Sexually abusive dad walks free

This father confessed to sexually abusing his teen daughter and – because he wasn’t read his Miranda Rights –  gets to walk free. And you know how rape articles usually have stomach-turning comments on them? This one has sympathetic comments about doing what was “right” – for the man, that is.

Notice there’s no mention of “dad” or his sexual abuse in the headline.

Montgomery County judge challenges police over interrogation

In the wake of the ruling, the suspect was released from jail Thursday on the condition that he stay away from his teenage daughter, whom he’d admitted to fondling and having sex with over a three-year period when she was 11 to 14 years old, according to court records.

Prosecutors — who said the detectives acted appropriately — have moved to try to get Johnson’s ruling reversed by an appeals court, which could save the rape case and blunt Johnson’s ruling from spreading to other criminal cases. Police said the ruling should be reversed, and they worry that if more judges adopt Johnson’s thinking, it would limit what they see as a reasonable and valuable tool.

“I have no problem with what the detectives did,” said Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. “I have confidence in my detectives as they work these cases.”

Local defense attorneys have mixed reactions to the ruling. Some played it down; others called it courageous and overdue.

“Detectives come as close to the line as they can,” said defense attorney David Felsen, “and in this case Judge Johnson said they crossed it.”

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Who am I to judge?

That’s what Judge Andrew Tarantino needs to be asking himself.

Thanks to Mark Fass for reporting on this judge’s incompetence and the dilemma of judges’ virtual impunity. His email is below – please consider writing to thank him.

Judge transferred over alleged actions in visitation case 

Judge Transferred Over Alleged Actions in Visitation Case

Mark Fass

08-12-2010

A Suffolk County judge who was the subject of a searing complaint by a children’s advocacy group has been transferred from Family Court to the County Court’s civil term.

A court source called the immediate transfer “unprecedented” and an indication of the how seriously the allegations are being taken by the Office of Court Administration.

According to the complaint, Judge Andrew G. Tarantino Jr. granted a father who had been convicted of possessing child pornography and third-degree rape of a minor overnight visitation of his three children, supervised by his own parents.

Read the complaint and Judge Tarantino’e earlier ruling.

During the visitation hearing in January, Judge Tarantino joked about child pornography, misstated the facts of the case, refused to hear expert testimony regarding sexual-abuse recidivism and maintained an “inappropriate” relationship with the father’s attorney, according to the complaint.

The complaint was filed Tuesday with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct by Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center, a Long Island advocacy group. It was also forwarded to the OCA, which is independent from the commission

The OCA transferred the judge out of Family Court on Monday, based on the allegations underlying the complaint.

A spokesman for the OCA said he could not discuss the grounds for transferring judges and that the court system could take no further remedial action.

“This is a matter for the Commission on Judicial Conduct,” spokesman David Bookstaver said. “The courts by statute cannot discipline or punish judges.”

Robert Tembeckjian, the conduct commission’s chief administrator, said he could not comment unless and until a sanction is issued or a judge waives confidentiality.

Judge Tarantino, 57, declined to comment.

The complaint against the judge alleges numerous instances of bias and inappropriate comments during a child custody proceeding earlier this year. The judge held a four-day hearing in January and issued an eight-page decision in April.

The father, Dennis DeMille, a former middle-school teacher, is a registered Level II sex offender. He pleaded guilty to possessing pornographic photographs of 12- to 16-year-old girls, and sexually victimizing a minor.

The children’s mother, who is not named in court records, had contacted the Parents for Megan’s Law in November 2009 to complain about the judge’s behavior.

The group in its complaint said “Judge Tarantino has exhibited a bias and a blatant disregard for the facts.”

The complaint cited such examples as the judge’s joke that, to get around a law that prohibits replicating child pornography for court records, a court officer could “do little stick pictures” duplicating the images underlying the father’s child-pornography conviction.

“You can do an artist’s rendition,” the judge joked.

