Thursday, January 12, 2017

Boom ! John O'Hara Gets Himself Some Justice !

(In the interest of full disclosure, the Editor confesses that John O'Hara has provided wonderful scrutiny of typographical errors in this blog. For this, we have always been thankful!) 

The New York Law Journal reports that, 18 years later, "an act of political retribution by former District Attorney Charles 'Joe' Hynes" has been "thrown out." John O'Hara's conviction - for illegal voting in New York, the first since suffragist Susan B. Anthony got pinched - was vacated at the state Supreme Court.

O'Hara has had his share of feeling like a "convicted felon ... a second-class citizen." Indeed, he was disbarred. But, in 2009, a unanimous 25-member Character and Fitness Committee concluded there were "grave doubts" that he "did anything that justified this criminal prosecution."

Here is a brief summary of this bizarro case from the Journal:
O'Hara, 54, worked on Hynes' first district attorney campaign in 1989. Following his own unsuccessful run for the New York State Assembly, the following year he began working on "insurgent" campaigns to challenge Hynes and other members of Brooklyn's Democratic establishment. O'Hara had lived in an apartment on 61st Street in Brooklyn and voted from that address, but redistricting in the early 1990s put his apartment in a different election district. O'Hara filed a new registration form stating his residence was at the 47th Street basement apartment of the building owned by his ex-girlfriend, which put O'Hara back in his old district. He voted under the 47th Street address five times. In October 1996, O'Hara was indicted on charges of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, false registration and five counts of illegal voting. O'Hara stood trial three times in cases that revolved around the question of principal residence under Election Law definitions. Neighbors testified that O'Hara did live at the address, but the previous owner of the building testified that the basement was unfinished at the time, and thus uninhabitable. The Appellate Division, Second Department, ordered retrial on the first conviction, citing an improper jury charge. The second trial ended with a hung jury and the third resulted in a guilty verdict in July 1999. 
The Journal reports the Brooklyn DA's conviction review unit scrutinized the conviction and determined the owner of the building recanted her testimony that the basement was uninhabitable.

For more, interesting background and commentary on John's case, see our previous posts here. See New York Times article here. See New York Daily News article here. See Journal article here.

Congratulations John O'Hara !!!

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