What Is Scary

On Sunday morning television, the bumbling Keystone Kops are funny. We laugh at their antics and we empathize with their incompetence. But in real life bumbling police are not funny, they’re dangerous. When impoverished thinking and inadequate training merge with gun and badge, catastrophe ensues.

And along comes the Pittsfield Massachusetts Police Department…

Reel Life vs Real Life

According to Google Maps, 1,150 feet separates the Pittsfield Massachusetts courthouse from the police station. Coincidently, Pittsfield’s most prestigious law firm also sits 1,150 feet from the police station. Google Maps equates 1,150 feet to a five-minute walk.

Five minutes…

Five minutes that changed my life.

In 2005, I was wrongly arrested by a Pittsfield Massachusetts police detective named James Casey. Casey, an individual who views the world with a “burn” or “bury” mentality, is so obsessed with apprehending a suspect…any suspect, that he’s willing to go anywhere at the bidding of apparent facts, unconcerned about rational probabilities. He gobbles up details that bear little validity, or even no validity at all, as long as the information supports his irrational notions.

As Casey knocked on my front door, poised to arrest me on charges of public lewdness, he was completely oblivious that he’d been set up. Casey, who was moments away from publicly humiliating me and forever ruining my life, remained clueless that his facts, information, and evidence had been carefully assembled and laid out for him to find.  Casey was being steered and driven through a course of someone else’s making, much like a child operates a remote-control car.

The events leading up to my arrest had been choreographed by a seasoned ex convict whom I’d crossed paths with but had never actually met.  Our lives intertwined when he began stalking and terrorizing a close female friend of mine, compelling me to intervene.  Now, in an act of retribution, this career criminal was using the Pittsfield Police Department to do his bidding.  By rather ingenious means he’d left a trail of breadcrumbs that led right to my front door.  All that was needed now was a sap, someone within the police department who was gullible enough, impulsive enough, and myopic enough, to take the bait. And along came detective James Casey.

As Casey slapped the handcuffs around my wrists he must have realized that my arrest could serve more than one purpose.  Or perhaps I should say, he realized my arrest could be used to conveniently wrap up more than one unsolved case. He was thinking specifically about a fellow detective who’d recently hit dead ends in a sexual assault investigation. Four months had transpired since the assault and no suspects were in sight. Casey recognized this as a golden opportunity to gain favor. He must have thought, “Seeing as how the real culprit was never going to be caught, who cares which scumbag we pin it on, as long as the public is assuaged, I look good, my colleague looks good, and the department looks good?” At that moment my fate was decided. Not only was I being arrested for public lewdness, I would soon to be arrested again. This time for sexual assault.

Casey was familiar with the assault case and knew that witnesses had described the perpetrator as wearing a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt. All Casey had to do was find such a garment in my possession and, voila, the start of something good!  With complete disregard for proper police protocol he rummaged through my house, despite having no search warrant or legal authority whatsoever.  He was hunting for something that could be used as make-shift evidence.

Coming up empty-handed, feeling foolish, Casey surmised: “If I can’t actually find a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt, why not just perpetuate the myth that I did? Nobody will question me, I’m a police detective.” And so he doctored his arrest report to reflect that he’d confiscated a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt from my home.

Casey crafted his report in such a way as to circumvent the lack of search warrant or legal authority.  He wrote that he saw, in plain view, a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt lying in the center of my bedroom floor.  Well isn’t that convenient!  He even went so far as to augment his report with fake dialog; comments I’d supposedly uttered upon seeing Casey clutching my sweatshirt. He wrote that I’d nervously denied ownership of the sweatshirt and that I’d expressed concerns over it being tested for DNA.

Sadly, Casey was correct, no one ever questioned or doubted the details contained within his report. No one in the Pittsfield Police Department, no one in the District Attorney’s office, and certainly no one in the prestigious law office of Cain Hibbard Myers & Cook; the firm hired to represent me. In fact, during the 23-month interim between arrest and trial, not one soul attempted to fact check anything in the report. Instead, the bogus information was simply conveyed to the grand jury and represented as being the true and accurate word of a respected Pittsfield Police officer.  For all intents and purposes, Casey could have documented in his report that he’d been abducted by space aliens. No one would have challenged him and the grand jury would have believed him.

Five minutes…

Five minutes that changed my life.

