Coach Joe Bena was a significant influence

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I would like to thank The Daily Gazette for its Feb. 27 front page coverage about the life of Coach Joe Bena. I had the privilege of coaching against Coach Bena when he was coaching in Duanesburg and developed a relationship with this great man over the course of his tenure there.It’s evident through Coach Bena’s positive demeanor how he was able to influence so many students, athletes, coaches, peers and community members. Coach Bena always had sage advice, not just about wrestling but about life as well. He served as an inspiration for me to be a better coach, a better teacher and a better person. I would like to send my condolences and prayers to the Bena family. I would also like to again say “thank you” to The Gazette for sharing the story of Coach Bena’s life with the community so that the readers of The Gazette were able to get a glimpse into the accomplishments and legacy of this great man.DAVID RUSSELLCobleskillMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Editorial: We must remove avenues to wrongful convictions

first_imgCategories: Editorial, Opinion“Music gave me some semblance of peace. I’d pull a blanket over my head. My fellow inmates might have thought I was scared. I was actually trying to escape the doom for a while, by blocking out the present, and thinking about exactly what I would be doing at home. Literally, I tried to live minute to minute in another place, rather than one second in this one. I spent most of those early days lying on my bunk with my headphones on, checked out. I thought that if I just resisted the environment, it might not feel so real. I didn’t want to talk or make friends. The food offered no distraction. I remained mostly a mystery to the men who weren’t immediately a cell door away from me. Who is this new guy? I heard them ask.”  Now imagine you were in that situation because you didn’t commit the crime.Graves had no criminal record when he was arrested, and there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.In 2010, he was exonerated after the chief witness against him was found to be the real killer. The prosecutor in the case was disbarred for misconduct.Larry McKee of New York City spent two decades in prison for shooting a man on a Bronx street in 1996.The conviction was based largely on the testimony of a man who gave different accounts of what he saw (or didn’t see) that night.According to an account in the National Registry of Exonerations, a judge prohibited the defense from interviewing the witness and the detective in the case about a police report from the night of the shooting. McKee was eventually convicted and sentenced to 24 years to life in prison.In 2016, the new prosecutor in the Bronx re-investigated the case at the defense’s request and found other evidence that cleared McKee, including the testimony of another witness not previously disclosed. Larry McKee was 25 when he was arrested. In early 2018, at the age of 47, his conviction was set aside “in the interest of justice” and he was released from prison after serving 20 years. These are real people, like you and me.People who served lengthy prison time for crimes they didn’t commit.In 2017, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, 139 individuals were exonerated of crimes they didn’t commit, including 51 people convicted of homicide. Since 1989, the registry reports, nearly 3,400 individuals convicted of crimes in this country have been found to be innocent and had their convictions set aside. The Innocence Project reports that the average time served for the wrongfully convicted was 13 years and that 70 percent of those exonerated were part of minority groups. The group estimates that between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of all prisoners are innocent.The reasons for these wrongful convictions range from witnesses misidentifying suspects, to prosecutors and police who deliberately manufacture evidence or who withhold evidence that might clear suspects from the defense and courts, to witnesses who deliberately lie, to people who confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Yes, believe it or not, people under duress during police interrogations often confess to crimes for which they are innocent.New York state has made progress in reducing wrongful convictions.For instance, in April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring law enforcement agencies to video record custodial interrogations in serious crimes, including homicides and violent felony sex offenses. The videotaping of interrogations will discourage police from using illegal tactics to elicit false confessions and will provide evidence to juries when a suspect claims to have had his confession coerced.In 2017, the governor signed a law allowing photo arrays to be used as evidence at trial. Showing photos of potential suspects to witnesses close to the time a crime as been committed has been shown to be a reliable method of identification that could help cut down on people being wrongly identified in crimes. ***Anthony Graves was convicted in Texas in 1994 for killing a family of six. He spent 18-1/2 years in prison — 16 of them in solitary confinement, including 12 on death row, where he was scheduled to receive a lethal injection twice.The comments above are Anthony Graves’ recollections of his first night on death row. What would you be thinking on your first night of death row?Could you even imagine it? The fear? The loneliness? The boredom? The filth? The physical and emotional pain?The agony of not knowing whether you would ever see your spouse or your children or your parents or your friends ever again. That feeling in the pit of your stomach of not knowing whether you were going to live or die.That’s just a watered-down glimpse of what people go through in prison. In August, Cuomo signed a well-meaning but flawed law that would create a new state Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct to review and investigate prosecutorial conduct and address allegations of misconduct that lead to wrongful convictions. In a June editorial encouraging the governor to veto the law and demand changes, we said the state court system already had systems in place for investigating prosecutoral misconduct and providing relief to the wrongly convicted, that the law would face constitutional challenges over the separation of powers (which it has), and that the commission’s reports wouldn’t be released to the public.The governor signed it anyway under the condition that its flaws be corrected. So at some time, we’re likely to see some kind of improvement in the fight against prosecutorial misconduct — either through changes to existing prosecutorial review or a modified independent commission — that could help reduce the instances of wrongful convictions.And later this year, state lawmakers are expected to enact a new package of criminal justice reforms that could include ensuring that defense attorneys receive discovery evidence from prosecutors in a more timely manner, including information that might clear their clients, which some prosecutors have been known to withhold or delay. It’s in the public’s interest that the person who committed the crime goes to prison for it.Wrongful convictions not only deprive wrongly accused individuals of their liberty, but also allow the real suspects to go free to continue to prey on innocent victims.Legislation alone won’t cure all the ills or prevent every wrongfully charged suspect from being convicted. That will take a greater dedication by prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, police and lawmakers to remove all possible avenues to a wrongful conviction. But it can be done. It should be done.Let’s make 2019 the year when no more innocent people go to prison for crimes they didn’t commit.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, May 20

