Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Zadroga 9/11 Health Act to Expire Unless Congress Takes Action
“Without this program, thousands upon thousands of people will be devastated financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. They need the support of Congress. They gave their lives to take care of other people and they deserve to be treated as long as they live.”
-- Dr. Ellen Koffler, Cancer Care Coordinator, World Trade Center Health Program
Today, advocates for 9/11 first responders and survivors released a deeply moving new video featuring Americans who are suffering from 9/11-related illnesses and need help from Washington. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was signed into law in 2011, will expire unless Congress takes action now to renew it. The legislation provides health care and economic compensation to those who lost their health as well as to the families of those who died since 9/11 from related injuries.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO:
Please watch the video, tell others about it, and take action to help ensure the Zadroga law is renewed.
SIGN UP to take action at http://www.renew911health.org.
TELL CONGRESS to renew the 9/11 health law by texting "911" to 877877
by calling 888-701-7499 toll free to be connected to your representatives.
The video was produced by E-18 Media with the generous assistance of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act is a coalition of advocates who are working to make sure that Washington does the right thing and renews and extends the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. More than 30,000 sick and injured 9/11 responders and survivors depend on the medical treatment and the compensation programs provided by this law.
# # #
Citizens for Extension of the James Zadroga Act, Inc.
646 787 6184
Monday, November 3, 2014
FREELANCE INVESTIGATIONS' EDITORIAL:
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in this country. States like nearby Vermont, have an MCL or Maximum Contamination Level of 5 pCi/L (pCi/L stands for pico curies per litre) of water because it is so very dangerous at any higher level. Then why doesn't New York have any number that would exceed safe standards on the books?
The answer is complex yet also simple, because the water on Long Island and in other municipalities across New York State, just would never pass, according to Dr. Carmine Vasile. A former Grumman Inventor of the year with a PhD in Electrophysics, Dr. Vasile believes his son, an aunt and countless thousands of other people who are living with or have died of cancer on Long Island are victims of radon poisoning. It is his contention that the failure of government to take a stand and make a definitive mark past which radon would be unacceptable in municipal water supplies, like the Suffolk County Water Supply, is potentially the reason for the death of his son from brain cancer and his aunt from lung cancer (she was never a smoker).
The answer is complex yet also simple, because the water on Long Island and in other municipalities across New York State, just would never pass, according to Dr. Carmine Vasile. A former Grumman Inventor of the year with a PhD in Electrophysics, Dr. Vasile believes his son, an aunt and countless thousands of other people who are living with or have died of cancer on Long Island are victims of radon poisoning. It is his contention that the failure of government to take a stand and make a definitive mark past which radon would be unacceptable in municipal water supplies, like the Suffolk County Water Supply, is potentially the reason for the death of his son from brain cancer and his aunt from lung cancer (she was never a smoker).
Dr. Vasile has put a petition on Change.Org and he asks that people sign it to demand an MCL for Radon be established in New York State.
In the nineteen seventies during the Ford Administration, EPA officials specifically excluded Radon's Alpha particle activity from the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Radionuclides Rule of 1976. No reason or explanation was given for this exclusion. This declared it unsafe to use water contaminated by nuclear or medical waste, naturally occurring Radon gases and dozens of their carcinogenic decay products. Now nearly forty years later no MCL has been established for Radon in New York State and Dr. Vasile wants this to change.
Below is the technical and scientific explanation given by Dr. Vasile on the petition 's webpage. If it is too technical for you to understand, then skip it and ask yourself this one question. If it is so deadly toxic and cancer causing, and other states have MCL's established, why then isn't there an MCL established in New York for Radon, just like there is for lead and mercury and thousands of other radionuclides and carcinogens? If you don't have a good answer then ask the DEC or the EPA why there is no MCL for Radon in New York. If they have no answer for you (which they don't, as Dr. Vasile has asked them in letter after letter, over and over again) then go sign the petition. (Editor/Freelance Investigations)
To sign the petition or to read more just click the link below:
The following information is printed verbatim from the petition page written by DR. CARMINE VASILE:
Revised Abstract Including Rn-222's Daughter, Po-218, which has an EPA MCL of 15 pCi/L
From the CHANGE.ORG Petition Website posted by Dr, Vasile...
Two decades ago, a New York survey of hundreds of community wells regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act found Radon-222 (Rn-222) was present in all 436 samples in concentrations ranging from 13 pCi/L to 26,800 pCi/L -- 2.6 to 5,360 times Vermont’s Radon-action level of 5 pCi/L -- yet not one recommendation was enacted to protect us from the leading cause of death in America for both men and women – RADON 
Sadly, the NYSDOH failed to consider increased cancer rates in families using private wells they knew were being contaminated by wastewater from public wells in areas having cesspools or septic systems. Although there is no MCL for Radon, the Gross Alpha MCL for its Alpha-emitting decay products is 15 pCi/L according to the November 2001 EPA Directive 9283_1_14 (Attachment A) – which is not enforced even though a subsequent 2008 Duke University Report “Radon transfer from groundwater used in showers to indoor air” (Vinsen,et.al.) showed huge amounts of Polonium-210 was produced by Radon-222 released from showers in 17 homes.
Of the 18 homes tested, the only home having safe Rn-222 levels was equipped with a water aeration system that vented radon gases outdoors. Measurements of Rn-222 in the incoming water supply of all 18 homes indicated both hot and cold water storage tanks contained Po-218 in Secular - Equilibrium with its parent Rn-222 at dangerous levels ranging from 4,266 to 21,897 pCi/L -- 284 to 14,598 times its MCL, excluding other Alpha-emitting Rn-222 decay products (Po-214 and Po-210).
During the Ford Administration, for no good reason EPA officials specifically excluded Radon's Alpha particle activity from the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Radionuclides Rule of 1976. This made it unsafe to use water contaminated by nuclear or medical waste, naturally occurring Radon gases and dozens of their carcinogenic decay products. As shown in the Bar Chart, by 2005 Radon became a leading cause of death; about 21,000 deaths per year, compared to 17,400 for drunk drivers.
This prompted the Surgeon General to issue this Radon Advisory in January of 2005: "Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country.
It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques." He (the Surgeon General), gave no estimate of the number lung cancer deaths in smokers or ex-smokers that were actually caused by Radon even though he knew breathing air containing as little as 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L-air) is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day from the instant a baby takes its first breath.
Radon-222 (Rn-222) is the longest-lived Radon isotope; 9 time heavier than air, with a Specific Activity of 160,000 picocuries per picogram and a half-life of 3.8 days. This means 8 pCi/L of Rn-222 weighs 50 trillionths of a microgram (50 E-18g). Yet inhaling such a tiny amount all day long has the same lung-cancer risk as smoking about two packs a day. Unlike other states, NY doesn’t require Radon testing or remediation; even when homes are sold.
These “well-established venting techniques” have been established for Radon-contaminated air and water, yet State and Federal health officials continue to ignore EPA Radon Risk Charts in “A Citizen's Guide to Radon” @ www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html and have failed to set a Radon-MCL since 1976. This is a National Disgrace that no State Governor or President since Nixon has addressed.
NEW YORK DISGRACE
Over 2 decades ago, the NYS Health Department (NYSDOH) surveyed hundreds of drinking water wells for the longest lived Radon isotope, Rn-222, which has a 3.8-day Half Life and can accumulate after repeated daily showers in poorly-vented bath and shower rooms. In September 1990, an unpublicized Radon-report was issued by the NYSDOH; 21/2 years after the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) issued its Radon-report.
The State’s survey included 10 wells in Suffolk County, but only one operated by the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA). The SCDHS surveyed 5 SCWA wells. By comparison, SCWA tests of hundreds of wells were positive Radon, as shown in Radioactivity tables @ www.gfxtechnology.com/Radon.html
The little known State survey showed Rn-222 was present in all 436 samples in concentrations ranging from 13 pCi/L to 26,800 pCi/L -- 2.6 to 5,360 times Vermont’s Radon-action level. The highest average levels occurred in Putnam, Orange, Westchester, Rockland and Dutchess Counties. One hundred sixty one samples (37 percent) were found to contain Rn-222 levels above 500 pCi/L – a hundred times Vermont’s 5 pCi/L mandatory aeration level -- established to prevent Radon from entering homes via tap water.
HIGHEST LEVELS FOUND IN HUNTINGTON SCWA WELL
The highest level reported in the 1988 SCDHS survey was 460 pCi/L for a 504-foot SCWA well located on Meade Drive in Huntington. At 500 pCi/L-water, 30 minutes of daily showering with low-flow showerheads (10 LPM) will release about 150,000 pCi of Rn-222; enough to fill a 10,000 liter bathroom with 15 pCi/L-air.
Unless the bathroom is well vented, another 15 pCi/L-air will be added each day thereafter. In 3.8 days, the first Rn-222 dose will have decayed 50%; leaving behind varying amounts of 7 metallic, radioactive isotopes: Po-218, Pb-214, Bi-214, Po-214, Pb-210, Bi-210, Po-210 and stable Pb-206. That’s why the State of Vermont requires Radon removal systems like that shown @ www.wellguy.com/radonremoval.html if a water source has over 5 pCi/L of gross alpha radioactivity.
By comparison, here's what the NYSDOH has to say about Radon Mitigation: "Radon in water is usually not the primary source of radon in the home. If a radon in air mitigation system appears not to be reducing radon levels, then radon in water may be evaluated as a pathway. Presently there is no guideline or recommended action level for radon in water concentration. Radon in water may pose an inhalation risk. This risk results when radon is released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes. Approaches to mitigate radon in water are aeration or filtration using granular activated carbon."(www.health.ny.gov/environmental/radiological/radon/mitigation/what_is_mitigation.htm)
Long Island Myth Debunked and "RADON CHIMNEYS"
These surveys debunked the myth that Long Island has no Radon, as recently alleged by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, in response to complaints. They also proved Long Island’s major sources of surface Radon are deep wells that serve as “Radon Chimneys”, in addition to shallower wells near its many Superfund and CERCLA sites.
Yet not one NYS Governor or Health Department mandated “well-established venting techniques” to protect us, even those living near the Vermont border. Neither survey report presented test results for Rn-222’s longest-lived offspring; Lead-210 (Pb-210, 22 yr ½-life) and Polonium-210 (Po-210, 140 day ½-life), which also accumulate after repeated showers and ARE regulated under the NYS Health Code with an MCL of 4 mrem/yr for the former and 15 pCi/L for the latter; contrary to County Executive Bellone’s erroneous assertion:
“With respect to your specific questions, radon levels are naturally low on Long Island compared with background levels in other areas of the country, tritium levels have been well under drinking water standards, and there have been no confirmed significant detections of lead-210 (which is a naturally occurring radionuclide for which there is currently no drinking water standard)…”.  
