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Showing posts with label trial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trial. Show all posts

Trial Adjourns Until July 22: Day Three

Written By Editor on 7/11/14 | 7/11/14


For more information: please view our coverage of day one and day two of proceedings. 

Schoharie County's long awaited trial on suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington's fate resumed in earnest Thursday evening with defense attorney Ron Dunn continuing his three day long cross-examination of County Labor Attorney Mary Roach.

His questioning remained essentially unchanged from the previous two days, as he returned to Ms. Roach's testimony from Tuesday night and reviewed a laundry list of emails, documents, and other evidence in the haphazard manner that has come to define his style of conduct. 

Shortly before 8:00 p.m., after six hours of extensive back and forth between the two attorneys, Mr. Dunn rested on the defense's behalf and ended his lengthy three day long cross-examination of Ms. Roach, who had originally been scheduled to testify only for a single evening. 

Moving forward with the long stalled proceedings, special prosecutor Michael McDermott called Barb Schaffer, Deputy Personnel Officer, to testify on Ms. Ethington's alleged role in the County Public Health Department following the previous director's resignation in 2010.

However, with nightfall upon the chamber, the third day of hearings was wrapped up and the trial was put on temporary hiatus, where they will resume proceedings on Tuesday, July 22 at the Schoharie County Courthouse. There is no currently scheduled end date for the trial. 

Jordan Excused From Trial: Day Two

Written By Editor on 7/10/14 | 7/10/14


Our coverage of day one's proceedings can be found here

Schoharie County reconvened its ongoing trial/hearing against suspended Personnel Officer Cassandra Ethington into day two Wednesday evening, where defense attorney Ron Dunn continued his questioning of County Labor Attorney Mary Roach from Tuesday night. 

But not before one Supervisor was removed from the panel selected to sit in judgment of Ms. Ethington. 

Meeting for thirty minutes behind closed doors, members of the panel voted to excuse Jefferson Supervisor Sean Jordan from their deliberations. Jordan, visibly upset at the decision, was excluded because the defense planned to cite his own previous lawsuit filed against the county in 2012 for wrongful termination. 

With Jordan's exclusion, the panel was reduced to only eight supervisors: Ms. Bleau of Wright, Mr. Buzon of Middleburgh, Mr. McAllister of Cobleskill, Mr. Federice of Conesville, Mr. Smith of Blenheim, Mr. Smith of Broome, Mr. VanGlad of Gilboa, and Mr. VanWormer of Esperance. 

Mr. Dunn resumed questioning of Ms. Roach by revisiting the Gigandet and Grimes lawsuits, but when he began querying the labor attorney on the Jordan case special prosecutor Michael McDermott objected to it as irrelevant, which Mr. VanGlad sustained, and the defense was barred from further mentioning it. 

The mostly full courtroom would subsequently be confined to approximately two hours of back and forth, at points contentious, exchanges between Mr. Dunn and Ms. Roach as the defense pursued several lines of seemingly unrelated questioning on Ms. Roach's testimony offered on Tuesday. 

As Mr. Dunn's cross-examination passed the four hour mark shortly after nine, the second day of hearings were concluded with Ms. Roach scheduled to return for a third day of testimony Thursday evening. County officials had scheduled the trial for three days, but with the hearing stalled on the first witness, it may have to be extended into next week.

Proceedings will commence once more on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Schoharie County Courthouse, where the defense will further continue its questioning of Ms. Roach, and subsequent witnesses will be called if time allows. 

Ethington Trial Begins: Day One

Written By Editor on 7/9/14 | 7/9/14


Schoharie County's long awaited disciplinary trial/hearings on the fate of suspended Personnel Director Cassandra Ethington kicked off Tuesday night, setting the tone for what might be a rather lengthy and inquisitive exchange between the prosecution and defense attorney.

County Attorney Michael West initiated the proceedings by explaining the parameters, before recusing himself. Joanne Darcy Crum was named as special counsel in Mr. West's place, while Michael McDermott stood for the prosecution and Ron Dunn represented Ms. Ethington. 

Seven Supervisors were included on the witness list, excluding them from hearing additional testimony or casting a final vote on the embattled Personal Director's fate, leaving the remaining nine as jury of the case. 

Among those excluded were Mr. Barbic of Seward, Mr. Bradt of Carlisle, Mr. Lape of Richmondville, Ms. Manko of Sharon, Mr. Milone of Schoharie, Mr. Skowfoe of Fulton, and Mr. Vroman of Seward. All six freshmen legislators in addition to Mr. Buzon, Mr. VanGlad and Mr. VanWormer remained. 

The prosecution opened Tuesday's hearing by calling Schoharie County Labor Attorney Mary Roach to testify on Ms. Ethington's conduct during two lawsuits brought by Eva Gigandet and Penny Grimes in April of 2012. Mr. Jordan was barred from speaking, due to a similar suit he filed at the same time. 

Both lawsuits had contended that Ms. Ethington assumed control of the County Public Health Department in the aftermath of the previous director's resignation, allegations that Ms. Roach testified were denied in response to Ms. Gigandet's and Grimes lawsuits, as directed by the Personnel Director. 

Mr. McDermott then presented Ms. Roach with a series of documents, emails, and portions of the Fitzmaurice Report, in which Ms. Ethington was either referred to or credited herself as the interim department head of Public Health. Ms. Roach would later state the information had been withheld from her.

Upon the prosecution's rest, Mr. Dunn arose and queried Ms. Roach on the code of conduct lawyers are sworn to abide on, including the acknowledgment of submitting false information over the course of a trial, which Ms. Roach testified she did not do in regards to either the Gigandet or Grimes cases. 

Mr. Dunn would later query Ms. Roach on an email exchange between herself, Ms. Ethington, Mr. West, and then Personnel Committee Chairman Dan Singletary, in which she offered the comments that Ethington should, "hang in there," because, "this is a piece of garbage lawsuit." The hearing would then be adjourned. 

Proceedings will resume Wednesday night, 6:00 p.m. at the Schoharie County Courthouse. 

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