The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, June 06, 2016

VEGA VERDICT

There is much chatter about the Vega verdict. Gabriel Vega was accused of the 2nd Degree murder of his girlfriend, pregnant at the time with his child, and then burning down the crime scene. The victim, Vanessa Milligan, was nineteen years-old when murdered. Vega was twenty years-old.

The jury deliberated for four days before finding Vega guilty of Manslaughter, a lesser crime than 2nd Degree Murder. Frederick Rench defended Vega, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Botts was the prosecutor.

We all know that Vega was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and we all wish he had been convicted of that crime. The fact the jury convicted him of a lesser charge should not lead anyone to the conclusion that Botts did anything but a good job.

A prosecutor can only put out what he or she has in front of a jury. They can do that in a competent manner with the belief that they have met their burden of proof. It is then up to twelve average citizens to decide.

We've seen good verdicts and bad. The non-juror reads about the case in the paper and, in this case, recalls the initial press reports. That may differ from what the jury is able to hear. These things are messy. There is a judge, two attorneys and twelve citizens involved. Just because Vega didn't get convicted of 2nd Degree Murder doesn't mean Botts screwed-up. He could have a tried the perfect case but if a juror or two wants to hold out, you get compromise verdicts. This, as one reader points out, has the stench of a compromise verdict.

Unless your an attorney with criminal law experience and sat through the entire case, it seems unfair to criticize Botts. Unless you can point to specific errors, Botts did what he could with what he had. Vega is going away for a long time. It's not a time to do cartwheels, but Vega won't be out until he's a middle-aged man.


21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why write something this corny. I liked it better when Abelove f*cked the case up.

Anonymous said...

Vega was 18 at the time of the "manslaughter".

Anonymous said...

Well said

Phana24JG said...

Excellent take on the verdict. All we can do is hope the judge does the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Very well written. I'm not a fan of this blog but this is a nice twist to the twisted people who post on here.

Anonymous said...

As an experienced criminal law attorney, I can assure you that you are entirely correct in insisting that ADA Botts should not be blamed for the verdict in the Vega case. It was however a relatively strong case, and the DA (Abrlove) should not be "pleased" with the verdict. The ADA by all accounts presented his case in an appropriate fashion. However, it is worth noting that he has very limited experience, and first began trying felomies last year. He was assigned the Hoffler and Vega case after Abelove fired ADA Hug, and after all of the resignations over the past year, there were no attorneys left in the Renssalaer County DA office with any homicide trial experience. Same reason a DA with no experience recently prosecuted the Pivota rape case that resulted in an acquittal. There are probably no other offices in NY with less experienced ADAs. Abelove can't attract and retain attorneys. Given the tenuous nature of his position, not likely things will improve anytime soon. Hopefully, ADA Botts will stick around...

Anonymous said...

Here we go, an experienced criminal law attorney (who lost the DA's race). It's Joel's fault.

Anonymous said...

He fucked up the investigation and his ADA dropped the ball. It's not rocket science. Now a violent criminal and baby killer will be back on the streets at age 40.

Anonymous said...

What's that do-nothing retard councilman in Lansingburgh doing about the parade? He's shaping up to be a bigger loser than Jim Gordon.

Anonymous said...

How exactly did he fuck up?? He presented the evidence and the jurors are the ones who found him guilty of manslaughter.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of the line:

"You never know what will happen when you ask for a unanimous conclusion from 12 people who couldn't get out of jury duty."

Anonymous said...

Abelove was "pleased" with the verdict - anyone agree?
Abelove has been unable to attract or retain qualified experienced ADAs - anyone disagree?

Anonymous said...

Ok everybody, let's talk about the Vega verdict. Abelove is pleased with the verdict! Do you know why he is saying he is pleased with the verdict? Well that is because he either doesn't know the sentencing guidelines or he believes we are all too dumb to know them, and by the way, either one of those scenarios are plausible. Let's talk about the sentence. The judge can and probably will sentence Vega to 50 years in prison. Sounds good right? Here's the reality. Under New York States sentencing guidelines, no person serving consecutive sentences for B felonies can serve more than 30 years in prison. I'll say that again, No person serving consecutive sentences for B felonies can serve more than 30 years in prison. Now, consider the 15 percent that will be shaved off of that sentence for "good behavior" which is given to virtually every inmate in the New York State Corrections System and now we are talking about less than 25 years in prison. Ok, now subtract the time already served (about 18 months and we are now down to about 23 years! Vega will be out of prison before he turns 44 years old! Our DA, Joel Abelove is pleased. He's pleased because he thinks he knows more than the average person. He's wrong. I do however believe he doesn't know the sentencing guidelines. His actions over the last couple of months lend credence to that.

Anonymous said...

Do you know who else is pleased with the verdict? Gave Vega. That's who?

Anonymous said...

10:27 And these idiots are celebrating.

Anonymous said...

Even Joel's own picks fled his office. Huge red flag. Now we see why

Anonymous said...

Excuse me? There are a lot of smart law abiding folks who understand that jury duty, while inconvenient, is a civic duty and don't try to lie to get out if it. Don't tar other citizens with your lazy pathetic brush.

Anonymous said...

Excellent and accurate info, except for one thing - this DAs office's extreme turnover rate has been a problem long before Abelove got the seat.

Anonymous said...

9:56 well said. its certainly not ADA Botts' fault that this kind of case, which really requires years of experience, and more than one homicide trial, got dropped in his lap. But he certainly did not shy away from a challenging case. I don't know that I agree with you that the evidence was "strong" - his main witness got really destroyed by a very capable Fred Wrench. But this is besides the point. He did a great job, and I hope he sticks around in order to gain experience. Another question: Why didn't the far more experienced DA Abelove try the case? Any where is his first assistant?

Anonymous said...

Thank God Joel didn't try it. He'd be lucky to get a misdemeanor conviction.

Anonymous said...

Joel didn't try the case because he's too busy f'ing things up with the French case. Such a clusterf*#k takes time and effort.