Both reports included tests results for a small fraction of radioactive wells operated by the SCWA; a few of which are identified in dozens of radioactivity tables @ www.gfxtechnology.com/Radon.html showing Radon levels far above Vermont’s action level.None of these tables have test results for Po-210 and only those located in and around Shirley contain Pb-210 results.
As of this date, not one recommendation by former NYSDOH Commissioner David Axelrod, M.D. has been adopted and lung cancer rates continued to rise, as well as skin and other waterborne cancers; especially on Long Island as documented in the book Welcome to Shirley by Kelly McMasters and its film version: The Atomic States of America.
DEADLY ISOTOPES RISE UP "RADON CHIMNEYS" CALLED WATER WELLS
Obviously, deep wells serve as chimneys that allow Radon and other gases trapped in deep aquifers to rise and create deadly indoor “Radon Smog”. Like all lead isotopes, Pb-210 and its stable daughter Pb-206 will accumulate in our bodies unless removed by chelation. Unlike the latter isotope, Pb-210 continually emits deadly Gamma rays that exit lungs to also cause breast, skin, and other cancers. Although NYS Health regulations continue to exclude Rn-222, they place limits on total Lead and two of Rn-222’s most deadly decay products: Pb-210 and Po-210. Yet tests results for Pb-210 & Po-210 are absent from every published NYS water quality report; including hundreds operated by America’s largest public water company @ www.scwa.com, which has 773 community wells up to 710 feet deep. Dozens, if not hundreds, are contaminated by radioactive plumes from the notorious Superfund site featured in the NETFLIX Movie, The Atomic State of America, with Alec Baldwin -- whose mother founded the Stony Brook Cancer Center. In 2014 Stony Brook began offering a Lung Cancer Screening Program that excludes non-smokers, unknowingly exposed to Radon every time they shower. (See screening requirements @ www.gfxtechnology.com/LCFS.pdf)
The SCWA has been reporting huge amounts Radon, unlike other water companies in Suffolk County. For over a decade, the SCWA has been reporting enormous amounts of Pb-210 to the State and EPA -- hundreds of times its NYS and EPA MCL of 4 mrem/yr -- but no test results for its Alpha-emitting progeny, Po-210, which has an MCL of 15 pCi/L.
Since Po-210 has a Half-Life of 140 days compared to 22 years for its grandparent (Pb-210), it is often used to accurately calculate Pb-210 concentrations using Bateman’s Equations. But according to Suffolk County Executive Bellone, a mysterious “anomaly of the analysis” caused hundreds of Pb-210 test results to be deemed erroneous in 2013. He didn’t explain why the NYSDOH failed to close these wells a decade before the discovery of this “anomaly of the analysis”. They remain in service in Shirley creating patients for Long Island’s thriving "Cancer Industry".
It seems the County Executive didn’t read the SCWA’s 2012 water quality report, or earlier versions certified by County-appointed water managers; including this statement: "In 2011 we monitored for radon, and gross alpha and beta particles at 87 locations throughout our distribution system. The results for each distribution area are noted on pages 13 through 19. Overall, the test results for radon ranged from non-detect (no radon found) to 303 pCi/L. Currently there is no established state or federal MCL for radon." (Quote from
 “REPORT OF STATEWIDE SURVEILLANCE FOR RADON IN SELECTED COMMUNITY WATER SYSTEMS, NEW YORK STATE 1989 – 1990”; September 1990, by David Axelrod, M.D., New York State Department of Health Commissioner and Kenneth E. Slade, P.E., Bureau of Public Water Supply Protection Contaminant Studies Section. [www.gfxtechnology.com/1990-Rn.pdf]
 “RADON IN DRINKING WATER”, March 1988, by David Harris, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS), & Aldo Andreoli, P.E., Director, Division of Environmental Health. [www.gfxtechnology.com/1988-Rn.pdf]
Radon Chimneys and Smog
 Dozens of radionuclides tables @ www.gfxtechnology.com/Radon.html show huge amounts of Radon gas from deep, glacial aquifers capped by thick layers of impervious clay are being brought to the surface by 773 community wells up to 710 feet deep that act as “Radon Chimneys” that emit “Radon Smog” 9 times heavier than air. As this radioactive smog spreads over Suffolk’s homes, Pine Barrens and rich farmland, it quickly decays into seven (7) radioactive metals. Only Pb-210 and Po-210 are regulated by Table 7 “Radiological Maximum Contaminant Level Determination” @ www.health.ny.gov/regulations/nycrr/title_10/part_5/subpart_5-1_tables.htm and Table 16. “Additional Contaminants for which Reporting is Required Pursuant to 5-1.72 (e)-(h) of this Subpart.”
 Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone posted these erroneous comments on his Facebook page: “With respect to your specific questions, radon levels are naturally low on Long Island compared with background levels in other areas of the country, tritium levels have been well under drinking water standards, and there have been no confirmed significant detections of lead-210 (which is a naturally occurring radionuclide for which there is currently no drinking water standard)…The Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Office of Water Resources currently tests all community water supply wells for radionuclides every 3 years, except that Suffolk County Water Authority wells closest to Brookhaven National Laboratory are sampled every year as a precaution. In addition, there is also a monitoring well network up gradient of the Suffolk County Water Authority Wells that are frequently sampled by Suffolk County Department of Health Services staff, Suffolk County Water Authority and Brookhaven National Laboratory. This sampling exceeds the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act…The NYSDOH, the USEPA, and the SCDHS have previously reviewed the Suffolk County Water Authority’s Annual Water Quality Report supplements that included detections of Lead-210. However, these detections were determined to be likely false positives, and subsequent resampling by SCWA in 2013 did not identify any detections. The standard error, also known as uncertainty, for nearly all of the historical detections were close to or more than the actual measurements reported by Suffolk County Water Authority’s contract laboratory. The Suffolk County Water Authority has investigated the high uncertainties and they were informed by their contract laboratory that the results were an anomaly of the analysis.” [Quotation from Exhibit A @ www.gfxtechnology.com/Rn-Fraud.html is also contradicted by SCWA test results in Exhibits C and D.]
EDITOR"S NOTE: After publishing this editorial and Dr. Vasile's Research on radon, I was contacted by Dr. Vasile who added this valuable information to the topic. The following response by Dr. Vasile was provided to answer a question posed by one of our readers.
Do GAC filters become Radioactive?
GAC tanks capture radon atoms in the water and hold them until most have decayed away. As they decay they emit gamma radiation. Walking by a GAC tank would not present any risk. A GAC tank however should never be located within a few feet of where a person spends hours at a time. A second consideration is that the carbon in the tank needs to be replaced before it accumulates too much Lead 210, a by-product of radon . GAC systems should only be used for water that has up to 20,000 pCi/l in the water. In order to be at the maximum allowable Lead 210, a carbon tank needs to be efficiently filtering radon in water in a four person house for about 5 years. If there is half as much radon in the water or half as much water usage then it would take twice as long to get to the same level or about 10 years.
" Alpha radiation is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L). If alpha radiation is detected at or above 5 pCi/L in your home well, additional testing is needed to pinpoint the source. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set 15 pCi/L as the maximum contaminant level for public drinking water supplies. Yet New York State has not established any MCL for radon in our municipal drinking water supplies. This level is calculated as the total alpha radiation minus uranium and radon."
"Radon in Water Mitigation information for reducing radon in well water using aeration treatment and GAC radon in water removal " @ http://www.wpb-radon.com/radon_in_water_information.html#safe
" Radon in Water Mitigation information for reducing radon in well water using aeration treatment and GAC radon in water removal" @ http://www.wpb-radon.com/radon_in_water_information.html#city wtr
The latter states: " Are there any government Radon in Water action levels? The EPA has been trying to set guidelines for maximum levels of radon in water for municipal water systems for more than a decade. In 1999 the EPA proposed a double standard that set a level of 300 pCi/l for sates that had no radon in air program and 4000 pCi/l for states that have an active radon in air program. There are presently no recommended action levels from the EPA. The following New England states have set their own recommended action levels.
State Vermont Conn. Rhode Island Mass. Maine
pCi/L 4000 5000 5000 10,000 4000
Pennsylvania has not set a recommended action level of radon
4,000 is a lot higher than the 5 pCi/L stated on Attachment pg. 1
SCWA lies about it's Level per attachment Pg. 3
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
WARNINGS OF DEADLY BURNING OF BERYLLIUM DATE BACK TO 1972...YET HUNTINGTON INCINERATOR AND NORTHPORT POWER STATION STILL BURNING
FREELANCE INVESTIGATIONS EDITORIAL
A safety bulletin about Beryllium warning of the deadly nature of the metal when machined or burned dates back to October of 1972. Why then are any amounts of Beryllium still allowed to be burned in Huntington's Waste-to-Energy Facility every single day?
Beryllium is found in electronics, microwaves, airbags, and is used for luggage, clothing, aircraft parts and a whole range of consumer products that contain Beryllium.
Beryllium is deadly toxic when burned and inhaled in either a vapor, dust or particle form. Why then does the permit for the Covanta Facility in Huntington allow Beryllium to be burned 24 hours a day 365 days a year? Even the major United States manufacturer of Beryllium; Brush Wellman Corporation, warns of the dangers of burning Beryllium and the fact that even small amounts in vapor, dust or particle form that are inhaled, are deadly toxic and can lead to Chronic Beryllium Disease also known as Berylliosis.
Beryllium (Be) metal is the only stable lightweight metal with a high melting point; it has a high strength-to-weight ratio; and its alloying property confers to metals resistance to corrosion, vibration and shock.
Beryllium and its compounds are toxic in varying degrees. The hazard from exposure to these substances develops during material working and use. Soluble Beryllium compounds are generally more toxic than insoluble Beryllium compounds, however, due to the insidious nature of the physiological action of Beryllium as shown from recorded minute exposures, the Threshold Limit Value (TLV) recommended by the American Conference of Government and Industrial Hygienist (ACGIH) is 0.002 mg/cu meter of air.
The TLV of airborne Beryllium is minute and requires stringent engineering controls and safety procedures to assure personnel exposure is avoided. Due to the varying uses of Beryllium and its compounds and the various fabrication procedures that may be encountered the following general procedure shall be followed by all employees, departments and test facilities encountering Beryllium or any of its compounds or alloys.
