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Race Attack Lawyer Asks for Dismissal

By Wendy Lin

An attorney for one of the youths charged in the Howard Beach racial attack asked yesterday that the case against his client be dismissed because the prosecution “can cause him very severe problems.”

Todd Greenberg, attorney for 17-year-old [Defendant], told State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Demakos that the youth is still recovering from a stroke he suffered two years ago.

said [Defendant] “is in a critical stage of his life and even if he is guilty, I don’t know if he deserves a life sentence, which is what would happen because of his emotional situation.”

[Defendant] is one of 12 white youths charged in an attack on three black men Dec. 20 in Howard Beach, Queens. One of the men, Michael Griffith, was struck and killed by a car as he tried to flee.

[Defendant] has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree riot and inciting to riot in the incident. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in jail.

Demakos set an April 10 hearing date to decide the issue. Greenberg said he would call a doctor to testify on [Defendant’s] medical history. “The boy has emotional, psychological and neurological problems,” said Greenberg.

Another defendant, appeared in court yesterday to challenge the admissibility of a statement he made to police.

Det. Insp. Francis Paulson, who had questioned [Defendant], testified that [Defendant] had admitted driving to the scene, but denied participating in the attack. [Defendant] also identified [Defendant] and [Defendant] as two youths who later bragged to others that they beat the black men, Paulson said.

[Defendant’s] attorney, Augustus Agate, is challenging the admissibility of his client’s statement on the grounds that [Defendant] was not advised of his rights to contact an attorney before making statements to police.