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Saturday, August 18, 2007

[NY] Wrapped in web woven while he was Officer Watson

("Person of interest’’ Jamestown police officer Michael Watson had an intimate relationship with Yolanda Bindics who then came up missing. He resigned after a subsequent investigation revealed he had sexual relations with several JPD employees and stalked them after the relationships had ended.)

Watson In Waiting
Criminal, Civil Cases Hinge On Appeals

By PATRICK L. FANELLI pfanelli@post-journal.com
Jamestown Post Journal, NY - Aug 18, 2007
[Excerpts] Three weeks after state Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker dismissed the lawsuit filed against the city of Jamestown by former police officer Michael Watson, his only hope rests with the Fourth Appellate Division in Rochester, which will hear his appeal at some point in the months to come....
[Watson's attorney Paul] Webb’s central argument was that police officials acted either maliciously or recklessly when they charged Watson with seven counts of stalking, four counts of aggravated harassment and one count of official misconduct in the wake of Jamestown resident Yolanda Bindics’ disappearance more than three years ago...
Webb also questioned the charges that were brought against Watson since they alleged that he stalked and harassed the three victims, though the three victims reportedly did not want charges brought against him... The judge, however, looked to the three victims’ original statements on which the charges were based... In the end, [state Supreme Court Justice Timothy] Walker granted Ms. Fiore-Nieves motion for summary judgement, dismissing the case, since he determined that police officials did not act maliciously or recklessly and thus were protected from civil actions under the doctrine of qualified immunity... Ironically, the six misdemeanor charges that remain against Watson also await a decision by the Fourth Appellate Division. In June, Judge Ward ruled that prosecutor Edward Cosgrove could not present certain e-mails and phone conversations critical to his case since he didn’t list them in earlier court documents... If both Cosgrove and Webb lose their respective appeals, that will be end of the criminal case the city is pursuing against Watson and the civil case Watson is pursuing against the city...

1 comment:

  1. Ruling Revives Case Against Ex-Officer: APPELLATE DIVISION

    Posted on: Saturday, 9 February 2008, 09:00 CST

    By Matt Gryta, The Buffalo News, N.Y.

    Feb. 9--A state appellate court has overturned a crucial evidence ruling that favored former Jamestown Police Officer Michael Watson, setting the stage for his possible trial on misdemeanor stalking, harassment and official misconduct charges that followed the investigation into the disappearance of Yolanda Bindics four years ago.

    The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester agreed with special prosecutor Edward C. Cosgrove, the former Erie County district attorney, that Chautauqua County Judge John T. Ward improperly excluded the evidence last March, court officials said Friday.

    Watson is charged with four counts of second-degree harassment, one count of official misconduct and one count of fourth-degree stalking in incidents involving three Jamestown women while he was a member of the Police Department. The allegations came to light during the Bindics investigation.

    The appellate court said Ward erred in precluding the prosecution from using as evidence at trial the personal conversations, telephone conversations or e-mail messages between Watson and any of the women.

    Though Watson's attorneys could not be reached to comment about a possible appeal to the state's high court, the Rochester court's ruling sets the stage for possible scheduling of the misdemeanor trial.

    No one has been charged in the death of Bindics, a Jamestown mother of four whose remains were found last September in the Chautauqua County town of Charlotte.

    But Watson, who resigned from the force in May 2006, has been labeled a person of interest.

    Last summer, State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker of Buffalo dismissed Watson's defamation lawsuit against the City of Jamestown and various police officials he accused of maliciously prosecuting him in the stalking and harassment case.



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