Court Grapples With Ex-Judge's Admission of Views on Race

, New York Law Journal


Former judge Frank Barbaro and mugshot of Donald Kagan
Former judge Frank Barbaro presided over the trial of Donald Kagan, inset.

If Barbaro was biased against Kagan, Taub questioned why the trial transcript revealed that he had stricken testimony from Kagan where the defendant said he knew about guns because of his earlier ownership of guns.

If Barbaro wanted to assist Kagan, Taub said the best thing he could do is to write on Kagan's behalf when Kagan's case came before the parole board this coming November.

Referring to the stricken testimony, Mischel said Barbaro did that to avoid reversal. He reiterated that Barbaro thought at the time he was being impartial.

At one point in Wint and Kagan's fight, Kagan said, "you don't want none of this" a phrase that Barbaro would later say he misinterpreted as a threat.

Such a mishearing was "not such an unusual thing to happen," said Mischel. Taub, however said Barbaro interpreted the phrase correctly the first time.

Several family members of Wint watched the hearing. When it finished, Elisa DeJesus, Wint's aunt, questioned the judge's decision to come forward, which she called "mind boggling."

"Why only this case?" she asked.

Assistant District Attorney Leonard Joblove, chief of the office's appeals bureau, also appeared for the prosecution.

Jeff Adler of Adler & Karliner in Brooklyn also appeared for Kagan.

Barbaro could not be reached for comment Monday.

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