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Key Excerpt, Witness Testimony: Morgenthau on People v. Ferber and 'Tarzan' Murder Case

Courtesy of CQ Transcriptions

DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF NEW YORK COUNTY ROBERT MORGENTHAU: In the district attorney's office, the Judge was immediately recognized by trial (inaudible) supervisors as someone a step ahead of her colleagues, one of the brightest and most mature, hard-working, standout who was marked for rapid advancement. Ultimately, she took on every kind of criminal case that comes into an urban courthouse, from turnstile-jumping to homicide.

One of those cases, the Tarzan murder case, involved an addicted burglar named Richard Maddicks, who would terrorize the neighborhood during a crime spree that left three dead and involved his swinging into apartment windows from rooftops, shooting anyone in his way. He is now serving 137 years to life sentence.

Another case prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Sotomayor in 1983 involved a Times Square child pornography operation. That was the first child prosecution in New York after a landmark 1982 Supreme Court decision, People v. Ferber, upholding New York's new child pornography laws. Assistant D.A. Sotomayor left the jurors in tears over what the defendants had done to child victims.

These cases happened to grab the public's attention. But Judge Sotomayor -- Assistant D.A. Sotomayor understood that every case is important to the victim and appropriately gave undivided attention to the proper disposition of all of them.

Assistant District Attorney Sotomayor soon developed a reputation. Unlike many prosecutors, she simply would not be pushed around by judges or by attorneys. Some judges were eager to dispose of cases cheaply to clear their calendars. ADA Sotomayor instead fought for the right conclusion in each case. Maybe that experience from the criminal court in New York City helped her prepare for these hearings.

Read Morgenthau's full testimony here.

By Washington Post editors  |  July 16, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Hearings , Supreme Court , Topics: People v. Ferber  
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