A key player at my trial was Second Assistant District Attorney Joan M. McMenemy. As an officer of the court, she worked 1,150 feet South of the police station. Her job was to prosecute me. Another key player was criminal defense lawyer Leonard H. Cohen. As an attorney with the law firm of Cain Hibbard Myers & Cook, he worked 1,150 feet West of the police station.  His job was to defend me.

McMenemy and Cohen. Two legal gurus who, while on the clock, probably thought nothing of a ten minute stroll to pursue an $8 iced white chocolate mocha latte. Yet, despite having almost two years to prepare for their courtroom skirmish, neither individual thought to stroll five minutes to the police station in order to pursue justice. Had either lawyer done so, had either lawyer done their job properly, they would have discovered that detective James Casey had flagrantly lied in his arrest report. They would have learned that no dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt had ever been catalogued into police evidence.

Five minutes…

Five minutes that changed my life.

During trial I was a sitting duck on the witness stand. While grandstanding for the jury, McMenemy launched into a tirade.  She grilled me incessantly about the sweatshirt she believed to exist. Courtroom attendees became riveted, listening intently as I rebuffed McMenemy’s attacks, vehemently denying her unfounded allegations of a sweatshirt. But as McMenemy’s barrage continued, my credibility deteriorated. She had successfully convinced jury members that I was lying.  And if I’m lying then I must be guilty.

McMenemy became enraged at my refusals to admit ownership of the sweatshirt.  In desperation she called a sidebar conference and consulted with the judge. At that point the jury was immediately sequestered, no longer privy to what was being said in the courtroom. With jury members safely out of earshot, McMenemy told the judge that she couldn’t understand why I was being allowed to deny the existence of evidence when said evidence was documented in full by a police detective. As a result, she requested a 30-minute recess. At that point she summoned her intern and gave orders for the sweatshirt to be retrieved from the police station.

Attorney Cohen approached me and said, “Well, you’re in trouble now, they’ve gone to get the sweatshirt.  How am I supposed to defend against this?  What do I say when the prosecutor starts waving your sweatshirt in front of the jury?”  I was flabbergasted.  Here it was February of 2007, detective Casey had falsified his arrest report way back in February of 2005, and in all that time my attorney had never made a five minute walk to the police station to personally lay eyes on the sweatshirt?  This is something a second year law student would have done, instinctively.

Five minutes…

Five minutes that changed my life.

I wasn’t being represented by just any lawyer, this was Leonard H. Cohen one of the preeminent lawyers in Massachusetts. A man who rose to prominence by serving as the criminal defense attorney in thousands of cases and hundreds of high-profile proceedings. A man who was recognized by Lawyers Weekly as one of the most influential lawyers in the state and a powerhouse within the criminal law community. How had Cohen failed so miserably to perform such a routine task as verifying and examining evidence?  To curry favor with the District Attorney?  We’ll never know.

McMenemy’s intern soon returned, looking rather sheepish, reporting that no sweatshirt had ever been catalogued relative to my case. And like lava spewing from a volcano the sordid details emerged.  Pittsfield police detective James Casey had made false statements within an official arrest report.  He’d offered a false instrument for filing.  He lied to the district attorney.  He intentionally mislead a grand jury. All criminal offenses for which he should be held accountable.

Unfortunately, jury members heard none of this.  They were still conveniently out of earshot when the shocking new developments were revealed. When the jury finally did reconvene, McMenemy merely stood up, stone-faced, and announced: “The prosecution rests.” I grew incredulous. A Second Assistant District Attorney was covering up the illicit activity of a corrupt police detective. In the process she was concealing the fact that she hadn’t done her job, hiding the fact that she had crucified someone using evidence she’d never verified.  Evidence that didn’t exist.  She was going to allow the jury’s last impression of me to be that of a liar.

When it was Cohen’s turn to shine, did he bring jury members up to speed?  Did he bring to light the illicit antics of a corrupt police detective?  Did he expose the inexcusable actions of a prosecutor who violated the sacred oath she swore to uphold? The answer to all of the above is, NO.

James Casey is now an Arizona state trooper, a position that affords even greater opportunity for abuse of power.  And McMenemy?  Well, in exchange for debilitating the legal system and facilitating police corruption, she’s now a judge in Berkshire Juvenile Court.  Of all the attorneys in Berkshire County guess who publicly voiced support for McMenemy’s appointment, going so far as to call her: “Eminently well-qualified to sit as a judge”  Why Leonard H. Cohen of course!