Judge Tarantino asked to view the photos to determine whether they were “pieces of art or pornography,” notwithstanding the father’s conviction. The judge then never ruled on the issue, the complaint said.

It describes the judge joking about the treatment methods for sexual addiction, asking whether “a little electronic device” might be placed in a patient’s keyboard.

The judge’s decision to allow Mr. DeMille supervised overnight visits quoted his therapist as saying “the father is not a predator,” when the therapist had declined to rule out that possibility, the complaint alleged.

The OCA rarely moves so quickly to transfer a judge, the only remedial power it holds. After Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares jailed a mother for refusing to facilitate visits between her son and his father, a thrice-convicted rapist, OCA took three weeks to transfer her to Civil Court.

Judge Tarantino forwarded through a court spokesman a corrected copy of his order in the underlying case.

This case presents with the issue of when and if a sex offender should be able to have a normal relationship with his children?” the judge wrote in Matter of D.D. III, 13176-07. “[T]he children are entitled to grow with and have as normal relationship with their Father as is possible under these circumstances. To consider sinister every activity in which there may be contact may approach paranoia in some circumstances. This court cannot render a decision based upon paranoia.”

Judge Tarantino was elected to Family Court in 2006 and took the bench in 2007. A 1991 graduate of City University of New York School of Law and a registered Democrat, he worked as a solo practitioner speciaizing in family law from 1991 to 2000 and as a partner at Long Island’s Sarisohn Law Partners from 2000 to 2004. He was an assistant county attorney assigned to Suffolk Family Court from 2004 through 2006.

Mark Fass can be reached at mfass@alm.com.

The Guilty Judge

This judge was accused of sexual harassment and he denied it, claiming the women were “spurned lovers.” I would like to know, why are there more Web sites devoted to false accusations (google “false allegations” to see the backing this claim gets) than there are to denial of accusations? Which is worse?  

The judge in this case finally admits the truth and is given a 33-month prison term. His lawyer wants him to be able to claim disability so that he can continue to collect his salary:

Dick DeGuerin, a lawyer for Judge Kent, said the judge suffered from depression, alcoholism, diabetes and bipolar disease. Rather than resign before he serves his time in prison, Judge Kent, appointed to the lifetime post by President George Bush in 1990, has asked to be allowed to claim that he is disabled so he can continue to collect his salary of $169,300 a year, Mr. DeGuerin said.

Yeah, that’s what we should do to those convicted of sexual assault, give them 6-figure incomes. It that’s not enough to make you mad, read this little whammy:

Arthur D. Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who specializes in judicial misconduct cases, said Judge Kent’s admission that he had lied to his colleagues was as serious as the sexual harassment.

Umm-hmmm. I recently read a blog post where the writer was upset with men making analogies to rape – oh, man, that team was raped! No, guys, I’m sorry but it is not the same. To make these comparisons that you experience to the sexual assault and rape of women is belittling – to put it mildly.

Power to the perps

Thank you Sean Fewster for bringing to light just how lenient judges (Judge Sidney Tilmouth) can be on child abusers, especially during this month, Child Abuse Awareness Month. Personally, I know that they often get unsupervised visitation and custody, so we must shed light on their judgements.

In Judge says dad who kicked toddler ‘unlikely’ to repeat offence, a father kicks his toddler so hard he has internal injuries. The child’s offense? Running to the door to see who was knocking.

In October 2006, he assaulted his son when the boy ran to the front door, curious as to who had knocked on it.

Galffy’s wife later found the boy pale and crying – he vomited on her, buckled at the knees and said “my belly hurts”.

A subsequent medical examination found his liver had been lacerated by the impact.

Judge Tilmouth imposed a 29-month jail term, suspended on condition of a three-year, $1000 good-behaviour bond.

He ordered Galffy only be allowed to share a house with his son with the permission of the Department of Corrections.

The judge himself thought the father was unlikely to repeat the offense. Awww, how sympathetic, judge. No wonder we have children going though years of abuse. When given the opportunity, we give power to the perps.