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204 Comments by Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor

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Jury deliberations continue in Oddone murder trial

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

Parties gear up for nominating committees

In fact, after our Eastern Edition deadline, Gordon did confirm to us that she will be the choice. But that won't be official till the convention." Jan 6, 10 2:40 PM

Turmoil continues in Tuckahoe; commissioner will decide fate of school board

As has been explained to this commenter in an email, the comments in question include potentially libelous comments, which is a violation of our policy, and that is why it has been repeatedly removed (after it was reposted several times). " Feb 11, 10 5:10 PM

Westhampton Beach Village Board rejects all seven resolutions pertaining to two police officers

To Publius et al:

I've seen the calls for a comment on our position, and while I'm wary of getting into a back-and-forth on the subject, I think you do deserve at least a brief reply.

We've decided not to post the copy of the report by the Suffolk County Internal Affairs Bureau online.

The primary reason: The document is, by its nature, confidential. Granted, we've published a news story in the past that quotes extensively from it, but that's because we concluded that there were larger issues at stake here, about which the public had a right to know. We are not bound by the confidentiality granted to the report once we obtained a copy from a source and verified its authenticity, but we have decided that taking the step of posting the entire report online would be a step too far in divulging the contents of a document related to a personnel matter. I'll add that, as I said, we quoted extensively from it where we felt it was appropriate, and so I think our readers have a pretty comprehensive idea of the key elements it contains.

Also, we've heard rumors that at some point the newspaper might be subpoenaed for the contents of the document, which are otherwise unavailable to the public. We're confident that such a subpoena would be quashed by the courts--state law is very protective of a journalist's right to protect sources and the information obtained from them--and we don't want to do anything that compromises that protection. Should we post the document, it might weaken our stance in protecting the source.

Finally, while we plan to use the web to provide our readers with supporting material as frequently as possible, I can think of no compelling reason we'd be shortchanging our readers in this case by making a carefully considered decision not to post it.

Given the circumstances, I don't want to get into a debate of the issue, but I hope that gives you some idea of our position." Feb 15, 10 1:00 PM

New York's Shield Law is one of the strongest in the United States, and for that we're grateful.

P.S. What is needed now is a federal Shield Law--it's remarkable that the majority of states have one, but journalists covering the federal government do not enjoy any protections.

Call your representatives and senators. :)" Feb 15, 10 2:36 PM

Southampton Village asks attorney for opinion on releasing cops' secondary employment information

For the record, we were prepared to do that, but we first are required to exhaust all bureaucratic options. The appeal to the Village Board was the last step in that process.

Also, an update: The village has agreed to provide the documents we're seeking. Once we have a complete answer to our request, we will post an updated story. " Feb 27, 10 8:05 AM

Southampton Village police chief rescinds internal rule governing secondary employment

Just to be clear: In the final documents provided by the chief, the name of the companies involved and the location of the secondary employment was NOT provided. It was redacted, as state open government officials said it could be. The Press has chosen not to challenge that portion of the state's opinion and agreed to accept the documents with that information redacted.
" Mar 15, 10 12:28 PM

Building inspector training requirements go unmet

Yes, just to clarify: This story focuses on Southampton Village building inspectors, not Southampton Town. And at the town level the proposal is actually to have code enforcement become peace officers." Apr 3, 10 10:36 AM

Math program at heart of turmoil in Tuckahoe

The post was deleted because it made a potentially actionable statement. You are welcome to repost your comments without that statement.
" Apr 3, 10 3:34 PM

Beached humpback whale draws a crowd in East Hampton

The folks from the Riverhead Foundation at the scene say it's a humpback...we'll see if the identification changes at some point." Apr 6, 10 3:10 PM

Oops. Gonna fix that. Thanks.
" Apr 6, 10 3:11 PM

Southampton School Board suspends high school principal and assistant principal, who are then hired by East Hampton

Just to nip this at the bud: We're working on an update to the story that will be posted shortly, but it appears the Southampton School Board's actions came as the result of the two administrators apparently being named as likely new hires in EH--something that appears to have caught the Southampton School Board by surprise.

I just want to make sure people didn't read anything more into the sketchy details that were first available.

Watch for updates throughout tomorrow's print edition deadline." May 18, 10 7:05 PM

Four rescued after seaplane accident in Little Peconic Bay

Update coming shortly, along with photos...
" Jun 17, 10 4:50 PM

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