Five minutes…

Five minutes that changed my life.

In any theatrical production nothing happens without the help of secondary characters. They contribute more to any story than just “being in the background”. Their importance shouldn’t be ignored – they don’t just interact with the main character or provide a foil, but instead they help advance the plot, they move the story forward, carry subplots, heighten conflict, reveal information and do much more.

Well there you have it.

A theatrical production starring James Casey.

Supporting cast: Joan M. McMenemy and Leonard H. Cohen

Cop Karma

Life will let you get away with something for a while,

but sooner or later you will pay the price.

Everything you do in life causes the effects that you experience.

when you get the bill, be prepared to pay.


I was 42 years old when the handcuffs were clamped around my wrists. Scared and confused, I thought, “Why is this happening to me, I haven’t broken any laws? I perform dutifully at my job, I serve the community, I’m well respected by peers, surely there’s been some horrible mistake.”

Suddenly my life, my reputation, everything I’d worked for…gone.

All that remained was an indelible mark on my soul. I’d become the hapless victim of a misguided police detective named James Casey; an individual unsuited to carry a gun and badge. As a result of his faulty investigative work, I was arrested and publicly humiliated in regard to three lewd and lascivious incidents that were later debunked. Out of the ten charges levied against me by Casey, five were eventually dropped by the district attorney’s office and five yielded not guilty trial verdicts.  In fact, during trial, it was revealed that not only was I not the culprit, there never was a culprit.

But it’s Casey’s behavior after the arrest that is most disturbing. Deliberate acts of malfeasance, stemming from flagrant disregard for common police procedures and protocols.

Casey’s list of improprieties reads like a playlist:

(*)  Illegal search and seizure subsequent to being denied a warrant
(*)  Making false written statements within a police report
(*)  Offering a false instrument for filing
(*)  Fabricating evidence
(*)  Misleading a grand jury
(*)  Lying to the District Attorney
(*)  Mendacious superior court testimony

I do hate the man. I hate what he did to me. I hate the fact that his exploits were publicly revealed in a court of law, yet he’ll never admit responsibility nor will he ever be held accountable.  So I ask, what emotions am I supposed to feel upon discovering that not too long ago, James Casey caught a bullet that nearly ended his life?

According to a recent Berkshire Eagle newspaper article, James Casey left the Pittsfield Massachusetts Police Department in 2008 to begin a career as an Arizona state trooper. On October 8, 2014, while performing a routine traffic stop on a lonely stretch of highway, a member of the Mexican Mafia drew a .357 caliber handgun and fired a single shot into Casey’s face, shattering his left cheekbone. Casey sustained extensive damage to his face. A portion of his nose was blown off, requiring reconstructive surgery, and he lost six or seven teeth from his upper left jaw. In addition, Casey had a titanium plate inserted into his cheek, had a quarter-sized hole in his palette repaired with 155 stitches and had bullet fragments removed from both eyes.

For the first time in my life I truly understand ambivalence. In my case, the struggle between loathing an individual who unjustly ruined my life and feeling compassion toward a fellow human being who doesn’t deserve the horrible tragedy that befell him.

Perhaps this serves as life’s lesson for all of us. The sum of a person’s actions often decide their fate. James Casey relocated from Massachusetts to Arizona, a distance of well over 2,000 miles.

But Karma found him…


There’s a standing joke in our household that whenever one of us is blamed for something, we toss our hands skyward in mock exasperation and quip: “I didn’t do it…I’ve been Trapanied”.

This is gallows humor, a coping mechanism, an attempt to diffuse the devastation my family suffers everyday thanks to Mark B. Trapani, an unscrupulous member of an even more unscrupulous Pittsfield Massachusetts police department. A man whose complete disregard for common police procedures and protocols is reprehensible. In 2007, at the hands of this pseudo investigator, I was wrongly sentenced to eight years in state prison for a crime perpetrated while I was two towns away with evidence to prove it.

But when that evidence is illegally seized and tampered with…

In 2009, from the bowels of my prison cell, I submitted to Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto a chronological reiteration of Trapani’s improprieties; along with those committed by detective James Casey and officer Dale Eason. The matter was promptly swept under the rug. But I refused to give up. I contacted Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and forwarded irrefutable evidence that members of the Pittsfield Police Department knowingly and willfully manipulated “evidence” and “facts” to make it appear as if they’d miraculously wrapped up a four-month-old unsolved sexual assault case.

