POLICE APPEAL THE NILAN RULING … CENTRAL BERKSHIRE COURT JUDGE ASKED TO RECONSIDER MAGISTRATE’S DECISION … plus …THE STOOLEY PULLS A ‘KUBRICK’ IN HIS VIEW OF BERKSHIRE COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT …
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
POLICE APPEAL NILAN RULING
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 19, 2012) — Yesterday, the Pittsfield Police Department filed an appeal in the Meredith Nilan hit-and-run case. The PPD filed the appeal with a judge in Central Berkshire district Court, asking that the decision of a Westfield clerk magistrate to drop the case against Nilan be reconsidered.
The decision of Westfield assistant clerk magistrate Nathan Byrnes that there was insufficient evidence to move ahead with criminal charges against Ms. Nilan have caused an uproar in Pittsfield political and judicial circles, and with the public at large.
How the Appeal Would Work
According to Conor Berry of the Springfield Republican, if the appeal is granted, “the clerk-magistrate who conducted the so-called show-cause hearing must provide a judge with the police department’s criminal complaint application and any supporting materials so the judge can make a prompt decision.
A judge can deny a redetermination application or reconsider the allegations previously provided to the clerk-magistrate. If additional evidence or arguments are presented, the accused party has the legal right to be heard, according to state law.
If a judge agrees there is probable cause to charge Meredith Nilan, she would then be arraigned on criminal charges in District Court.” Here is the link to Berry’s article:
Secret Hearing Reminds One of Anything but a Democracy
Byrnes traveled to Pittsfield last Wednesday to preside at a secret hearing. No advance word of the hearing was issued. No press representatives were there. No member of the public was allowed into the hearing. There is no transcript, no listing of evidence or exhibits, and it isn’t clear if the victim in the case, Peter Moore, or his attorneys, were present. The only word we have received, publicly, has been that of Ms. Nilan’s attorney, Tim Shugrue. The procedure reminds one of England’s notorious Star Chamber, or the secret trial held for political prisoners in North Korea.
We won’t even touch the question of how this near-fatal hit-and-run could be consider a misdemeanor in the first place and not a felony. That is why they have the courts, though, isn’t it.
No evidence? Truly? We Guess the Magistrate Didn’t Look at the Photos or Consider the Police Reports
THE PLANET became the first media outlet to publish photos of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run incident, a 2001 Suburu Forester owned by Cliff Nilan and driven by Meredith Nilan on the night of Dec. 8. (see yesterday’s PLANET for the four photos). When one examines the pictures, considers the extent of Moore’s injuries, and factors in the difference in the Nilans’ recollections and those of Moore and the police, it’s hard to fathom how a supposedly impartial clerk magistrate could not find sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.
Of course, one easy way for an “impartial” court officer to find in this way would be that strings were pulled. The courts are a cozy community, and in a case involving such a high-profile person as Cliff Nilan, it is not out of the realm of possibility that “The Fix Was In” — not that THE PLANET would ever make that charge, mind you.
Just One Look. That’s All it Took
One look at the damaged car should be enough. The hole in the windshield is the size of a … human head. Not the head of a deer or a dog. Look at the placement of the hole. Imagine yourself to be the driver. Now imagine how hard it would be NOT to know that a human being’s head made that impact.
There’s a lot of difference between a human being’s head and the head of a deer or a dog, but apparently, the magistrate didn’t feel that way. Apparently, he felt that there was no way Meredith Nilan could have known that it was a human being that she nearly killed, and not the cousin of Bambi.
We do know that the case has destroyed what little confidence people have in the fairness of the local courts. THE PLANET hopes that the appeal will receive a more, let us say, sanguine consideration, and that some of the lost faith will be restored.
VIDEO LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ONE MAN’S VIEW OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
THE PLANET presents one man’s view of the chief law enforcement officer in Berkshire County, David Capeless.
Capeless has been noticeably absent from the Nilan case.
This video was sent to THE PLANET by our frequent contributor, THE STOOLEY. This is the corporate name we use for any number of contributors to this website. This video “Letter to the Editor,” as do all the opinions of others that we run, do not necessarily reflect the views of THE PLANET. We present this knowing that it’s healthy for a society to have an unfettered right to opinions.
In this satiric film, THE STOOLEY uses footage of a Capeless press conference as the basis for his commentary. It proves again that humor and satire are often excellent ways to convey serious points. Click on the link here:
Agree or not, funny or not, it’s certainly one of the most creative political advertisements we’ve ever seen.
WHILE WONDERING IF THE MOON HAS EVER HIT ANYONE IN THE EYE LIKE A BIG PIZZA PIE, THE PLANET SAYS …
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.