1. The Corporate Safety Department shall be notified of any operation or procedure that may result in personnel being exposed to any form of Beryllium, its compounds or alloys.
2. The following information shall be required at the time of the Corporate Safety Department notification:
a. The Beryllium containing substance.
b. The quantity of this substance to be handled.
c. The handling operation involved (i.e., milling, drilling, etc.)
d. The number of personnel exposed
e. The physical location of where the Beryllium substances are to be used
Chronic Beryllium Disease and Beryllium Sensitivity Disease symptoms include but are not limited to: rashes, dermatitis, conjunctivitis and eye ulcers, enlarged heart, kidney problems and chronic sinusitis. If Beryllium in dust, vapor or particle form is introduced through the skin by a cut or puncture, non-healing ulcers may develop with target organs being; lungs, mucous membranes eyes and skin . ( Genium Publishing Corporation-Beryllium Metal/Powder)
Beryllium production was halted by Brush Wellman, the nation’s largest producer of Beryllium, in 2000 primarily due to economic and occupational and health reasons according to William Greenwalt, the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Industrial Policy) for the United States.
Beryllium use in Europe is strictly limited and regulated by CERN, their nuclear regulatory agency which was already limiting future use and production for safety and health reasons as far back as 1985.
Beryllium production in the United States will continue unimpeded however. Thanks to the need by the Department of Defense for the military and aerospace applications, a brand new facility opened in Elmore, Ohio in 2011.
RISK TO FIREFIGHTERS INCREASING EXPONENTIALLY
Due to the fact that Beryllium is increasingly being used in cell phones and other modern technological devices this raises the question: are automobile, office building, airline or other fires currently being approached with the proper breathing apparatus and full coverage garments suggested when dealing with fires that contain Beryllium?
Were the first responders of 9-11 checked for Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD), which requires an expensive and specific test (BeLPT) and can take decades to present its symptoms? Almost none have been tested for anything but Sarcoidosis, according to sources.
BURNING OF BERYLLIUM ALLOWED AT NEW YORK INCINERATORS DESPITE DEADLY WARNINGS AND DOCUMENTED HEALTH RISKS
Another serious question pertains to the fact that the EPA in New York allows the burning of Beryllium in the incinerators at all on Long Island or anywhere. This again, despite the fact that any and all sources with knowledge of Beryllium, including the Brush Wellman website strictly warn against being exposed to any level of Beryllium in a vapor, dust or particle form.
According to the National Jewish Health website "Studies have shown that breathing even seemingly trivial amounts of Beryllium can cause Chronic Beryllium Sensitization Disease and Chronic Beryllium Disease... Although it primarily attacks the lungs, it can also cause a rash, poor wound healing, or wart-like skin bumps, if it enters the body through an opening in the skin, such as a sliver or cut."
HUNTINGTON FACILITY BURNS BERYLLIUM EVERY SINGLE DAY
Despite these warnings against any exposure to Beryllium in vapor, dust or particle form, the permit for the Covanta Incinerator in Huntington allows for emissions of .0002 lbs/hour of Beryllium. (This limit represents BACT.) The permit is issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation in compliance with standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The permit also allows for the burning of a percentage of lead and mercury. The percentage of volume of lead allowed to be burned is roughly 1400 times as much as that of Beryllium, evidencing how toxic Beryllium actually is.
Freelance Investigations contacted Brush Wellman and asked if any amount of Beryllium being burned in incinerators that are located near neighborhoods would be safe. The following was the reply:
"The U.S. EPA restricts the amount of human-created beryllium that may be released into the air, which includes such sources as incinerators, industry and electric utilities. Electric utilities generate more than three times the volume of human-created beryllium released to air than the other sources combined. To ignore this and focus singularly on incinerators would, in our opinion, provide a very incomplete and potentially misleading representation of the facts. Moreover, I believe you should contact the US EPA for their views on the efficacy of their standards. That is our response to your inquiry. Thank you. Patrick Carpenter" (Brush Wellman) info in parenthesis added.
The Northport Power Station on Waterside Avenue and Eatons Neck Road, owned by National Grid also has permission to burn measured amounts of Beryllium and radionuclides. National Grid bought 53 old power plants from Key Span. Covanta operates several incinerators in neighborhoods on Long Island. Brookhaven Laboratory also has its own incinerator and it was burning radioactive waste and burying the fly ash in the ground and landfills, according to BNL reports.
According to the NPS AIR PERMITS for the Northport Power Station:
This facility consists of four (4) 385 MWe nominal turbine/generator boiler sets operating on natural gas, #1, #2, or #6 fuel oils. In addition, a 15 MWe nominal black start combustion turbine is maintained on site to meet load demand and emergency power requirements. In addition to #1, #2 and #6 fuel oil and natural gas, these boilers burn waste oil generated on site and at other company facilities for energy recovery, and incinerate citrosolv, a boiler cleaning solution, following boiler chemical cleaning. There are five (5) main tanks used for storing #6 fuel oil, ranging from 13,524,000 to 27,035,000 gallons. In addition, there are numerous smaller tanks used for storing distillate, lubrication and/or dielectric oils.
NESHAP National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (40 CFR 61) - contaminant and source specific emission standards established prior to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) which were developed for 9 air contaminants (inorganic arsenic, radon, benzene, vinyl chloride, asbestos, mercury, Beryllium, radionuclides, and volatile HAP’s)
Secret projects were carried out at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and other sites on Long Island, where uranium was enriched for use in our nuclear arsenal and Beryllium was used in a multitude of military and other applications. This made dosage levels of people exposed to these carcinogenic elements impossible to calculate. It can sometimes take decades for the effects of Beryllium exposure to exhibit, and any person who was or is at risk because of exposure can now get financial and medical help through the Department of Labor, NIOSH and the EEOICPA.
In an earlier article, Freelance Investigations revealed there would now be money and medical compensation available for anyone working at Brookhaven National Laboratories or the old Sylvania Property in Hicksville, as well as their contractors and subcontractors during certain years. These people are presumed to have been exposed to Beryllium and radiation in levels that would be harmful to their health. One of the larger local contractors connected to BNL, where Beryllium was used extensively was Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, Long Island. Anyone who worked there may be entitled to a free medical screening. Anyone who had a relative who worked there and is deceased from one of twenty three cancers or other covered medical conditions may also be entitled to monetary compensation. (See Freelance Investigations Article archives January 2010).
The following important information is provided to help people understand what Beryllium is what it does and the nature of its' effect on people's health, if they are exposed.
Brush Wellman Inc. is the nation's largest manufacturer and distributor of Beryllium, Beryllium Alloys and Beryllium Ceramics. The following information was gleaned from documents contained on their website.
Beryllium as a solid is not toxic. Beryllium dust or particulates created during machining or other processes can be highly carcinogenic and toxic if breathed into the lungs or if it settles on skin or in the eyes.
Beryllium is the fourth element on the periodic table of elements. Its' symbol is Be and it has an atomic weight of 9.01.
Beryllium is the second lightest metal we know, (the lightest is Lithium). Beryllium though light, is one tough metal and is used in the nuclear power industry for blast shields and reflectors and as a neutron moderator.
Beryllium has a very high melting point of 1,278 degrees C and has a very low density, which makes it ideal for use in military applications such as nuclear warheads, jet fighters (in F-16's and F-22's Be is used in over 340 parts), helicopters, spacecraft and satellites. It is used in the landing gear and brakes in military aircraft where only 100% Beryllium is used. In commercial aircraft they are most likely to use Beryllium alloys. Beryllium is used in the "gimbals" in which the Navy gyroscopes are mounted as it has high levels of elasticity.
Beryllium is used in the oil and gas industry for drill bits, because it is non-sparking and also for military optics, infrared and surveillance systems and sensors in military satellites.
Beryllium Oxide Ceramics (BeO) another division of Brush Wellman produces this ceramic material which is perfect for producing circuits, such as those carrying high currents or very dense circuitry, because it can withstand extremes in temperature and rapidly dissipates heat. Ideal for the wireless, telecommunications, power electronics, energy, medical and aerospace industries, beryllium ceramics allows for improved electrical performance particularly at high frequencies.
Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) is a lung disease for which there is no cure and which over
time will become fatal. The tissues of the lungs become inflamed and over time, fibrosis (scarring)
may restrict the oxygen flow between the lungs and the bloodstream.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists Beryllium as a known carcinogenic.
Although today the major players in the industry like Brush Wellman follow all the safety rules when handling Beryllium, as for Beryllium alloys and ceramics, years ago, things were different and regulations were non-existent.
When handled properly, there is little or no problem working with Beryllium. According to their website, Brush Wellman always takes great pains to ensure that regulations regarding its' handling and all International, Federal and State regulations are strictly followed.
Following is the label which accompanies Beryllium during shipment.
INHALING DUST OR FUMES MAY CAUSE CHRONIC BERYLLIUM DISEASE, A SERIOUS CHRONIC
LUNG DISEASE, IN SOME INDIVIDUALS. CANCER HAZARD. OVER TIME, LUNG DISEASE AND
CANCER CAN BE FATAL. TARGET ORGAN IS PRIMARILY THE LUNG.
READ THE MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET (MSDS) ON FILE WITH YOUR EMPLOYER BEFORE WORKING WITH THIS MATERIAL.
Overexposure to beryllium by inhalation may cause chronic beryllium disease, a serious chronic lung disease.
• If processing or recycling produces airborne dust, fumes, or mists, use exhaust ventilation or other controls
designed to prevent exposure to workers. Examples of such activities include melting, machining, welding,
grinding, abrasive sawing, sanding and polishing. Any activity which abrades the surface of this material can
generate airborne dust.
• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set mandatory limits on occupational
• Beryllium metal, in solid form and as contained in finished products presents no special health risks.