Unfortunately, Coakley had no interest in probing into police corruption. She was laser-focused on her personal agenda, campaigning against republican Scott Brown for the coveted Senate seat that Ted Kennedy held for 47 years. Coakley lost miserably. Four years later she would go on to lose her bid for governor, defeated by Charlie Baker.

In 2012 James Ruberto was replaced by Daniel Bianchi. I thought perhaps a fresh mayor would delve into the underpinnings of a troubled police force. I was wrong. Functioning with impunity, Pittsfield law enforcement continued its unethical practices. Now Linda Tyer is at the mayoral helm. And guess what? Pittsfield police corruption worsens everyday. Three regimes…no change.

Amid this debacle – a miscarriage of justice spanning one decade – gun slinger Mark Trapani has steadily risen through the ranks of law enforcement. According to various Berkshire Eagle newspaper articles: In 2012 Trapani held the rank of Sergeant. On March 24, 2015 he was appointed to permanent full-time Lieutenant. On August 29, 2016 Trapani was promoted to Captain. So where is the motivation for Pittsfield law enforcement to act with honor and dignity?

Within the Pittsfield Massachusetts police department, malfeasance breeds reward!

Master of Puppets

Gullibility:  A failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into a misguided course of action.

Credulity:  A readiness or willingness to believe or trust too readily, especially without proper or adequate evidence.

Classes of people especially vulnerable to gullibility and credulity include children, the elderly, those with developmental disabilities, and the entire Pittsfield Massachusetts Police Department. In children, gullibility and credulity are cute. In the elderly and developmentally disabled, gullibility and credulity are unfortunate facts of life. Within law enforcement, gullibility and credulity are deeply flawed character traits.

Pittsfield detectives are especially susceptible to impoverished thinking…swallowing information naively and completely without asking common sense questions regarding its reliability or factual basis. They have a marked tendency to become easily convinced by details that bear little validity, or even no validity at all, as long as the information fits into their irrational notions. Such counterfactual thinking not only makes them shortsighted, it renders them dangerous.

I fell victim to the gullibility and credulity of Pittsfield detectives firsthand by way of a convicted felon who manipulated them like a puppet master.  Marrionettes dancing on strings, the sleuths mindlessly followed a trail of bread crumbs, oblivious that they were being played. The felon to whom I’m referring – a man who served over a decade in prison for robbing homes in Pittsfield and surrounding towns – duped detectives into arresting me in regard to incidents that were later proven to have never occurred.  Imagine, a gaggle of law enforcement idiots, drooling over fabricated evidence and facts strategically spoon fed by of all people a career criminal. Your tax dollars at work!

The fiasco began when I had the ex convict picked up by Pittsfield police and held for questioning. He’d been terrorizing a female friend of mine for months while detectives sat around with their thumbs in their butts, ignoring her repeated pleas for police intervention. (Read my April 19, 2016 blog post titled Wrong Priorities).  During their half-hearted interrogation detectives managed to divulge my name and address.  The felon was then released, no legal charges pending.

As the felon nonchalantly strolled from the police station, armed with my identity, he formulated a plan to seek retribution.

The rest is history…

Google Thy Name

Google the name William F. Thornton III and you’ll find very disturbing information. The Pittsfield Massachusetts Police Department knows this information isn’t true but that doesn’t seem to matter. Berkshire superior court judge Daniel Ford knows this information isn’t true but that doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that my story remains secret. What matters is that sordid details remain concealed from the public.

What you won’t find on Google is the truth: Nothing in print regarding a Richmond Massachusetts citizen – a law biding individual with no criminal history – who had his life unjustly and irrevocably altered by the most corrupt law enforcement entity in the state. Nor will you find anything regarding the superior court judge who has taken great pains to conceal the illicit investigation against me.

In September of 2013 I wrapped up an eight-year prison sentence for a crime I didn’t commit. In fact, I was two towns away when the crime occurred. I was 42-years-old when the handcuffs were slapped around my wrists. I am now fifty-three. I want my former life back, I want my integrity restored, and I want my bogus criminal record erased. But most importantly, I want those responsible to be exposed and held accountable. I can think of only one way to accomplish this: Solicit the help of local media to “call out” District Attorney David Capeless. I want a showdown in the street with plenty of witnesses. A retrial in which all is publicly revealed.  But this will never happen. The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield’s only newspaper, won’t print my story.

