AN UNEXPURGATED RECREATION OF THE MEREDITH NILAN CASE, AND WHY IT STANDS AS AN INDICTMENT OF LOCAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2012) — We The People have not rested in the Meredith Nilan-Peter Moore Case. The travesty lies the handling of the case, from the get go, beginning with the moment of impact on the night of Dec. 8, 2011 and continuing with the apparent coverup. The alleged coverup, which is all people are talking about, has riled Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski the most.
If the driver is one of the Kapanskis, there’s hell to pay from The Man. If the driver is the spoiled daughter of one of the most arrogant and self-righteous of the GOBs, which is saying a heap, she skates.
We The People cannot let this finding stand without a thorough, honest, and objective investigation.
A SUMMATION OF AN INJUSTICE — This happened, Then That Happened
From all available factual evidence uncovered so far (there may be more to come), here’s the play-by-play:
—*— It is the night of Dec. 8, around 8:15 p.m. Meredith Nilan, from all the available evidence and according to the police, has just finished partying at a BYP gathering (Berkshire Young Professionals, or BEEPERS, a production of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce). THE BEEPER “networking socials are famous not so much for “networking” but for drinking to excess. We expect that will change in light of the events of Dec. 8. The information on heavy drinking is the testimony on the general nature of BEEPER gatherings from several BEEPER veterans, who would not let their names be used.
To date, not one BEEPER of the 60 or so who were present at the “networking social” at Allium’s Restaurant in Great Barrington, Mass., has publicly testified to what they saw of Nilan’s behavior that night. Most won’t even admit they were there. The photographic evidence, however, tell us some of the roster who were there at the Great Barrington hot spot. One attendee, who will not allow his or her name to be used, says Meredith Nilan drank heavily at the party. This is not been confirmed and must be considered hearsay, which, we remind our readers, doesn’t necessarily mean the information is true or not true. We must ask, though, why the BEEPERS are so afraid to say anything. Could it be they know if they come out and tell the truth, the GOBs will punish them and their careers, locally, will be over? Many of the BEEPERS are, remember, professional and social climbers looking to get in on the gravy train. THE PLANET received further word from a member of the Chamber that the C of C’s execs have gotten the word out to its BEEPERS: “You don’t know nuttin’, you didn’t see nuttin’, you don’t say nuttin.”
* Meredith Nilan is driving North on Winesap Road toward East Street, near her home, apparently heading out again that night. A pedestrian is walk-jogging his dog on the opposite side of the road, heading in the same direction.
* Nilan’s car swerves and crosses lanes. Clearly, she has lost control. Why? Too much alcohol? Texting? Yakking on a cell phone? Falling asleep at the wheel? Daydreaming? All of these? None of these? The vehicle, owned by and registered to her father, Clifford Nilan, a senior official in the Berkshire County Courthouse, crosses lanes and slams into the pedestrian, whose name is Peter Moore. His dog is named Toby.
* The impact is so great that, as revealed by the photographic evidence, that it rips the front grille of Nilan’s SUV, dents the hood, and leaves a fully delineated head-sized hole in the windshield, just to the right of the driver. Peter Moore’s head has just smashed through the safety glass. Incidentally, THE PLANET has seen a muscular wise guy take a baseball bat to a car windshield in anger. He needed several whacks with all his strength to even create hazing. More whacks produced a spider’s web cracking. Still more whacks finally broke through the glass. Try it today on your own vehicle. You’ll see how tough it is to break the glass, and yet — and yet — the force of the impact of Nilan’s vehicle and Moore’s head produced a hole in the windshield as if it came from a punch press. Nilan tells investigators she’s not sure what she hit; it could have been a “dog” or a “deer.” Remember, a human head has just pierced her windshield, a foot or so from her face. She can’t distinguish that from a dog’s head or a deer’s head, so she testifies.
THE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS: There’s No REASONABLE Way Meredith Nilan’s Story Can be Taken as Credible
* After surveying the damage to the vehicle, from photos first published by THE PLANET, is there any reasonable way to believe the driver did not know she had hit a human being — not a “dog or a deer”?
* The driver does not stop to notify police.
* The driver does not wait for the police to arrive, as the law requires, despite the fact that a man is almost killed.