• Sold for manufacturing purposes only. This product can be recycled; contact your sales representative.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide training in the proper use of this
Calls to the State EPA and the New York State DEC to ask the reason for them allowing incinerators to burn any amount of Beryllium- considering the toxic nature of Beryllium in vapor, dust or particle form- were not returned as of time of publication. Any comments they would like to add to this would always be welcome.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Some Good News For 9/11 First Responders...FealGood Foundation Optimistic But Still Working Hard on Their Behalf
Statement from the FealGood Foundation Regarding the Victim's Compensation Fund's Third Annual Report
Friends – After reviewing the new statistics put out by the VCF today at www.vcf.gov , we at the FealGood Foundation are encouraged and remain optimistic that the VCF has turned the corner in rendering awards to those who have waited to long for compensation. The new statistics show a dramatic increase in award determinations, and we expect another dramatic increase by the VCF’s next Annual Report. The VCF has an obligation to the 9/11 Community at large, and we believe they are closer each day to streamlining a process that will meet the demands of thousands who suffer. While we see the improvement each day, and with each report, we at the FGF will not rest until the VCF meets its goal by 2016. That means working with all parties involved to ensure everyone eligible has been given their just award. The VCF, the Law Firms, the WTC Health Clinics need to continue to work in harmony and continue to keep an open dialogue and share new ideas to implement so we all see this process working at its best.
The FealGood Foundation
Contact: John Feal 631 724 3320/// firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Disputed Witness Statements Obtained by Suffolk Detectives; Tavares and Leser in Another Murder Case?
FREELANCE INVESTIGATIONS' EXCLUSIVE
Allegedly the Accused was Denied Access to An Attorney...Was Never Mirandized and Detectives Allegedly Falsified Statements and Allegedly Attempted to Bribe Witnesses...
A Pattern of Behavior Emerges for Suffolk County Detectives?
Last week a murder conviction was thrown out and a new trial ordered by the judge because the prosecution in the case never revealed the role of two detectives in the case who have been discredited in at least two other cases. And now there is another man sitting in jail, Shawn Lawrence, awaiting trial for a different murder he says he did not commit and he claims the same two detectives also used false and/or coerced witness statements to arrest him in his case.
Both cases involve Brady violations and allegations of false witness statements, according to documents obtained by Freelance Investigations. According to the attorney for the man awaiting trial "Both Detectives Tavares and Leser are involved in the Lawrence case and will be subpoenaed to court if the People do not present them."
The two Suffolk County Detectives; Ronald Tavares and Charles Leser are already under investigation for a discredited confession over three years ago in Huntington Station and another case recently reported by Newsday ("Murder Confession in Dispute" by Sandra Peddie and Andrew Smith; June 22, 2014). They may have also violated procedures in another murder case about to go to trial, according to the attorney for Shawn Lawrence the man charged in a 2010 murder.
Court Appointed Attorney, Joseph Hanshe, of Sayville, said his client, Shawn Lawrence, who is currently incarcerated awaiting trial for the 2010 murder of James Terry and shooting of David Hodges and Ralph Counsel, had a similar experience with those homicide officers involved in his case. He also alleges misconduct of another Suffolk County Detective, Thomas Walsh, who allegedly attempted to bribe a witness in the case to lie and pressured him to sign a document known to contain false statements. Detectives, including Detective Walsh, Detective Ronald Tavares and another Detective, John McCleer, also allegedly went to his home and threatened one of the witnesses with jail time if he did not sign the falsified witness statement.
Ralph Counsel, one of the shooting victims, is going to testify that Mr. Lawrence was NOT one of the shooters, according to the court appointed investigator who interviewed Mr. Counsel.
DETECTIVES ALLEGEDLY THREATEN WITNESS WITH JAIL
According to an April 14, 2014 letter from Mr. Hanshe to the Judge in the case, William J. Condon in Suffolk County Supreme Court, "A witness I subpoenaed for the hearing and trial (in the Lawrence case), Mr. Burwell has advised me that the homicide detectives are at his door threatening him with jail time unless he signs a document in their possession." Mr. Burwell had contacted the attorney several times that day to document the harassment and attempts to have him "sign a document against his best interest and understanding under threat of jail time", according to the letter. Mr. Burwell was not even at the scene of the crime and was at the home of Ms. Sherry Morant, according to Mr. Hanshe and a written statement from Tariq Burwell.
In June of 2012, Michael Mastronardi, President of Metropolitan Security & Special Services had his associate James Contino interview Ms. Sherry Morant and Tariq Burwell:
They indicated that Ms. Morant is the cousin of Angela Wilson, described as the common law wife of the deceased, James Terry. Reportedly, Ms. Morant and Mr. Burwell were together on the night of the homicide, 01/12/2010. They received a phone call advising that James Terry had been injured, at which time they drove to Andpress Plaza, the location of the shooting. When they arrived they could not get close to the crime scene because of Police activity. Both Ms. Wilson and Ms. Morant exited the vehicle: Mr. Burwell remained in the car because he had stopped reporting to parole and was fearful of being arrested. Tariq Burwell was adamant that he never spoke to Det. Thomas Walsh and that he never made a statement implicating the client Shawn Lawrence. A signed sworn statement was taken from Tariq Burwell, he and Ms. Morant have indicated a willingness to testify in court if requested. (From the Report by Mastronardi/Contino)
According to Mr. Hanshe:
Det. Walsh allegedly obtained a statement from Tariq Burwell that it was Allan McGhee (who has taken a plea) and Shawn Lawrence that were the shooters in the James Terry murder in North Amityville, NY . I subpoenaed Burwell to the pretrial hearings and he denied under oath that he gave any statements to the Police. The Police disclosed the statement allegedly obtained by Det. Walsh at the Hearings wherein Burwell was said to have stated that he was in a particular room at the Andpress Plaza and witnessed the shooting.
We have interviewed 4 witnesses, including the owner of the room; including Tariq Burwell who noted he was not there that evening. Tavares and Leser provided a statement that Burwell denies signing, that says he gave this statement to Walsh. Both Tavaris and Leser are trying to cover Walsh. Tavares and Leser did the same thing that is noted in the recent front page Newsday article. (July 25, 2014 "Murder Conviction Tossed" by Andrew Smith.)
NOT MIRANDIZED...DENIED ATTORNEY PHONE CALL...?
Mr. Hanshe also said his client was denied his rights to an attorney after a video of the police interrogation shows him asking for an attorney many times in the first ten minutes of the interview. The interview was conducted on April 14, 2012 and lasted for over four hours without Mr. Lawrence being Mirandized or given a chance to have an attorney present, despite the fact that the police report of the interview clearly stated "During the interview process, at approximately 1445 hours, Shawn Lawrence invoked his right to council."
When the attorney cross examined Detective McCleery on May 1, 2014 as part of a Huntley Hearing, he admitted they continued to interview or interrogate him after he had asked to speak to his attorney several times.
(Huntley or Miranda hearings: The Huntley hearing is a hearing about statements that prosecutors claim an accused made. At the Huntley hearing, the accused challenges the way the police obtained the statements.)
On page 14 of (Huntley Hearing) court documents obtained by Freelance Investigations, Detective McCleery is asked about the day of the arrest of Mr. Lawrence by Mr. Hanshe, Mr. Lawrence's attorney.
Q: (Mr. Hanshe) Now, at that time, when you put the handcuffs on, was he read his Miranda rights?
A: (Det. McCleery) He was not.
The time of the arrest was 1:42pm when he was told he was under arrest and he was handcuffed behind his back in East Farmingdale on Route 110. The officers did not mention the charges were for murder until they got him into the car. They arrived in Yaphank at 2:17, a little over half an hour later.
Later in the Huntley Hearing, comments that were supposedly uttered in the car by Mr. Lawrence before he was Mirandized ,were written down by the Detectives during the car ride and some were written after the car ride by the Detective from his memory, according to Detective McCleery's testimony.
Page 24 (Huntley Hearing)
Q: (Hanshe) Now ,when you were writing this or when he was making these comments in the backseat of the car, was Detective Walsh talking to him?
A: (Det. McCleery) Well at that point he was trying to tell him to calm down. And at one point he attempted to read him his rights.
Q: (Hanshe) And that was not effectuated, correct?
A: (Det. McCleery) No, it was not.
Q: (Hanshe) Actually his rights weren't read to him until he eventually got to police headquarters, correct?
A: ( Det. McCleery) No, that is incorrect sir.
Q: (Hanshe) He never got his rights read to him, correct?
A: (Det. McCleery) That's correct.
Page 33 (Huntley Hearing)
The first Detective goes into question Mr. Lawrence who is handcuffed to the wall and the "interview" is on video with other Detectives able to view it on a 42" screen outside the interrogation room.
Q: (Hanshe to Detective McCleery) And Detective Sargent Best began to ask questions and Mr. Lawrence said, "I want a lawyer, I want a lawyer, I want a lawyer. I want my family here. I want to be able to call them ." is that correct?
A: (Det. McCleery) Actually, I think he said I am not going to answer any questions, I want my lawyer here, I want to contact my people. But I'm not certain of the exact words, but those three things.
About thirty five minutes had passed since Mr. Lawrence was in the room...
Pages 36-37 (Huntley Hearing)
Q: (Mr. Hanshe) Now who--you said Detective Best was the first officer to begin to talk to or interrogate Mr. Lawrence, right?
A: (Det. McCleery) I would not use the word interrogate, no sir.
Q: (Hanshe) You would use interview?
A: (Det. McCleery) Well, actually that's not what it is called, date of interview...It's to obtain basic pedigree. It's not interrogation.
Q: (Hanshe) There are questions and he asked those questions-and at that point Mr. Lawrence said , " I want a lawyer," Correct?
A: (Det. McCleery) Actually, I don't know how many questions he actually answered, if any.
Q: (Hanshe) I don't think he answered any. He wanted-I think he made a statement saying, "I want a lawyer", correct?
A: (Det. McCleery) I don't recall the exact words, but words to that effect, "I'm not answering any questions, I want to talk to my lawyer and I want to call my people."
Detectives McCleery, Walsh and Serratta were all watching this "interview" of Mr. Lawrence from the video screen outside the interrogation (interview) room.
Page 37 (Huntley Hearing)
Q: (Hanshe) And when he asked for a lawyer and his people, that was not provided to him right then and there, was it?
A: (Det. McCleery) What was not provided to him?
Q: (Hanshe) His telephone and the ability to make a phone call to his lawyer?
A: (Det. McCleery) No. Those calls were not made then, no.
Q: (Hanshe) Okay, is it the policy of the Department to after a prisoner asks for a lawyer to continue talking to him?
A: (Det. McCleery) Well, interrogation ceases at that point.
Q: (Hanshe) So we switch from interview to interrogation now?
At that point DA Newcombe speaks up saying "Your honor, he just asked about the procedures."