Granting me a retrial would prove devastating for Pittsfield police administration because I possess myriad evidence, (e.g., legal documents, official reports, affidavits, and trial transcript excerpts), that unequivocally and irrefutably dismantle the entire Pittsfield police organization. The materials were procured while I was incarcerated thanks to the tenacious efforts of two criminal defense attorneys and a pair of highly trained private investigators. Everyone involved concurs that nothing compares to the corrupt activity perpetrated within Pittsfield’s unmonitored police department. Judge Daniel Ford is fully aware of this. As a result he’s done everything possible to preclude me from setting foot inside a courtroom. If the Bernard F. Baran, Jr case has taught us anything, it’s that judge Daniel Ford is little more than a coward.

I openly and publicly invite Capeless to accept a deal. A carved-in-stone, legally binding written agreement in which no party can renege. It’s to be drafted through the collaborative effort of two attorneys, one representing each side. If Capeless has nothing to hide, if he’s sure that I’m merely blowing smoke, if the Pittsfield Police Department is a paragon of virtue, then he should harbor no concerns. I’m seeking a highly publicized superior court retrial with plenty of newspaper reporters in attendance. The signed agreement will state:  If I’m found guilty a second time, I’ll serve another eight years in prison. That’s correct, eight additional years.  However, if I’m found not guilty then my criminal record is to be expunged and the entire Pittsfield Police Department is to be thoroughly investigated by an outside entity.

I’m waiting…

Pittsfield Doesn’t Win With Wynn

According to a recent Berkshire Eagle newspaper article, Pittsfield police officer Dale Eason has been fired after being found responsible for multiple misconduct charges. In the article Pittsfield police chief Michael Wynn states: “The city of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Police Department take any and all acts of police misconduct by our personnel extremely seriously. Service as a police officer requires a high degree of public trust. On those rare occasions, as is the case here, that trust is violated, severe sanctions must be imposed.”

Where was Wynn’s concern for police misconduct on August 14, 2008 when Pittsfield cops smashed down the door to Joseph and Debra Simonetta’s home?  Where was his concern as the couple was being terrorized, merely because they had refused to relinquish custody of their granddaughter after Department of Children and Families workers arrived unannounced without a court order authorizing them to remove the child?  Wynn wasn’t worried about violating public trust as his goon squad placed Joseph Simonetta in a choke-hold, spraying him in the face with pepper spray.  Wynn talks about imposing sanctions, why were no sanctions imposed after a series of knee-strikes were delivered to Debra Simonetta’s groin, or when a police psycho body slammed the Simonetta’s daughter Joline to the ground, dragging her by shackled arms, going so far as to point a weapon in her face?  Wynn never issued a formal apology, yet he claims to be an advocate for public trust?


What happened to Wynn’s concern for police misconduct on June 25, 2015 when two Pittsfield police officers (One of them Dale Eason) mistakenly barged into the wrong home and offended 88-year-old  Phyllis Stankiewicz?  As the little old lady stood holding a paring knife, she had been peeling apples to make applesauce, the dynamic duo became pysical, restraining her, eventually hauling the poor woman off to jail.  During the subsequent investigation Wynn made no attempt to mend public trust.


Where was Wynn’s concern for police misconduct in July of 2015 when a purported hard drive failure conveniently destroyed an undisclosed number of police records and evidence?  Had it not been for random chance, no one outside of the Pittsfield Police Department would have ever known about the incident. Wynn intentionally withheld this information, jeopardizing the right to a fair trial for an unknown number of people.  As he was busy orchestrating the coverup, how concerned over public trust could he have been?

According to Wynn, the hard drive issues were first reported internally on June 22nd. Wynn was eventually forced to admit that the police didn’t inform the DA’s office until July 13, which means the police waited a full three weeks before informing prosecutors about the potential evidentiary issue.


Does Wynn really think he can fool us by feigning concern over misconduct within his police department?  Are we to actually believe that he strives to preserve public trust?  Wynn has consistently proven to be a supercilious individual who harbors an insouciant attitude and disingenuous disposition.

Architects of Injustice

When law enforcement willfully and intentionally falsifies official records, they’re doing so in connection with a broader criminal aim.