first_imgWaiting to hear from Cuomo on St. Clare’sWhy is Gov. Andrew Cuomo ignoring St. Clare’s Pensioners? I’ve waited long enough for a response and/or action to this question. Granted, there has been a great deal of coverage by the news media regarding our plight and we are very grateful for that. However, one would expect the governor of New York state to step in at one point or another.Many, many emails and letters have been sent to Gov. Cuomo and they have been blatantly ignored. Word has come back to our devoted pensioners that the governor is aware of our situation. He is aware? Why, then, doesn’t someone, anyone, from his office respond to us?We are a group of dedicated people who have given our life’s work to taking care of many of the members of this community. Apparently, Gov. Cuomo doesn’t care about votes from hard-working hospital workers who helped so many of the families of Schenectady County.Well, Gov. Cuomo, Bishop Scharfenberger has already had one private meeting with my co-chairman, Bob Bradley, and I. It was very helpful, and he has offered to help our members in any way that he can. In fact, his office has already contacted me and scheduled a follow-up meeting before the end of this month. Where do you stand?We deserve some of your time. We count as voters, but more importantly as the good and hardworking people of St. Clare’s Hospital. Mary HartshorneDelansonThe writer is co-chair of the St. Clare’s Pensioners. Nation didn’t have a president one dayCurrently we seem to be having a run of constitutional crises. We have had a few in history, but the one in 1849 stands out for me. President Polk’s term ended at noon on March 4, 1849. President-elect Zachary Taylor, however, refused to take the oath of office that day as it was the Sabbath and he waited until the next day. So who succeeded? The presidential succession act in place at the time does not help much, as the term of the senator serving as president pro tempore also expired on the Sabbath.So was the United States without a president for one day?  Whoever it was had only, at most, a one-day term, and that certainly helped keep the mischief down.John HersheyCharltonMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWaiting for word on fate of Lady LibertyA haven’t written to the readers of The Gazette all winter as it seemed fruitless because I knew that nothing was going to be done about the return of the Statue of Liberty to her rightful place during the bad weather, since nothing has been done during the better weather months.I was thinking that it was about time to start the second year of pursuit to brighten up Gateway Park with the statue, among the beautiful flowers that have broken out.Bob Nicolella’s April 28 letter and the plea for something to be done hit home for me and the many residents of Schenectady who are waiting for answers to our pleas as well. The Holocaust memorial would stand as a tribute to the many men, women, and children, regardless of age, that lost their lives to a monster who had no regard for human life just because of their birth in the Jewish faith. It’s true that a monument is only made of stone, but it is the spirit of those that lost their lives and their memory that we must honor.The Statue of Liberty is that same symbol to all the people that support our cause to return the Lady of the Harbor, to her rightful place in Schenectady.As the committee for the Holocaust memorial waits for answers, we also wait. We have been promised twice, in The Gazette, that an answer would come “soon.”He who waits has hope.James A. WilsonSchenectadylast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, Nov. 19