The Court (Justice William Condon) "Yeah. You're dealing with semantics there..but--
The topic changes..to the supplemental report of the arrest that was filled out by Charles Leser (page 5) and the fact that despite Officer McCleery saying Mr. Lawrence made these statements in the car, where the form requires the date and time of any statements made and the names of the persons or officers who heard them...the form reads..."None was made." This despite the fact that the detectives had a page of statements allegedly made in the car, before he was ever Mirandized and not on any tape, but most of which was hand written after the fact at the station by a police officer.
Eventually, Mr. Lawrence is allowed to call Mr. Murphy, his attorney and then he called his fiance.
Page 61 (Huntley Hearing)
Detective Walsh sat in the room while Mr. Lawrence spoke to his attorney and according to Detective McCleery, who was questioned about this, "That is standard procedure".
Page 63 (Huntley Hearing)
Q: (Mr. Hanshe to Detective McCleery) All the time you were present with Mr. Lawrence, his Miranda rights were never explained to him correct?
A: (Detective McCleery) Correct.
Q: (Hanshe) And to your knowledge, all the time he was in the interview room his Miranda rights were never explained to him or told to him?
A: (Det. McCleery) He was never advised of Miranda...That is correct.
According to Court Documents Mr. Lawrence was "interviewed" from 2:20 pm until 7pm when he was transported to the 1st Pct on Route 109 in Babylon where they arrived at 7:27 pm.
MR. LAWRENCE VOLUNTARILY TOOK AND
On September 19, 2012 Mr. Lawrence passed a polygraph that he volunteered to take to prove his innocence. Although not admissible in Court, lie detector results are often used by law enforcement to narrow down the probability that a suspect is guilty, especially when someone volunteers to take a test, it is seen as cooperative on many levels. Although Mr. Lawrence was asked many questions and the test was conducted by a credentialed professional, the three relevant questions were:
On January 12, 2010 were you on the property of Andpress Plaza in North Amityville anytime after 10 pm?
On January 12, 2010 did you at any time hold a gun in your hand?
On January 12, 2010 did you shoot at James Terry, David Hodges and Ralph Counsel while they were in the van?
RESULTS: Based on the pretest interview I had with Mr. Lawrence, the polygraph examination I conducted and the physiological data I evaluated, in my opinion:
Mr. Lawrence DID NOT shoot the three individuals that were at Andpress Plaza, North Amityville on January 12, 2010 at about 11:15 pm as charged.
(Test Conducted and opinion by Joel M. Reicherter, Certified Polygraph Examiner 1997-present: Adjunct Instructor for United States Department of Defense, National Center for Credibility Assessment; Former Instructor: American International Institute for Polygraph, 1988-present Adjunct Professor, Suffolk County Community College...)
ANOTHER WITNESS DENIES HE MADE PHOTO-LINE UP ID...
AND ALLEGES BRIBE
Another witness in the case against Mr. Lawrence, James D. Jones, also denies he signed a photo line-up picking Mr. Lawrence as the shooter. Mr. Jones subsequently signed a notarized statement claiming that Detective Walsh attempted at the precinct to bribe him with $50 dollars to sign a statement he did not write. In the December 24, 2013 written statement, Mr. Jones stated he was up for seven days and off his psychotropic medicine when the alleged signed statement obtained by Detective Walsh in April was allegedly taken. He does not remember ever signing it.
I did not see Allen McGhee around the vicinity where James Terry was killed. I've known Allen McGhee for approximately 25 years. Detective Walsh attempted to bribe me with $50.00 at the precinct. He also showed me pictures of Shawn Lawrence and Allen McGhee. I was up for seven days and was without my psychotropic medication. I don't remember if I did or did not sign something. I believe this was in April according to my arrest papers. I've been clean for four months and under no illusion.
I remembered Detective Walsh's phone number 631-831-3793. He placed a visit here at Riverhead to see me with Investigator Santa Cruz present. He had (Detective Walsh) had no business questioning me about Allan McGhee or Shawn Lawrence. Anybody can identify Shawn Lawrence and Allan McGhee when they know them their entire life. I did see 3 people enter The Andpress Plaza through the whole in the fence. I did see someone shooting in the rear Plaza parking lot. I did see James Terry's van and someone shooting. I did see people running. I was by Angela Page's apartment earlier. I stated that they were three people running through the fence. They were too far to see the faces. I saw theyre body types. If a statement was written in April, I was on drugs known as crack cocaine was not taking my Haldol Dekka. I am diagnosed as Schizo-effected and was in-out of the hospital during April, May and June.
Today I am not on any drugs and am on regulated medication. I remember in April them saying they were not going to charge me with whatever I was locked up for. The SCPD did charge me anyway. Det. Walsh told me if I needed to contact him to do so through Investigator Santa Cruz as he did not want a record of me calling him from the jail phone.
James Jones Notarized Statement December 13, 2012
On May 27, 2010 Detective Charles Leser (Shield # 0951) and Detective Ronald Tavares (Shield # 1157) say they interviewed Tariq Burwell of Bay Shore about the murder of James Terry that occurred on January 12, 2010. Mr. Burwell has a history of drug possession and lives in Wyndanch.
Charles Leser showed Tariq Burwell a photo line-up and supposedly he picked out a person known to him as "Zig" aka Shawn Lawrence...Mr. Leser signed the line-up. James Jones also allegedly picked Shawn Lawrence, "Zig" and another shooter Allan McGhee aka "LA" out of a photo line-up. Mr. Jones however denies that the words on the photo-line-up are his and the initials and signature on the line-up document in no way match the name or signature on his notarized statement. The handwriting is different and the spelling of Allen McGhee's name is different as well.
Mr. Burwell signed an affidavit on June 19, 2012 that contained the following statement:
According to Detective Walsh's Felony Complaint (that was never signed by anyone), Mr. Burwell's identification of Mr. Lawrence was the sole reason for the arrest. How can this be possible asks Mr. Lawrence from jail?
On January 12, 2010 at approximately 11:15 pm I was at home (address redacted) Wyndanch, New York with Ms. Sherry Morant when she received a phone call from Angie Wilson (her cousin) advising that Ms. Wilson's common law husband had been shot at Ampress Plaza, N. Amityville, NY.
James Terry and Ms. Wilson have 3 children together. Ms Morant and I picked Angie up at her house and drove her to Ampress Plaza. However we were not able to get close to the crime scene. Ms. Wilson got out of the car with Ms. Morant. I never left the car because I was wanted for violating my parole.
To the best of my recollection I have never spoken to Detective Walsh and I never gave him a statement identifying Shawn Lawrence as shooting James Terry or anyone else on 1/12/2010 (Notarized Affidavit of Tariq Burwell June 19, 2012)
The Police Department in Suffolk County have two other written statements allegedly made by Tariq Burwell. He denies ever writing or signing either one. One is two pages long supposedly taken in May of 2010 allegedly witnessed by Detective Charles E. Leser, the other dated February 7, 2010 and was allegedly witnessed by Detective Thomas Walsh.
Statement of Tariq Burwell taken by Detective Thomas Walsh (The signatures do not appear to match in any way.)
I , Tariq Burwell Being Duly Sworn Deposes and says: I am 32 years old. I have provided Detective Walsh with my address and phone number.
On January 12, I was at the Andpress Plaza Apartments, Harrison Avenue, N. Amityville. I got there about 9:30 am and stayed there until after midnight.
Sometime around 8:30 pm I went to Ronda's Apartment to buy some loose cigarettes. Ronda lives in Apartment # (redacted) in Andpress Plaza. While I was inside Ronda's apartment the people in there were talking about a fight that happened earlier between Ronda's brother "Fraz" and another black guy I know "LA". They said the fight was over some shrimp or some seafood. A guy in the apartment (never identified) said to "Fraz" that he better be careful because "LA" plays with them guns and he'll be back, he going to go home and get that gun. Fraz said he wasn't scared of the young guys. I left the apartment and went to hang out at my friend Dashone's Apartment. (Never interviewed???) Dashone's real name is Carl Andrews and he lives in Apartment # (redacted) in the Plaza. At about 10:50 PM I went outside and spoke with James Terry who was sitting in the driver's seat of his van that was parked in the parking lot behind Dashone's Apartment. I went up to the driver's side of the van. I saw "Fraz" sitting in the middle of the back seat.
(Editor's Note: Ralph Counsel was in the back seat when he was shot in the buttocks).
James asked me if I had any work for him. I told him no. I spoke with James for about a minute then went back into Dashone's Apartment. I went to the back of the apartment to smoke a cigarette, Dashone, his girlfriend and another girl were playing cards at the living room table. As I was smoking, I was looking out the back window. I saw James Terry's van start to back out of the parking space it was in. At the same time I heard voices outside the window I was looking out. The window was open a few inches to let the smoke out but the blinds were open. I then saw a black guy I know as "Zig" and another black guy I know as "LA"walk from near my window toward Jame Terry's van, "Zig" is a tall black male, 6'3", Bald Head and a Goatee. (e in James is missing in statement). He is me (crossed out in statement) Has a medium build. I know "Zig" for about fifteen years. "Zig" was wearing a black hoodie and black pants. "LA" is a short, chubby black male, shorter than 5'8'. I've known "LA" for about 3 weeks. I don't know "Zig's" government name. As they walked toward James Terry's van I saw "Zig" with a Black semi-automatic handgun in his right hand.
Editor's note: Mr. Lawrence is left handed.
I also saw "LA" with a chrome or silver handgun. "LA" was wearing a black ski cap, brown sweatshirt and Black (crossed out) Dark Pants. I saw a third black guy, 5' 6", thin to medium build, wearing all black. That guy was with "LA" and "Zig" but I don't know his name. As they approached the van I heard "LA" exchange words with someone in the van. I couldn't hear what they were saying, I saw "Zig" raise his gun, point it at Jame Terry's van (e again left off name) and start shooting. "LA" immediately started shooting his gun at the van, "LA" was standing by the driver's door of the van and "Zig" was standing near the rear passenger door. I heard multiple shots from different guns going off. I actually saw multiple shots being fired at the van. The third guy took of running toward Harrison Ave while "Zig" and
"LA" kept shooting at the van. Then "LA" and "Zig" also ran toward Harrison Ave. As they were running away I heard a couple more shots go off away from the area of the van. I saw the van rolling until it hit a parked car. I saw "Fraz" get out of the rear of the van and fall to the ground. I got away from the window and didn't say anything about what I saw until tonight. Also tonight, Detective Walsh showed me six photos of black males. I picked #3 as the guy I knew as "LA". I now know his name to be Allan McGhee. Allan McGhee is one of the guys I saw shooting into James Terry's van on January 12, 2010 at the Andpress Plaza Apartments.