Case in point: In an attempt to conceal one particular fraudulent criminal investigation, someone within the Pittsfield Massachusetts Police Department created bogus attendance rosters; doctoring the names. The forged documents were discovered due to a huge blunder made by the culprit. The rosters are dated February 23, 2005 through March 1, 2005, a period in which Anthony Reillo was chief of the Pittsfield Police Department. In fact, Reillo was police chief from from 1996 until November 30, 2007. But the forged rosters inexplicably list Michael Wynn as police chief, a position he didn’t attain until 2009.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the 2005 rosters were requested in order to capture the shifts/hours worked by three individuals: Detective James Casey, Investigator Mark Trapani, and Investigator James Stimpson; key players in an illicit criminal investigation. Aspects of the rosters establish that Trapani, under pressure to wrap up a four-month-old unsolved sexual assault case, fabricated narratives he knew to be completely false. A Springfield Massachusetts criminal defense team was planning to expose Trapani, thus necessitating the attendance rosters.

In 2010, despite legal ramifications, a written request for the rosters went ignored by police administration. Hiding something?  After a second request was ignored, legal proceedings ensued forcing police to relinquish the seven rosters they’d tried so desperately to hide. In a last ditch effort to conceal information, someone gained access into the police department’s computer system and obtained seven rosters from 2010. The date headings were appropriately changed to make the rosters appear as if they’d been generated on February 23rd through March 1st of 2005.  All information pertaining to Casey, Trapani, and Stimpson was completely erased from the rosters as if the three individuals never existed. But in the culprit’s haste he failed to notice that because the fake documents were doctored from 2010 paperwork, Michael Wynn is listed as police chief.

According to the forged rosters: On Thursday, February 24, 2005 Chief Michael Wynn was the shift commander from 0800 hours to 1600 hours. Chief Wynn is listed again working 0800 hours to 1600 hours on Friday, February 25, 2005, He’s listed again on Saturday, February 26, 2005, and yet again on Sunday, February 27, 2005. On Monday, February 28, 2005 Chief Wynn worked overtime, from 0630 hours to 1700 hours, for the purpose of school/training.  This is a neat trick considering Anthony Reillo was Pittsfield’s police chief at the time.

Oops.  If you’re going to falsify official records, at least get the details correct!

I possess a stack of dated/signed legal documents (e.g., Applications for Criminal Complaint, Temporary Arrest Warrants, Arrest Reports, memos submitted to Chief Reillo, photo array cover sheets, court transcript excerpts) establishing that Casey, Trapani, and Stimpson were on duty and quite busy from February 23, 2005 through March 1, 2005.  Yet their names vanished from the corresponding attendance rosters.  Each cashed a Pittsfield Police Department paycheck that week, how is this possible if they don’t exist?

Only someone with proper clearance and authority could have accessed the police department computer and forged records.  This establishes that corruption and cover up within the Pittsfield Police Department extends to the administrative level. So those empowered to arrest anyone who commits forgery are themselves the most heinous of forgers.  The worst part…no disciplinary action will ever ensue.

Below is a link to the doctored attendance rosters.

Attendance Roster PPD February 23 through March 1 2005





Who Is Policing The Pittsfield Police?

One of the most important responsibilities of an attorney general is to function as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.  Within this capacity an obligation exists to foster integrity in public service at state, county and local levels to promote the public’s trust and confidence.  But what happens when a citizen submits legitimate and irrefutable information regarding corruption within the public sector?

I forwarded to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, proof that members of the Pittsfield Police Department knowingly fabricated and manipulated “evidence” and “facts” so that it would appear that a case had been solved and favor could be gained.  The materials encompassed:  (1) Trial transcript excerpts in which police detectives had been forced to admit corruption, (2) Documentation from forensic experts that reiterated specific acts of police corruption, (3) Signed affidavits attesting to police corruption from members of the forensic community.

In an effort to keep their hands clean, the attorney general’s office instructed me to bring the matter before Berkshire County district attorney David Capeless.  How utterly foolish.  Asking David Capeless to investigate the Pittsfield Police Department is akin to hiring a fox to guard the henhouse.

