Judge deciding whether to keep NY cop killer in prison
Albany, N.Y.
   
 
More Today's News:
ߦ   Paris Police Dept. - Daily Activity Summary
ߦ   Texas Sets Execution Date For Jewish Prisoner Who Alleges Judge Was Racist and Anti-Semitic
ߦ   Victoria man dies after contracting flesh-eating bacteria
ߦ   Woman says she was viciously attacked while tubing near New Braunfels
ߦ   AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests Austin Man for Possession of Child Pornography
ߦ   Coast Guard reopens Port of New Orleans
ߦ   Conroe Police Dept - Case Tracking Log
ߦ   DPS Seeks Leads in 1983 Cold Case from Galveston County
ߦ   Paris Police Dept - Daily Activity Summary
ߦ   13 mortifying mistakes cops make
ߦ   2 armed men rob donut shop and drag owner as he tried to get away: employee
ߦ   Baltimore police launch 'comeback story' recruitment campaign
ߦ   Bodycam footage shows suspect fight with officers before fatal OIS
ߦ   Corrections Officer Arrested for Not Performing Legally-Required Visual Inmate Checks
ߦ   Dave Smith: The Great Badge Eating Monster
ߦ   FBI investigating tattooed deputy gangs in LASD
ߦ   Grapevine Police Investigates Deadly Crash
ߦ   Officer Down: SWAT team, massive police response as off duty officer shot repeatedly
ߦ   Pilot dead after small plane crashes into community center building in west Harris County
ߦ   WATCH: Hiding Gunman Dead After Initiating Shoot-Out With Dallas Police

 
Search Archives:

Herman Bell's release was approved last month, but a union filed a lawsuit to try to keep him in jail

By Chris Carola
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York judge on Friday heard arguments but didn't immediately rule on whether a former radical who fatally shot two New York City police officers in 1971 should be released on parole.

The state parole board last month approved the release of Herman Bell for next Wednesday but the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of a widow of one of the slain officers to try to keep him in jail.

New York Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, stands with legislators urging the parole board to reverse its decision to release inmate Herman Bell who was convicted in the 1971 murder of two New York City police officers during a news conference at the state Capitol Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
New York Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, stands with legislators urging the parole board to reverse its decision to release inmate Herman Bell who was convicted in the 1971 murder of two New York City police officers during a news conference at the state Capitol Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

PBA lawyers argued Friday that the parole board should have considered Diane Piagentini's victim impact statement, while lawyers for the state argued that the parole board did its job.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Koweek said he would start reviewing Friday's arguments on Monday. He said his temporary restraining order granted in the PBA's lawsuit seeking to halt Bell's release remains in effect, essentially keeping the 70-year-old Bell behind bars until the judge issues a decision.

Bell has served 44 years for his role in the fatal shootings of officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini at a Harlem housing development.

Bell and two other members of the Black Liberation Army, a violent offshoot of the Black Panther Party, were convicted of killing Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini after luring he officers to the housing development with a bogus 911 call. Authorities say both officers were shot multiple times, with Piagentini hit by more than 20 bullets.

During Bell's eighth parole hearing in early March, the state parole board approved Bell's release from Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, determining "his debt has been paid to society." Board members took into consideration his stated remorse for killing the officers and the fact he had earned bachelor's and master's degrees while in prison and counseled other inmates.

The officers' union says Bell should be kept in prison. The lawsuit against the state contends parole board members failed to consider, as required under state law, the comments of the sentencing judge and prosecutors, who indicated Bell should never be released from prison. The board also didn't consider the victim impact statement she submitted, her lawyers argued.

Parole board members can consider many factors, but "it doesn't give them the right to act outside the law," said Mitch Garber, Piagentini's lawyer.

The lawsuit also seeks a new parole board to reconsider whether Bell is eligible for parole.

Joshua McMahon, the assistant attorney general handling the case for the state, argued that relatives of a crime victim have no standing when it comes to the parole process other than to submit impact statements.

Diane Piagentini and her two daughters sat in the front row of the courtroom along with leaders of the PBA of the City of New York.

One of Bell's co-defendants has since died in prison while the other, Anthony Bottom, is serving 25 years to life at maximum-security Sullivan Correctional Facility in Sullivan County. Bottom, 66, is due for a parole hearing in June.

Post a comment
Name/Nickname:
(required)
Email Address: (must be a valid address)
(will not be published or shared)
Comments: (plain text only)
Printer Friendly Format  Printer Friendly Format    Send to a Friend  Send to a Friend    RSS Feed  RSS Feed
© 1999-2019 The Police News. All rights reserved.