Acting Supreme Court Justice Michael Gary has cleared a man accused of firing a gun into a crowd despite the testimony of four police officers. The New York Daily News reports:
In a non-jury trial this month, officers from four different commands — including a lieutenant and an Internal Affairs captain — all testified they witnessed Marty Sully, 27, fire into a crowd outside the Albany Manor nightclub in Crown Heights.
The officers say they witnessed this while on “high visibility patrol” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. They claim to have seen Sully “clear as day,” firing under a street lamp. Though a gun was found near Sully, no forensics tests were conducted because the police witnessed it and no one was harmed.
That testimony wasn’t good enough for Justice Gary, who decided to believe …
the defendant’s brother and five pals who said they were with Sully after he got beat up in the club and all hit the deck when shots rang out. None of them saw a gunman.
Law enforcement sources as well as a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn district attorney expressed disagreement with the judge, who has presided over many controversial decisions recently:
He unlawfully closed his courtroom earlier this year while protecting a rapist from getting arrested for threatening a witness. This month, he was near tears when giving a killer driver probation after making a baffling verdict in her bench trial. And in 2013, he made an error on the law that allowed a drunken motorist to keep his license two weeks before he mowed down a Brooklyn couple.
Defense lawyers described Gary as “highly intelligent,” if brusque and eccentric, and uncompromising on the law. Some noted he’s a welcome exception amid mostly pro-prosecution judges.
As the NYPD faces increasing distrust from the public, that trust may also be put to the test in courtrooms. The inability to take officers at their word could possibly lead to some dangerous failures of justice. One angry law enforcement source tells the Daily News, “He’s sending a violent guy back into the streets and it’s scary.”