Take for instance the summer of 2015 when a purported hard drive failure conveniently destroyed an undisclosed number of records and evidence.  Had it not been for random chance, no one outside of the Pittsfied Police Department would have ever known about the incident. Police chief Michael Wynn intentionally withheld this information, jeopardizing the right to a fair trial for an unknown number of people. According to Wynn, the hard drive issues were first reported internally on June 22nd.  Wynn was eventually forced to admit that the police didn’t inform the DA’s office until July 13, which means the police waited a full three weeks before informing prosecutors about the potential evidentiary issue.

Rather than launch a full scale investigation, DA Capeless aided and abetted the Pittsfield Police Department by concealing Wynn’s inappropriate actions.  Not only did Capeless fail to levee disciplinary measures against an unscrupulous police chief, he joined in the cover up.  Months after learning about the hard drive failure Capeless still hadn’t told anyone, including  defense attorneys, about the loss—and no one from the police department or DA’s office will speak about it.

And yet the district attorney’s office, in conjunction with the police department, are expected to perform honestly and with integrity?   These are the very individuals who are entrusted to maintain public order and peace.  Why shouldn’t the Pittsfield Police Department be corrupt?  The district attorney not only condones such action, he encourages it.

Ghost Evidence

Pittsfield police are consummate magicians, using slight of hand to deceive grand juries.  Their favorite parlor trick:  Ghost Evidence.  Props that ostensibly exist while defendants face indictment but mysteriously vanish prior to trial.

Case in point: While testifying before one particular grand jury, Pittsfield police investigator Mark Trapani described the scene of a sexual assault.  The incident involved a young woman who was attacked in her car, a white Oldsmobile Alero, parked near the front entrance of a local Subway sandwich shop.  Trapani told grand jury members that he’d snapped numerous digital photographs of the victim’s car, especially of the passenger side window, to capture latent fingerprint images left by the assailant.

Trapani testified that the photo compilation corroborated his latent fingerprint discovery.  He vehemently promoted the photographic evidence, expounding upon its role in establishing the defendant’s culpability.  Bear in mind, he never actually brandished the photographs for jury members to see, he just touted their existence.  For reasons that defy logic, jury members failed to recognize the impropriety of not exhibiting the photos.  Nor did they insist on seeing the photos prior to indicting.

During trial, when asked to present the photographs, Trapani shrugged his shoulders and confessed that he hadn’t brought them.  Hadn’t brought them?  How could Trapani have possibly made such a flagrant oversight?  He was the lead witness in a high-profile superior court criminal proceeding.

Investigator Mark Trapani and prosecutor Joan McMenemy had collaborated for sixteen months prior to trial, yet we’re to believe that not once during their countless brainstorming sessions did they discuss the presentation of crime scene photographs?  Anyone who watches courtroom docudramas on television knows that in real life the opposite happens; jury members are inundated with crime scene photographic evidence.

For reasons never disclosed, McMenemy excluded the photos – if we’re to believe there were ever any photos – because Trapani’s latent fingerprint discovery was bogus.  There was no latent fingerprint evidence found at the crime scene and so no corroborating photographs existed.  In her typical conniving style, McMenemy withheld this fact from jury members.

Due to the agenda of criminal defense attorney Leonard H. Cohen, appropriate action was suspiciously circumvented.  In addition to nonchalantly glossing over Trapani’s highly unorthodox exclusion of crime scene photographs, Cohen never requested a recess in order for Trapani to retrieve his alleged photographic evidence.  The Pittsfield police station sits one block from the courthouse, the trip would have required ten minutes.

The Commonwealth’s case focused exclusively on a latent fingerprint supposedly discovered on the passenger side window of the victim’s Oldsmobile Alero, yet to this day no one outside the Pittsfield Police Department has been allowed to see corroborating photos.  Even more aggregiously, no one has ever seen photographs of the passenger side window to substantiate the existence of a latent fingerprint in situ.

Ghost evidence…vanished into thin air

As it so happens, I was the defendant in this case.  As a result of courtroom improprieties I served eight years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit.  The courtroom antics displayed by Joan M. McMenemy throughout her career have paid off.  In exchange for debilitating the legal system and facilitating police corruption, McMenemy now serves as a judge in the Juvenile Court.  I’m sure she’ll do the legal system proud!

Of all the criminal defense attorneys in Berkshire County guess who publicly voiced support for McMenemy’s appointment, going so far as to call her: “Eminently well-qualified to sit as a judge”  

Why Leonard H. Cohen of course.  Hmmm, just sayin…


Transcript excerpt, regarding no photos