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January 25th is the sixth anniversary of the violent passing of a Manhattan office worker, Florence Cioffi. She was 59 years old, a few days short of her next birthday. The criminal responsible for her death was the Chairman and CEO of Enterprise Engineering, Inc., George Anderson. He was charged immediately with vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and leaving the scene.

Here is Nana:

The infamy of the case devolves from the combination of admitted felony manslaughter with DUI and the extraordinary avoidance of justice from the penalty.  Despite killing Florence Cioffi, this George Anderson received a 16-day sentence at Rikers Island and a $350 fine.

Wall Street owns the New York criminal justice system the way the Koch brothers own the Tea Party. Anderson admitted in Court that he had gotten drunk at a Rangers game, drove 60 m.p.h. up Water Street (an ordinary Manhattan city street, 30 m.p.h. speed limit), and fled the scene; but he was able through his attorney to arrange that extraordinary deal with the Manhattan D.A.

Media coverage started with the Post, the New York Times, and the area television stations. However, when Anderson was let off, our corporate press whimpered and fell silent. Crimes have not been prosecuted in New York on financial industry criminals since the first round of Dot.com scams in the early/mid 1990's. Manslaughter for a wrist slap was one small step further into that abyss.

The career path of David Hammer, Esq., the Assistant District Attorney, has continued to advance. This despite voiding the New York State sentencing requirements that had been pushed through by M.A.D.D. He is now in the management track. Details below the fold.
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David Hammer has reportedly been advanced within the Manhattan (New York County) District Attorney's office. He now heads a team of prosecutors. He also teaches Trial Advocacy at Pace University Law School.

Back in 2008 and 2009 Hammer was assigned to prosecute CEO Anderson for these felonies: vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, felony DUI, and leaving the scene. The actions underlying these charges were all admitted. Evidence had already been presented successfully to the Grand Jury.

The DUI was proved when detectives obtained a court order and had Anderson taken over for a hospital blood test.

No effort was made by Anderson or by a passenger in his SUV to render assistance to the victim.  

Video cameras clocked the SUV at 60 m.p.h. flying up Water Street, then weaving around a bend in the road. "Nana" was thrown in the air as Anderson's Mercedes-Benz SUV took off. Here is a good summary:

-- Reflections on Death by SUV

ADA David Hammer was the one who said that "(Cioffi) probably stepped out from between two parked cars" - feigning ignorance of the multiple surveillance videos. In fact, eye witness accounts had her trying to hail a cab.

He then concocted "proportional blame" as the excuse for offering 16 days and the $350 fine instead of the minimum 1 year in statute.

So... if you head a Wall Street company you can go to a Rangers hockey game, get drunk, drive recklessly at twice the going speed limit, plow down an ordinary office worker. The system will take care of you because you are who and what you are.

Maybe some money changes hands, but if so that is not what matters.

Dickens had it right more than a century ago. Indeed, how is this death and this justice different from the Carriage Scene from "A Tale of Two Cities":

 The complaint had sometimes made itself audible, even in that deaf city and dumb age, that, in the narrow streets without footways, the fierce patrician custom of hard driving endangered and maimed the mere vulgar in a barbarous manner. But, few cared enough for that to think of it a second time, and, in this matter, as in all others, the common wretches were left to get out of their difficulties as they could.

    With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of its way. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry from a number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.

    But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave their wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses' bridles.

    "What has gone wrong?" said Monsieur, calmly looking out.

    A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet of the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain, and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.

    "Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!" said a ragged and submissive man, "it is a child."

    "Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?"

    "Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis -- it is a pity -- yes."

    The fountain was a little removed; for the street opened, where it was, into a space some ten or twelve yards square. As the tall man suddenly got up from the ground, and came running at the carriage, Monsieur the Marquis clapped his hand for an instant on his sword-hilt.

    "Killed!" shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both arms at their length above his head, and staring at him. "Dead!"

    The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis. There was nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him but watchfulness and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or anger. Neither did the people say anything; after the first cry, they had been silent, and they remained so. The voice of the submissive man who had spoken, was flat and tame in its extreme submission. Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes.

    He took out his purse.

    "It is extraordinary to me," said he, "that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses. See! Give him that."

    He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it as it fell. The tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, "Dead!"

    He was arrested by the quick arrival of another man, for whom the rest made way. On seeing him, the miserable creature fell upon his shoulder, sobbing and crying, and pointing to the fountain, where some women were stooping over the motionless bundle, and moving gently about it. They were as silent, however, as the men.

    "I know all, I know all," said the last comer. "Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live.

Charles Dickens considered France at the time of the Revolution to have been a society where  Law had ceased to function as an instrument of social justice. Sovereign power had been handed over to the Nobles. The concept of "crime" had been placed in private hands, the better to suit their convenience.

America has similar things going with paranoid billionaires and Dominionist religious fanatics. They dearly love it when their five-member majority on the Supreme Court makes new law to protect their interests.

Don't get your hopes up for much in the way of criminal prosecution where Wall Street has a hand in the deal. Occupy has come along with a focus on opposing Wall Street corruption. That was in 2011. Never forget.

"Nana" has been gone six years. She escaped from World Trade Center on 9/11 before her tower collapsed. She had gone downstairs for coffee. Then in 2008 she had no warning before being smashed by Anderson's SUV. She did not die instantly, but hours later after being transported to hospital. She was torn up like the little child in Dickens.

Terrorist hatreds didn't get her. Wall Street arrogance did. And the very greed of the worst of our society denied justice. If CEO Anderson had only done the one-year minimum instead of the recommended five year sentence, one could look away. One could imagine that everything is O.K.

A 16-day sentence for getting drunk and killing a woman? God bless.

Originally posted to waterstreet2013 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:25 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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