both Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University Hospital, related to Andrew Reister's injuries, which proved fatal. They also sought a copy of the report from Mr. Reister's autopsy.

Judge Hendrichs agreed to all the requests, except the autopsy report. "That was marked for identification bot not received, so that is not something you can have in the jury deliberation room," he said. It had never been entered into evidence." Dec 3, 09 7:09 PM

From reporter Michael Wright at about 10:30 a.m.:

Another jury note: The jury has asked the judge to again read the criteria for all of the charges under consideration in the case. This is the third time they've asked for all of the charges to be reviewed, and the fourth time the criteria for second-degree murder has been outlined for the jury." Dec 4, 09 10:31 AM

P.S. Also worth noting: Today is defendant Anthony Oddone's 27th birthday." Dec 4, 09 10:33 AM

Another update from reporter Michael Wright:

The jury also asked for copies of three articles from medical journals that defense attorney Sarita Kedia had submitted during her cross examination of the county medical examiner. One had to do with causes of hemmorhages around the yes, and the other two were related to law enforcement's use of choke holds. But the judge denied the request, since those articles were never submitted as evidence in the case, only for identification.

I'm not an attorney, but it seems that one or two of the commenters have some kind of law background; I'd suggest it might be helpful, until we can talk to an expert and get the information, if one of them would post and explain the difference between something being introduced in a court case only for identification, versus being introduced as evidence. The distinction came up earlier, with the victim's autopsy report not being available for the jury to review, since it was similarly submitted for identification rather than as evidence." Dec 4, 09 11:23 AM

Indeed--sorry. The dangers of trying to get an update on the site as quickly as possible!" Dec 4, 09 11:39 AM

Thanks to both you and Publius for more clearly explaining the situation." Dec 4, 09 12:36 PM

I just wanted to step in and say once again:

I realize this is a very emotional topic. But let's please stop insulting people. The purpose of commenting is to allow a broad range of comments, and we're making an effort to let things go as much as we can. But I'd ask for a little decorum. Let's be civil and respectful. " Dec 4, 09 2:20 PM

Jury deliberations continue in Oddone murder trial

There is a discussion of this issue in the comments on the most recent story, "Jury Now Deliberating..." the link to which is listed above.

A couple of commenters who seem to have a legal background have provided some explanation." Dec 4, 09 3:37 PM

Apologies--it's actually in the "Defense Seeks Mistrial" story..." Dec 4, 09 3:40 PM

Jury now deliberating in Oddone trial

LOL! Don't want to get in the middle of this...but "Simpsons" fans know that's actually the bully, Nelson Muntz..." Dec 4, 09 3:42 PM

Defense seeks mistrial; Judge rejects motion

I understand that. There have been many strong comments on both sides, and I think that's okay. I think when the comments begin to be directed toward other commenters rather than to the issue at hand, we're losing the focus and turning what might otherwise be a lively and worthwhile exchange of ideas into a simple slugfest. Many sites welcome that...we're trying to keep this site from deteriorating into such an ugly scene.

I can't stop people from doing it. We can only police the site and try to take down inappropriate comments. But--despite what some people think--we're very wary about doing that. So I'm just trying one last time to appeal to the commenters, most of whom have been respectful. Let's allow everyone to voice an opinion without insulting them, despite the emotions involved in this tragic case." Dec 4, 09 3:54 PM

Jury deliberations continue in Oddone murder trial

Sorry for the delay in updating this info, folks...

As noted by FOTO above, the jury was sent home about 6:30 last night for the weekend. Its members will resume deliberations on Monday morning at 9:15." Dec 5, 09 10:56 AM

:)

I just appreciate the effort!" Dec 5, 09 10:57 AM

Defense seeks mistrial; Judge rejects motion

It's been a struggle, in the coverage since the event occurred in August 2008, of how to characterize it when we refer to it.

For the record, we've described it variously as a "fight," a "physical altercation," etc. We're not trying to imply anything in using those terms, but simply trying to find an acceptable term in referencing the incident. Apologies if anyone finds those words inappropriate." Dec 5, 09 11:01 AM

The newspaper industry is at a crossroads

Sorry, Mr. Meyer--as noted, this is a story written by one of our high school interns. Gave us a chance for a teaching opportunity!

I've edited the story to reflect your entry above. Hope that's satisfactory." Dec 8, 09 5:42 PM

Seventh day of deliberations ends with no verdict in Oddone case

I'll try one more time, Sam...

Folks, please try to refrain from insulting each other. It's a very emotional case, and we're trying our best to let the discussion go on without a lot of intervention from us. But let's stay on topic and keep the personal insults to yourselves." Dec 8, 09 6:27 PM

What FOTO wrote above is true--they've been reading back testimony to the jury. We've updated the story to reflect the latest reports we've gotten from our reporter in the field. " Dec 8, 09 6:28 PM

New update from reporter Michael Wright, who is still at the courthouse in Riverhead. Jury just broke for the night after working late.

From here on out, we'll post updates like we have above--at the top of the latest article on the case--so web readers won't have to go searching through comments for updates as they become available.