I have read the above statement consisting of three pages and I swear it is all true.
This statement was allegedly witnessed and written for Tariq Burwell by Detective Thomas Walsh and it was also notarized by Detective Walsh as well on February 7, 2010, according to documents obtained by Freelance Investigations.
The next statement the Suffolk County Police Department say Tariq Burwell gave them was on May 27, 2010. This time the officer who said he witnessed Tariq Burwell make and sign the statement was Charles E. Leser. He also wrote the statement for Mr. Burwell and notarized his own witnessing of the statement allegedly given to him by Mr. Burwell and the signature of the alleged witness.
In the May version Mr. Burwell now says there were four men not three, he now identified the other two alleged shooters as "Little Rock" and "J-Rock". He said he was originally afraid to tell the detectives their names as they knew his family, according to his May statement. He also says that all four shooters visited him twice after James Terry was killed and told him they knew he saw the shooting and told him to "...keep it quiet. They said that if the Police came to question me I was not to say anything and I was to ask for a lawyer." In this version Mr. Burwell then changed his story from the first statement again, this time saying it was "LA" who shot first. He was told he "knew the rules of the street" and should not talk to the Police.
Mr. Burwell's signature on this statement also does not appear to match either of the other two statements, including the one from 2012, where he disavows ever signing the first two statements taken by Detective Walsh and Detective Leser.
DETECTIVES AND TAVARES and LESER WRITE ANOTHER FALSE STATEMENT?
In another much publicized case an off-duty Nassau County Police officer who had been drinking all evening shot a cabdriver in Huntington. Originally the cabdriver was arrested but after an internal affairs investigation it was determined he was unlawfully shot and the officer who had been drinking had shot and beat the unarmed cabdriver in Huntington Station. Suffolk County Detectives Ronald Tavares and Charles Leser were also involved in creating an alleged false incriminating statement written by them and signed allegedly by the cabdriver when according to medical records he was "Under the influence of Morphine as a pain medication and after he had been shot twice and had one bullet still in his chest and one in his left arm"
(Newsday June 22, 2013 "Officer's Account of Shooting Contradicted by Internal Affairs Report" by Gus Garcia-Roberts and Sandra Peddie)
The article goes on to note that when the cabdriver/shooting victim who originally was arrested by the Police and eventually was cleared of any wrongdoing finally read the statement Detectives Tavares and Leser wrote and had him sign, it contained numerous false statements including one that described the cabdriver as "revving" his Prius engine and aiming his car at the Officer who shot him. He allegedly signed the statement that said "I felt he (Officer DiLeonardo) fired at me to protect himself because I drove at him." Mr. Moroughan, (the cabdriver) said that was not true, that he tried to get away and backed his car out and drove away.
DID DETECTIVES TAVARES and LESER ALSO DENY HIM AN ATTORNEY?
Mr. Moroughan told internal affairs investigators he asked for an attorney, but was denied one by Detectives Tavares and Leser. One of the detectives wrote a sworn statement for Moroughan and asked him to sign it and the statement indicated that he had been read his rights. Mr. Moroughan's godmother just happened to be a Nassau County Assistant DA at the time, in an interview with both Nassau and Suffolk County Internal Affairs, according to the Newsday article, she heard Mr. Moroughan ask repeatedly for an attorney, repeatedly yelling it over and over and when he saw her he said, "That's my lawyer. That's my lawyer. I want my lawyer." Allegedly the hospital staff was overheard discussing that the Officer involved was drunk, something neither Tavares nor Leser mentioned in their report. According to the Newsday story there were at least three witnesses that neither the Nassau nor the Suffolk Detectives ever bothered to contact regarding the shooting. At least one of these witnesses later corroborated the cabdriver's later version of events as true, not the version written by Suffolk County Detectives Tavares and Leser. The Detectives had him sign the false statement written by them while he was under the influence of morphine and before his surgery to remove the bullets. According to the cabdriver, the Detectives statement falsely had him attacking the Police, not the other way around as determined by the internal affairs investigation.
Grand Jury Empaneled...DA Improprieties Cited
Mr. Hanshe sought relief after the Grand Jury indicted his client writing an affirmation in support of a motion to renew and re-argue before Judge William Condon. Mr. Hanshe noted many improprieties on the part of the Suffolk County prosecutor, Robert Biancavilla including not allowing Mr. Lawrence or his alibi witness to testify, despite the attorney on the case at the time, clearly notifying them of desire to have Mr. Lawrence testify before the Grand Jury and to present the alibi witness to testify. The attorney for Mr. Lawrence at the time did so in advance of DA Biancavilla's presentation to the Grand Jury. Mr. Hanshe sought relief including dismissal of the indictment, Sandevol relief, barring Molineaux evidence, Huntley relief, Wade relief, Mapp/Dunaway relief or in the alternative a hearing on the matter, Discovery and leave to make further motions.
When questioned about it Mr. Biancavilla denied that he failed to communicate the request for testimony to the Grand Jury, falsely stating in a written document to the Court that he never received any notice of the witnesses intention of testifying. Faxed documents however provided to Freelance Investigations clearly show that Mr. Biancavilla was informed in a timely manner despite his denials to the Court on December 4, 2013 when he wrote:
Furthermore, at know time (spelling mistake was Biancavilla's) were the people informed by defendant's attorney, Robert Del Col, Esq., that the defendant wished to present any other witnesses.
On April 18, 2012, the law offices of Robert Del Col, the attorney at the time of the Grand Jury, sent a letter and notice of intent to present an alibi witness to the Grand Jury where the matter was scheduled to be presented the next day on April 19th. The letter was faxed and the fax transmission information is clearly present on the page. The witness Alicia Martin, of Amityville, planned to testify that Shawn Lawrence was with her at the time of the shooting. She never got a chance. In fact Mr. Hanshe noted in his request for a dismissal of the indictment, that the prosecutor let Ms. Martin sit in the DA's office the whole time instead of bringing her to the Grand Jury letting her believe she was going to be called. She never was.
Improprieties in the presentation of the case to the Grand Jury by District Attorney Biancavilla were alleged by Mr. Hanshe in his motion to re-argue and renew included but were not limited to the following:
1. The evidence before the Grand Jury was not legally sufficient to establish the offenses charged or any other lesser offense.
2. The prosecutor's instructions to the Grand Jury were not recorded for each element of each count charged resulting in the minutes being insufficient.
3. Necessary instructions for each count were improperly given or insufficient so as to impair the Grand Jury's ability to intelligently or properly consider the evidence.
4. The Grand Jury was never instructed that statutory presumptions are not conclusive.
5. The Grand Jury was not instructed regarding who decides legal sufficiency which is supposed to fall on the Jurors to decide. It is improper for the prosecutor to inform the Grand Jury that he determined enough evidence existed to warrant an indictment.
6. Inordinate delay between the instructions at the beginning of the term and instructions on the law which only came at the beginning of the presentation.
7. The prosecutor did not give limiting instructions regarding evaluating defendant's prior convictions.
8. The prosecutor failed to answer questions regarding possible lesser offenses.
9. The prosecutor failed to inform the Grand Jury that a prosecution witness testified under a grant of immunity, a cooperation agreement, or a private understanding had been reached as is required.
10. The Grand Jury were not advised to avoid using extensive media coverage or what they may have heard or read elsewhere about the case.
11. A material statement was withheld, to the extent that the Grand Jury was misled.
12. The prosecutor administered the oath to all witnesses instead of the Grand Jury foreperson or other Grand Juror as is proper legal procedure.
13. The prosecutor improperly introduced evidence of the defendants pre-trial silence or improperly commented on the defendants failure to testify before the Grand Jury.
14. The prosecutor foreclosed questioning of a witness by a Grand Juror or prevented a witness from answering a question posed by a Grand Juror. The prosecutor failed to have testimony read back to the Grand Jury.
15. The prosecutor interjected personal beliefs, or opinions or vouched for witness credibility.
16. The prosecutor presented evidence known to be false.
17. The prosecution withdrew the presentation of evidence after a vote was taken and resubmitted without leave of the court.
18. The indictment was based on immunized testimony or testimony compelled under threats.
19. Inadmissible hearsay evidence was presented, either directly through the introduction of out of court statements, exhibits or inferred through the manner in which testimony was presented.
20. Documents were improperly subpoenaed (Improper to issue a "Grand Jury" subpoena while the Grand Jury was not in session).
21. The prosecutor failed to subpoena a witness whom the Grand Jury requested to hear.
22. The prosecutor only introduced the inculpating portions of the defendants statement and failed to introduce exculpatory portions that were a continuous interrogation.
23. The Grand Jury's secrecy and confidentiality was compromised and/or unauthorized persons were present in the Grand Jury or during videotaping testimony made elsewhere, but presented to the Grand Jury.
24. A laboratory report was not properly certified by the same person who conducted the analysis of the ballistics report.
25. The prosecutor presented improper evidence regarding information that served the police officer's determination of probable cause to arrest the defendant. Probable cause is not an element of a charge, is inadmissible even at trial and is therefore irrelevant to a Grand Jury. (According to People v Thomas if this information was presented to potentially prejudice the ultimate decision reached by the Grand Jury,
the proceeding was defective, thus warranting the dismissal of the indictment.)
26. The prosecutor failed to inform the Grand Jury that an alibi witness was present in the DA's Office and was there to testify.
27. The defendant was not afforded a Speedy Trial.
With regard to physical evidence in the case, Mr. Hanshe contends the property was seized in violation of Mr. Lawrence's Fourth Amendment Constitutional Rights.
The evidence seized included units of clothing, a DNA buccal swab, cell phone and computer records and social network records. The warrant under which the property was seized was issued without probable cause and was based on affidavits and/or sworn testimony that contained material and false allegations that were made knowingly and in reckless disregard for the truth. The warrant further failed to describe the things to be seized with particularity and was overly broad and executed beyond its' scope. The warrant was executed at night and was not an authorized "no-knock" warrant and the officers failed to make a timely return of the warrant which failed to contain a direction that the warrant be returned to the court without regard to whether any property seized was seized as a result of the search pursuant to CPL 690.45 (8).
The defense also insisted it seriously doubted the existence of any informant or that the officer truthfully reported in his affidavit in support of the warrant that such informant existed or that he accurately reported the information he allegedly received.
