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June 30, 2010


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I think if you were to review the evidence and trial transcripts your opinion may change about the "utter lack of evidence." While I hold great respect for Justice Clancy, the trial judge, who took a great amount of time to render her post-conviction decision overturning the verdict, in this case she was, respectfully, wrong. The partitioned walls in this apartment were known to the landlord and their agents, and they did tolerate them. This was an apartment building in the Bronx where the tenants subdivided the apartment and then ran "octopus" extension cords - causing electrical issues ultimately resulting in the fire. The rent was collected, in person, by a landlord rep. Thus, they had access to the apartment, saw the horrid conditions, and did nothing about it. I believe there was also a suggestion that the superintedent was taking a kickback off the rent. The firefighters had no way to know that the partition walls were up - so they go into a heavy smoke filled apartment, looking to save people and douse the flames, and when the fire flares up - they head to where the clear path to the emergency exit (i.e. the windows) should be. However, they can't get to them because there is an unapproved - unreported wall in the way. By the time the firefighters could get around the maze that the tenants created, and the landlord tolerated for profit, they were out of reserve oxygen in their scott packs and had no choice but to leap from the apartment with the hopes of landing safely. Sadly, that was not to be in, as firefighters died and were maimed. The company and super are not innocents. They took advantage of a situation where poor people were living in squalor - and fostered it for their own benefit. I truly hope that prior to publishing the negative view of the prosecution, you do a heartfelt search of the record. You may not feel the defendants were "guilty" (although I do); however, I strongly believe that you will be less inclined to believe that this was a "tenuous prosecution" or media fodder. Also, please keep in mind that the jury, in Bronx County - where jury conviction rates are notoriously low - did convict.

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