* The incident is hidden for almost a month, although THE PLANET first got wind of it a little more than week after it happened. Our first notice came in an e-mail from one of our sources. We made discreet inquiries. Miracle: Nobody knew, heard, saw, or said anything. Nonetheless, we got enough of a confirmation to tell us there was a measure of truth to what we heard. Something had happened. Was that measure full brimmed or one-finger high? We didn’t know.
* The incident finally breaks. We learn that Cliff Nilan, and not Meredith, is the one who calls the police. Why? Is Meredith too impaired? Is there another reason? She doesn’t report to the police until late the next morning, more than 15 hours after the accident, enough time for alcohol to leave her system, if any was present. Her father, meanwhile, has refused to allow Pittsfield police to search the vehicle. He forces them to get a warrant.
* Mysteriously, the Pittsfield police can’t get the courts in Pittsfield to issue a warrant. Was that because Cliff Nilan knew they wouldn’t because of his connections there as the head of the Probation Department? Did he think police would give up or drop the case because it was politically too hot to handle? Or was there another explanation why the police could not get a warrant from Pittsfield?
* Police, though, don’t give up. They are on a mission. They are doing their job, and well. They get a warrant from the Southern Berkshire District Court.
* The recollection of the victim tells a story opposite of Nilan’s. The police investigation differs from the Nilan account on many crucial aspects. The physical evidence at the scene and on the Nilan vehicle support the claims of Moore and the police compared to Nilan’s statements. With an application of common sense and reason to the best available body of evidence, one must find in favor of the police and Mr. Moore.
* Pittsfield police charge Meredith Nilan with criminal misdemeanor counts. The counts are subject to a magistrate’s hearing.
Secret Hearing Bars Victim and His Lawyer; A Ringer Magistrate Railroads an Unbelievable Verdict
* The Pittsfield court sets up a hearing for Jan. 12. The hearing date is not made public. THE PLANET is the only media source to investigate. We find shortly after the three-hour hearing some details.
* The magistrate, Nathan Byrnes, who is not from the Pittsfield court, has the option of opening or closing the hearing to the press and the public.
* Byrnes closes the hearing to the public. Let those words sink in for a moment. This of what they mean.
* Byrnes closes the hearing to the press. He does it in the most bloodless and efficient way possible, by not sharing information on the date or time.
* There is no independent witness to the proceedings.
* Court officials provide no transcript of the hearing.
* Court officials provide no tape of the hearing.
* Byrnes, an assistant clerk magistrate from Westfield, is selected, we learn, because, according to the office of Berkshire County clerk magistrate Christopher Speranzo, he (Byrnes) will be objective, since he knows no one in the case. THE PLANET receives information, unconfirmed, though, that Byrnes’ father and Meredith Nilan’s father, Clifford, have a professional and personal relationship, going back to the beginning days in the court system.
* The victim, Peter Moore, is not allowed to attend the hearing.
* The victim’s lawyer, by his own testimony, is not allowed to attend the hearing.
* Meredith Nilan’s lawyer, Tim Shugrue, is allowed to attend and present evidence.
* The magistrate finds that there is insufficient evidence for the case to go to trial. This incredulous, incredible finding angers the Mary Jane and Joe Kapanskis. Good, honest, decent citizens — ordinary citizens who don’t have connections in the System — know that if they had been behind the wheel, they would have been signed, sealed, and delivered, on ice. The perception is that the GOB have saved “one of their own,” yet again.
* Despite the fact that there is no independent confirmation of what went on in the hearing, the Boring Broadsheet — a newspaper once known as The Berkshire Eagle — dutifully prints the story of the Byrnes’ finding. No harm, no foul. See. All that fuss over nothing. Oops. Sorry, Peter Moore. Get over it, big guy. The BB story — which runs without a byline, that is, anonymously — only quotes Shugrue. It takes his account as whole cloth, including his claim that a full evidential hearing was held. As legal observers point out, including lawyers and one judge to whom THE PLANET spoke, that turns out to be a false claim, since the other side in the case was not allowed to present or attend. The BB later begins a more responsible approach to its coverage, forced into doing to by public outrage and the pressure of this website’s coverage.
We shall be back to post the next installment of today’s PLANET. Look soon for:
THE NILAN CASE MAY YET BE THE WATERLOO OF THE CITY’S SOUL.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.