Detective Walsh allegedly suggested to Mr. Burwell and other witnesses that Mr. Lawrence was the perpetrator of the crime. The failures of the court appointed investigator to interview at least 30 witnesses due to lack of money is a serious issue brought to the attention of the Court with Mr. Hanshe requesting additional monies be provided so that his client can get a fair trial.
There is not one shred of physical evidence connecting Mr. Lawrence to this crime and the "eyewitness" testimony of the less than credible witnesses are all that has linked the defendant to this crime, according to Mr. Hanshe. Experts would be needed to establish that "eyewitness" testimony is generally unreliable.
For these and other reasons Mr. Hanshe requested a dismissal of the Grand Jury indictment.
ORIGINAL VIDEO OF SHOOTING DAMAGED BY DA's OFFICE?
A copy of the video of the shooting from the Plaza surveillance tapes clearly shows that the perpetrators of the crime are all shorter than the six foot fence they run past...Mr. Lawrence is 6'4'' and therefore it would appear he could not possibly be one of the shooters. Freelance Investigations has obtained a copy of the video. If the original tape hard drive is damaged and unable to be used in court then Mr. Lawrence's evidence that he is innocent may be lost. Because he is 6'4", Mr. Hanshe insists he could not have been one of those seen running next to the six foot fence as they were all shorter than the fence.
In a recent correspondence Mr. Hanshe discussed the video of the murder scene noting the following:
Earlier in the evening, there was a disagreement between Allan McGhee (formerly a co-defendant in the case) and David Hodges (shot later that evening). McGhee is allergic to shrimp and apparently Hodges gave him some and the initial fight occurred. McGhee is about 5ft 7 inches, 160 lbs. An ambulance arrived for Mr. McGhee at 21:33 to attend to Mr. McGhee's allergic reaction, but he had already departed. Mr. Hodges remained at the party at apartment #16. Two others, James Terry (eventually murdered) and Ralph Counsel (shot in the buttocks) arrive in a 2006 Honda Odyssey, to pick up Hodges from Apartment #16 (the party). After departing #16, they make a right hand turn to park in back of #30 in a parking space instead of leaving (presumably to do drugs).
At 23:01 the first assassin arrives at Andpress Plaza
23:02.01 the second and third assassins arrive
23:03.4 on camera, you can see four assassins
23:05.02 the four assassins appear near a fence, all under the six foot height of the fence
23:05 Van with three victims parks to do drugs
23:04.44 the four assassins walk back toward the Van and stand in back of apartment #30
23:09 the Van backs out of the parking spot in an attempt to leave the scene; the assassins move to the Van to carry out the assassination.
As a result: James Terry was murdered; David Hodges was severely maimed with a debilitating head injury; and Ralph Counsel was shot in the buttocks.
Mr. Hanshe noted that his client "Shawn Lawrence is 6 ft 4 inches with shoes on. As you watch the video, you will see that all of the assassins are approximately the same height." Mr. Hanshe insists he has further proof of his client's innocence and looks forward to proving that at the upcoming trial.
PROBLEMS WITH THE ORIGINAL VIDEO?
In April 2014, the DA set up two or three meetings with Mr. Hanshe and Mr. Lawrence to view the original video, but each time the DA's Office cancelled the meetings stating the video was not working properly. The original surveillance equipment was confiscated by the SCPD back in January of 2010. A copy was provided in September of 2013 to Mr. Lawrence who was pro-se at the time. When Mr. Lawrence requested to view the original copy (as is his right by law) it took several months before his request was accommodated. By that time his case had been assigned to Mr. Hanshe as his legal aid (18-B) counsel. The three April appointments set up for Mr. Hanshe and his client were all cancelled with the DA's office claiming that they could not get the original video to work properly.
In May of this year, Suffolk ADA Laura Newcombe, the new ADA assigned to the case (after Mr. Biancavilla was removed in January for unknown reasons) sent a new copy of a clearer version of the video to Mr, Hanshe. This was turned over to the video expert assigned to the case and his determination was that the aspect ratio of the video had been distorted and that the original video needed to be reviewed for a proper testimony by him.
Another appointment to view the original was set up by the DA's office for Friday, June 6th and once again when Mr. Hanshe and Mr. Lawrence arrived the DA said the video was again not functioning properly and they were unable to get it to play. Prior to that appointment on June 6th, on the same morning they were supposed to meet to finally get a chance to view the original tape, District Attorney Newcombe went to Judge Condon's courtroom and put on the record that she should not be held liable if the video was damaged or information from the video hard drive was lost. She appeared to be technically trying to cover the DA's office for any future problems with the video.
When Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Hanshe arrived at the DA's Office later the same day, they both observed that the hard drive had already been removed from the original motherboard and had been already placed in an evidence bag. So there was never a possibility of them playing it that day and Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Hanshe contend that DA Newcombs' visit to the Judge that morning was done to cover the fact that the DA's office may have already tampered with the hard drive making it unable to be viewed.
Mr. Lawrence requested that his attorney ask the video expert to at least make a determination of the height and weight of the four persons on the video as well as Larry Williams, who is the superintendent of the apartment complex where the crime took place. He was also the first person to speak to the first officer on the scene. Mr. Lawrence is asking for:
1.) Still shots of all four perpetrators on the video...one when the single perpetrator walks over to the van by himself, then back toward the other perpetrator.
2.) When the three perpetrators are standing next to the gate by the dumpster.
3.) When all four perpetrators walk on the sidewalk together toward the back of the van by Ronda's apartment. Then, when they come back and walked in front of the van as the van backed out and driving away from Ronda's apartment.
4.) When the four perpetrators stand on the side of the van, they raise their arms shooting at the van as the van backed out. Request the video expert to also make still shots of Larry Williams getting in an out of his vehicle to speak with Police. He asks this to show that even Mr. Williams who is shorter than Mr. Lawrence does not fit the description of the men on the video who are all shorter than the six foot fence they stand next to.
Mr. Lawrence believes the DA's office tampering with the original video is a clear Brady Violation and the failure of the People to disclose exculpatory material in response to specific discovery requests, in this case the original video, verges on prosecutorial misconduct. (Brady v Maryland).
Mr. Lawrence has never been a member of any gang and Mr. Hanshe recently was able to successfully sever the case and prevent Mr. Lawrence from being tried with another defendant in the case, who clearly had gang affiliations. Mr. Lawrence has never been arrested for or connected to any gun at any time.
THE DA RESPONDS TO THE MOTION TO DISMISS AND MR. HANSHE COUNTERS
Ms. Newcombe responded to Mr. Hanshe's requests for dismissal with an affirmation in opposition to the defendants Notice of Motion on February 11, 2014.
The Court decided in a decision dated June 15, 2012 that after an in camera review of the minutes, the Grand Jury presentation was sufficient and on January 28, 2013 the Court said it had already ruled on the sufficiency of the Grand Jury presentation.
In his Affirmation in Reply to the People's Opposition, Mr. Hanshe noted that even though the Court issued a Decision and Order concerning the sufficiency of the Grand Jury, it did so without taking into account the Witness the Defendant asked through his Counsel be produced. In fact the witness was misled by the staff of the Office of the District Attorney when she was permitted to stay in the waiting room of the DA's Office instead of being transported to the Grand Jury to testify. Mr. Hanshe wrote that the blatant lack of proper procedure and prosecutorial misconduct deprived the Grand Jury and the Court not only of the Defendant's Alibi witness(s) testimony but any other testimony that could have supported the Defendant's position. There is nothing in the record provided that the Grand Jury "Rejected the Defendant's Request to hear testimony of additional witnesses." Mr. Hanshe contends that the DA is jumping to conclusions, erroneously that the Grand Jury was given this evidence to consider and that according to her they "clearly rejected the defense request to hear additional testimony..."
Ms. Newcombe cited People v Gray in support of her position stating that in that case the jury chose not to hear the alibi witness.
Mr. Hanshe responded that in that case the Grand Jury was presented with the option of hearing the alibi witness...Mr. Hanshe countered that in Mr. Lawrence's case, despite the fact that the defense indicated it wanted to present an alibi witness to the Grand Jury, the members of the Jury were never informed of that nor was the Grand Jury asked if it wished to hear alibi testimony. "The Assistant District Attorney is jumping to conclusions, erroneously, that the Grand Jury was given this information to consider. Upon information and belief, this is a misrepresentation of the facts."
According to Mr. Hanshe:
Next, Ms. Newcombe dealt with the Sandoval Hearing and said the people are not opposed to a hearing to determine the scope of the cross examination should the defendant testify at trial. Mr. Hanshe agreed that there would be a need for a Sandoval Hearing on the eve of the trial.
"What is clear is that the defendant was deprived of due process of law and his sixth amendment rights. Nothing in the record before this Honorable Court indicates the Grand Jury "clearly" rejected the alibi testimony."
According to Mr. Hanshe, the Felony Complaint in the case before the Court indicated that the sole
reason for the Defendant's arrest on these charges, two years after the alleged murder was a statement
made by Tariq Burwell. The defense interviewed Tariq Burwell and provided the Court with a copy of this statement clearly indicating he never spoke to the Police about this matter. Other statements to the Court indicate that the Detectives were attempting to bribe witnesses to testify against the Defendant.
Consequently, the basis for this arrest is a clear misrepresentation witnessed by an Oath of Detective Walsh saying he took a statement of Tariq Burwell, according to the defense.
"Molineaux Relief" was called premature by DA Newcombe. Saying that if the People intend to introduce certain evidence at trial, they will pursue such intent by way of a motion in limine and promised that the defendant would be notified of such intent at the proper time. Mr. Hanshe countered that the Defense had received a notice that the People intended to offer evidence at trial of statements made by the Defendant to law enforcement personnel.
The date of the crime was January 12, 2010 at or about 11:09 pm. The Defendant was arrested for this crime on April 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm, 2 years, 3 months and 3 days after the date of the murder. There is a video of the Defendant's interrogation at Homicide Division in Yaphank, a copy of which was provided to the Defense. At the inception of the interview tape, that was obtained by Freelance Investigations, at 2:27 pm Mr. Lawrence stated that "he wants to make a phone call to call his lawyer"; yet the Detectives continue to interrogate and "badger" him and "incite" him and they kept him in the interrogation room in Yaphank for 4 hours and 38 minutes without access to the requested counsel.