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWhat are Trump’s crimes? Here’s a listJeffery Falace’s Nov. 14 letter asked, “Exactly what crimes did Trump commit.” This is partial list, but it should help.Number 1: Conspiracy to defraud the United States (18 U.S.C. §371) a/k/a “Collusion”Number 2: Obstruction of justice: Trump’s efforts to persuade members of his staff to publicly misrepresent eventNumber 3: Obstruction of justice: Trump’s attempts to remove Mueller and curtail the investigationNumber 4: Obstruction of justice: Trump’s termination of FBI Director ComeyNumber 5: Obstruction of justice: Trump’s conduct concerning the investigation of National Security Advisor Michael FlynnNumber 6: False statements (18 U.S.C. §1001) and perjury (18 U.S.C. §1623)Number 7: Campaign finance laws (52 U.S.C. §30109(d)(1)(A))Number 8: Foreign Agents Registrations Act (22 U.S.C. §611 et seq.) and agents of foreign governments (18 U.S.C. §951)Number 9: National Stolen Property Act (18 U.S.C. §§2314 and 2315Number 10. Computer-Intrusion (18 U.S.C. §1030) and Aggravated Identity Theft (18 U.S.C. §1028A)Number 11: Numerous sexual assault chargesNumber 12: He is the un-indicted coconspirator in campaign finance violation that put the other conspirator in jail.Number 13: He attempted to trade arms for political dirt and released the Congressionally approved arms only when Congress asked for the whistleblowers report, and they knew they were caught. That’s abuse of power.Attempting to deny a constitutionally equals partner in the government witness is obstruction of justice. There are maybe ten to twenty of those under way now.Hope this helps clear up our confusion about the specifics.Glenn GraySchenectadyCongress needs to brush up the lawIs it really possible that certain members of Congress have never heard of grand juries? Or are they simply deliberately repeating misinformation to sway public opinion?Prosecutors present information to grand juries, and the grand jurors determine whether or not to indict. The defendant does not have a right to call and question witnesses.Just as in 1998, when Republicans had the majority in the House of Representatives and went after President Clinton, the House is conducting an impeachment investigation.Of course in those days, Democrats had the majority in the Senate, and, with some Republicans voting with them, acquitted President Clinton.President Clinton lied about having an illicit relationship with a White House aide. He did not ask a foreign government to investigate a political opponent. Is that a high crime or misdemeanor under federal law?We may well find out soon.Bruce S. TrachtenbergNiskayunaThe writer is a former town justice.Flyer had opposite influence on voteAs a registered voter without any party affiliation, I was disgusted with the flyer sent by the Schenectady County Democratic Committee just prior to the election.Divisiveness only proves to distract us from the issues and promotes ill will. If there is a concern regarding a town employee, this is not the forum to explore it.The flyer did influence my vote, but not in the way you intended.Lois MillsNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Culture clash dooms Insignia merger bid

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Railtrack arm in bid to buy £100m Snow Hill site

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Newport outwits Petchey

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Pillar joins Morley for Chartwell bid

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

New Street is old hat and must be replaced

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Double dare

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img