Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Seal Team Six"

Despite the title of this blog, and the posts regarding some of the attorneys, we have been blessed to have worked with some skilled and talented individuals during the duration (ongoing at this point) of the Jon Massey Case.

Sometimes losing a case isn't about the ability of the attorney, especially when the odds are stacked against you.

Some of what transpired was in violation of our 6th Amendment Constitutional Right to representation, so I will present the attorneys in roughly chronological order.

John W. Hallett was my first attorney. Despite the original Family Court Judge insisting that there was no conflict of interest, two AFCs (Attorney for Child), Attorney Sanchez, and the CPS attorney insisted that John Hallett had a "conflict of interest" because he was the AFC for my youngest daughter five years prior when she was 3 years old (he only had to meet with her once, and there was no conflict, as she wanted to live with me than just as she repeatedly expressed at the beginning of this case that she wanted to return home now). The judge conceded despite his objections and Attorney Hallett removed himself.

Eric Swartz was Jon's first attorney. He was doing the best that he could, but it quickly became obvious that the ADA was ignoring all the evidence and proceeding forward with this case for political reasons. The ADA wanted to enhance his reputation as the "go to guy" for sexual offenses against minors, and indeed had an article published about him regarding that within days of Jon's first indictment. We realized that we needed an attorney who could be more aggressive in asserting our rights.

Enter onto the scene Mark D. Blum. He was first retained to represent me in the Family Court issues, but then we realized that he had the skills and the knowledge to attack the bigger issues of Jon's criminal charges. We thoroughly researched and realized that his representation of both of us was not a conflict, as our interests were united. We signed the appropriate waivers and attempted to move forward. However, Mark has a very gung-ho style, and his IQ was demonstrably higher than those he was up against. Consequently, the ADA and his replacement ADA, the CPS attorney, Attorney Sanchez, and two of the AFCs screamed bloody murder and got the county judge on board. This was probably as a result of them feeling intimidated by his abilities. (Sorry Sal and Sal, gotta call this one as I see it.)

I retained Salvatore F. Lanza, who is a most excellent attorney and really knows his stuff. He was thorough, complete, and even when we realized that the court was failing to acknowledge the truth, he continued to strongly advocate for my interests at all possible openings. He was intelligent, thoughtful, analytical, and knew how to present the law at every possible opportunity (which was apparently something beyond the comprehension of the opposing attorneys and the court). I would give him my whole-hearted recommendation for whatever path he chooses for his legal career! He obviously knows the law and respects it.

Jon retained Sal Piemonte who did an superb job, given the predisposition of the judge and the prejudicial behavior of the court and the District Attorney's office. Sal spent hours with us researching and interviewing. He was organized and analytical and developed a thorough defense. Unfortunately, the court was looking for a conviction regardless of the truth of the matter, and Sal was unable to present his entire defense. Sal is definitely an excellent lawyer with respect for the law and the truth.

Finally, the sixth member of the team was Beth Lockhart. My middle child, Maura, was 17 at the onset of this case. She was appointed an AFC who did an adequate job. However, when Maura turned 18, despite the Family Court judge ordering that she continue to represent Maura, the AFC returned the file to Maura and told her to find a new attorney. (We later learned that this was a violation of the NYS guidelines for AFC - the same ones used to disqualify John Hallett - which state that an AFC remain in place for the duration of the case or until the client turns 21.) At that point, Beth Lockhart entered onto the scene. Beth is amazing! She became an invaluable resource and truly performed as an AFC should for my daughter. Maura maintains an ongoing relationship with her despite the outcome.

Here you have the members of "Seal Team Six" - the six attorneys who during the course of this case to this point have done an outstanding job to the best of their abilities and to the extent allowed by the courts involved. Trust me, I am fully aware that there are many wonderful attorneys out there, and it is just as important to acknowledge them as to expose the corrupt and incompetent ones.

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