We will incorporate updates into the story as the week continues, and we'll continue to post updates at the top in similar fashion." Dec 9, 09 9:50 PM

They have indeed resumed this morning as planned, but nothing else to report at the moment." Dec 10, 09 11:28 AM

Mike's a real pro, and his dedication to this story is not going unnoticed, believe me. We're lucky to have him.

Dinner for Mike last night, by the way, was a bag of pizza-flavored Combos, I'm told. It's not the most glamorous job in the world! " Dec 10, 09 11:30 AM

Note: A new update just posted above. Jury asked for four charges to be reviewed again late this morning..." Dec 10, 09 1:24 PM

Just posted an update this morning based on some developments at court. We're still trying to sort through what's happening--more updates to follow when we have a little more information beyond what's posted above." Dec 11, 09 10:57 AM

Deliberations in Oddone trial resume Monday with testimony reread to jury

Just to amplify the point in the story above, so there's no confusion:

There is NO official word from the jury on any of this, nor a final ruling by the jury on any of the charges. The story above is based on discussions in open court today about the state of deliberations, based on notes sent to the judge by jury members.

I just want to be clear that there's no final decision made yet. " Dec 11, 09 5:52 PM

Quick update from reporter Mike Wright at the courthouse: At about 5:45 p.m., the jury sent yet another note to the judge, asking for more testimony to be read." Dec 11, 09 5:55 PM

And can you confirm that if a partial verdict is rendered, eliminating the second-degree murder charge, and there is a mistrial or hung jury, the murder charge cannot be refiled because of double jeopardy? That's what we've been told." Dec 11, 09 7:52 PM

I sincerely apologize for that mistake. We immediately sent a corrected subject line as soon as we discovered the error, but I realize the damage had been done.

No excuses. Just a mistake, and we apologize." Dec 11, 09 7:53 PM

New update above at shortly before 8:30 p.m., courtesy of reporter Michael Wright at the courthouse. Court will resume Monday morning with more testimony to be reread to the jury at members' request." Dec 11, 09 8:28 PM

Thanks. Just want to be sure we've got the important legal details right." Dec 12, 09 8:39 AM

This was from an article we published on August 21, 2008, a little more than a week after the incident:

"[Prosecuting attorney] Ms. Merrifield also revealed that the incident of violence in the Publick House was not the first for Mr. Oddone: She cited a May 2005 incident in a Cobleskill, New York, bar named Happy Trails, alleging that Mr. Oddone was involved in another assault involving three victims, hitting more than one of them with a beer bottle. No charges were filed in connection with that incident."
" Dec 12, 09 8:50 AM

I cited the article--which, by the way, states clearly that "no charges were filed in connection with that incident"--only to answer the question above. The prosecution had cited that previous incident, and I think it's clear from our report that we only know that much about it. I don't see any reason to take either that comment or yours down.

I also will point out that we've reported that people who know Mr. Oddone have said he was not someone who was generally violent, and he worked to put himself through college. " Dec 12, 09 11:25 AM

Indeed. I appreciate your kind remarks." Dec 14, 09 9:51 AM

Let me be clear: Our reporter, Mike Wright, had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with that mistake. He wasn't involved in the email alert that went out.

I sincerely apologize again for that. We corrected it immediately upon discovering it (in fact, it was Mike who pointed it out), and a corrected email went out in less than 30 minutes.

Again, I won't make excuses--it was a bad mistake, and I'm sorry." Dec 14, 09 9:54 AM

Two things:

Story is now updated to include the latest from this morning. Not much--just listening to readbacks of testimony, as requested by the jury.

Also, to repeat what I said in reply to a commenter above, so everyone can see it: Our reporter, Mike Wright, had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the email that went out Friday with an erroneous subject line. He wasn't involved in any way in the email alert that went out.

I sincerely apologize again for that. We corrected it immediately upon discovering it (in fact, it was Mike who pointed it out), and a corrected email went out in less than 30 minutes. " Dec 14, 09 1:05 PM

As noted below, we've just updated the story. Mike was on another story this morning, and he's getting caught up at court now. Just readbacks this morning, but if there were any other developments, we'll post something today." Dec 14, 09 1:06 PM

BULLETIN:

Verdict is in, to be read tonight.

Update coming shortly--watch the home page. " Dec 14, 09 5:13 PM

Guilty--first-degree manslaughter.

We're working on the story right now. Verdict read about 5:15.
" Dec 14, 09 5:21 PM

Oddone guilty of first-degree manslaughter, jury announces Monday

Verdict is guilty, first-degree manslaughter.

Details coming...

" Dec 14, 09 5:26 PM

Story is updated, briefly, with reports from Michael Wright at the courthouse.

He will be filing an update later this evening--check back later--and we'll have full coverage in the print edition this week. " Dec 14, 09 5:47 PM

East End still digging out after record snow

Just to be clear: I believe in a "snow emergency," as has been declared this time, the town will clear private roads as well. But they are at the bottom of the priority list, after primary roads and secondary roads. " Dec 21, 09 2:37 PM

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