"Statements allegedly made by the Defendant after the arrest and prior to the the beginning of the videotaped statements in the interrogation room are fabricated by the Detectives", according to Mr. Hanshe. The Defendant was on his lunch break from work when he was arrested. The arrest was made without probable cause based on the alleged sole statement of Tariq Burwell who denied ever speaking to the Detective or ever implicating Mr. Lawrence in the crime. The Defendant was arrested without an arrest warrant and without any physical evidence linking him to the crime, which is only authorized when the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that such a person has committed a crime in his presence.
In the police felony complaint that was never signed by Officer Walsh, the crime was labelled as a CIP...or a Crime in Progress. But since the arrest was made over two years after the crime, it defies logic that the officer made the arrest for a "crime in progress". Perhaps Detective Walsh was using that description to make an end run around his failure to obtain a warrant for the arrest.
The issue of a "Huntley Hearing" dealing with the suppression of statements allegedly made voluntarily to the Police was the next item dealt with by Ms. Newcombe. It is the People's position that statements were made voluntarily and were spontaneous in nature. The defendant was never threatened with use of force nor was he ever induced to give such statements and therefore, according to Ms. Newcombe the statements are admissible as evidence. The People asked the Court to deny the defense motion to suppress the statements or to order a Huntley hearing.
Mr. Hanshe moved to preclude the introduction at trial of any statements that are not included in the CPL 710.30 notice.
Based on Mr. Lawrence's application, the Court granted his motion for a combined "Huntley" "Wade" and "Dunaway" pre-trial hearing held on April 22, April 30th and May 15, 2014 to determine the propriety of the arrest of the defendant, the voluntariness of the alleged statements made by the defendant to the police and the propriety of the identification procedure employed by the police in identifying the defendant in connection with the criminal charges of murder in the second degree, two counts of attempted murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
Suppression of Identification Testimony and Evidence
The People opposed the Defendant's motion to suppress the identification testimony, but consented to a hearing therein, but the "Wade" hearing should be limited in scope and should not address the probable cause leading to the arrest, according to Ms. Newcombe. Mr. Hanshe reiterated his former position and moved the Court to suppress any identification testimony regarding the Defendant or in the alternative, a (Wade Hearing) to determine their admissibility. Upon information and belief the previous identifications by the prospective witnesses were improperly made or coerced.
The People argued that the Police had an articulable and reasonable suspicion to justify their approach of the defendant, and there was probable cause to arrest the defendant, thereby requesting the Court to deny the defendant's motion to suppress any evidence seized from the defendant on the basis that the police lacked probable cause to arrest the defendant. Ms. Newcombe based her contention on the grounds that CPL 710.60 provides that motion papers must state the grounds of the motion and must contain sworn statements of fact...Ms. Newcombe alleged that the defense failed to put forth any sworn allegation of fact to support such a claim. "Where motion papers are conclusory in nature and contain no factual allegations supporting defendant's claim, the motion may be summarily denied." was her argument.
The Defense moved to suppress the identification of the defendant by any witness on the grounds that the procedure employed, two years , three months and 3 days after the alleged crime, was unduly suggestive and obtained illegally in contravention of Defendant's rights. The People provided certain "Confirmatory" Identification was made of the Defendant. It is the Defendant's position that any identification of the Defendant was not "Confirmatory", but rather unduly suggestive and coerced. In fact, one Witness provided the Defendant's investigator with an affidavit indicating that Detective Walsh attempted to bribe the Witness with a proffer of $50.00. (Exhibit F) Not only does this suggest the ID procedure was unduly suggestive, but in addition, suggests an illegal bribe was offered to at least one Witness. Consequently, the Defendant requested a Wade Hearing on the issue of Identification.
WADING THROUGH THE WADE HEARING ISN'T EASY...
During the Wade hearing, according to the decision by Judge William J. Condon the people presented three credible witnesses; Suffolk County Police Detective John McCleer; Suffolk County Police Detective Thomas Walsh and Suffolk County Police Detective Ronald Tavares. The Judge wrote that the three witnesses impressed him with their professionalism and "The Court finds that the testimony of all three witnesses was honest and forthright. Therefore the testimony of each of the three witnesses was honest, candid and forthright. Accordingly, the testimony of the three witnesses is credited by the Court."
The only problem with that according to Mr. Lawrence is that Detective Tavares testified about the photo line-up and the document that had the witness Tariq Burwell's alleged initials and signature on them. But Detective Tavares is NOT the Detective whose name appears on the photo line-up document. Detective Charles Leser's name is the one that appears on the photo line-up with the initials and signature that Tariq Burwell allegedly had signed. Mr. Burwell denies in an affidavit submitted to the court that he ever signed the alleged statements of February 7th and May 27th 2010 and he denies initialing the photo line-up that Detective Leser's name appears on. Mr. Lawrence asks the question why was Detective Tavares testifying about a document with someone else's name on it and why didn't Detective Leser testify in the pretrial since his name was on the document. Mr. Lawrence said he is still waiting for the transcript of Detective Tavares' testimony.
During the Wade portion of the hearing, Detective Tavares testified that on May 27th 2010 he presented Tariq Burwell with a single sheet photo array of six male subjects, each of similar age, build similar hair type and similar facial features. In rebuttal, the Defense put on Tariq Burwell himself who said he did not identify the defendant Shawn Lawrence as a shooter in this matter and that he was not in the custody of the police on that day. The Police testified he was in custody and that he had been fingerprinted as proof. Mr. Burwell had already had his prints in the system according to him and he still denies he ever said Mr. Lawrence was the shooter. Mr. Burwell still denies signing the statements attributed to him.
Detective Tavares and Detective Leser have been accused of forcing a cabdriver who was a shooting victim in Huntington Station to sign a false statement they wrote up. The statement was disavowed when it was determined the officers had been drinking when off duty and during the time of the shooting.
On February 28, 2014 Mr. Hanshe again moved the Court to suppress any and all evidence seized or discovered as a result of the Defendant's illegal arrest that was unconstitutional and wholly without probable cause.
The photo array was not considered to be overly suggestive toward the defendant, according to the judge, something Mr. Lawrence disagrees with saying he believed there was a substantial likelihood the he would be singled out for identification as according to him the physical characteristics did not match his age range and his own physical characteristics closely enough.
JUDGE RULES ON "HUNTLEY" PORTION of HEARING
During the "Huntley Portion" of the hearing dealing with the suppression of statements allegedly made voluntarily to the Police, by Mr. Lawrence, on the day of his arrest, Detective McCleer testified that the defendant was taken into police custody at approximately 1:42 on April 14, 2012 at or near Route 110 in Farmingdale. He also testified that he told Mr. Lawrence there would be no discussion of the incident or the allegations during his transport to police headquarters. Nonetheless, the defendant allegedly made numerous unsolicited statements during that transport and allegedly made further statements at police headquarters. The Court considered the voluntary nature of the custodial statements and those on the audio and video...and found that the People did not coerce the statements, that they were not involuntary and that the People proved this beyond a reasonable doubt.
Accordingly, Judge Condon denied Mr. Lawrence's application to suppress his custodial statements.
Mr. Lawrence argues that the documents submitted to the Court and signed by Detective Walsh who arrested Mr. Lawrence, have a section that says "Any Oral Statements Made"...and the answer is none.
When one listens to the four hour video of the Lawrence interrogation Mr. Lawrence asks for a lawyer several times in the first few minutes, yet none is provided and the Detectives continue to question him hour after hour.
When a phone call to his lawyer is finally provided to him hours later, the Detective sat in the room and listened to Mr. Lawrence's side of the phone call, something the officer testified is "standard procedure."
During the "Mapp/Dunaway" portion of the hearing, the Court considered whether the Police had probable cause to arrest the Defendant.
The Court said the People had three witnesses that would testify Mr. Lawrence was the shooter, Mr. Burwell (who denies ever identifying Mr. Lawrence), Mr. Ralph Counsel, (one of the shooting victims who according to the Defense intends to testify Mr. Lawrence was NOT the shooter) and Mr. Hodges (the other victim who was shot in the head, has been unable to be questioned by the defense due to medical issues). Somehow the DA has placed Mr. Hodges on their witness list, despite the fact that he is medically unable to be interviewed according to medical reports obtained by the defense.
The Court made the statement of three witnesses, despite the fact that the felony complaint had only one name on it and that was Tariq Burwell...the man who continues to deny ever identifying Mr. Lawrence as the shooter.
Judge Condon then made the statement that all physical evidence obtained as a result of the arrest would not be suppressed. The only problem with that, is that according to the Defense, there is absolutely not one shred of physical evidence connecting Mr. Lawrence to this crime.
DNA TESTING CLEARS MR. LAWRENCE COMPLETELY
Results of DNA testing were finalized on May 28, 2012. Pursuant to CPL 240 and CPL 240.90 the People have 45 days after arraignment to file motions for Discovery. The Defendant was arraigned on April 25, 2012. Forty five (45) days after the indictment was June 9, 2012. Since June 9, 2012 to the date of the DA's Motion by Order to Show Cause it had been 673 days or one year, ten months and two days. From the Court's own Order of January 28, 2013, the DA was supposed to provide Defense Counsel with all Discovery material within thirty days of the order (February 28, 2013 (See Exhibit C)
The Defense requested that if a DNA buccal swab was ordered by the Court, then the Defendant requested a DNA laboratory expert of his own choosing be present when the swab was obtained and he be present when the analysis was done at the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory. Alternately, the Defense requested permission to obtain a DNA analysis at the expense of Suffolk County to carry out its' own DNA profile examination. Mr. Hanshe then requested a protective order for his client.
When the DNA results from the buccal swab finally came back, they did not in any way match any of the DNA obtained from the crime scene. In fact, Mr. Lawrence was unequivocally ruled out as having any DNA connected to any part of the crime scene.
In response to the Defense claims that it did not receive certain items of Discovery, particularly lab reports and medical records, Ms. Newcombe stated the items were available for defense counsel's review at any mutually agreed upon time... (February 11, 2014...Laura Newcombe for Thomas Spota)
Mr. Lawrence has asked his attorney to request the charges be dismissed for lack of any credible evidence. Mr. Lawrence has been in jail for over two years in clear violation of his rights to a speedy trial, he has also argued.
The trial date has been moved to September 15, 2014. The Judge is on vacation and the original video has yet to be viewed by the defense as it unable to be played, according to the last information available from the DA's office.
Last week, Suffolk County District Attorney spokesperson Robert Clifford, was presented with a preview of this article and a request for comment. No response at all from the DA's Office at time of publication
Mr. Hanshe said, "I cannot wait to get to trial. It’s shameful what is going on in this case. Mr. Lawrence has been incarcerated for over two years."