Murder of drug informant could become death penalty case

In the weeks leading up to the start of summer last year, Joshua Jalovick was looking to score some coke.

What his drug dealers didn't know is that the Buffalo man was also working as an informant and wearing a wire.

Or did they know?

Just a few months into his work with police, Jalovick's body, riddled with gun shots and left for dead, turned up in a backyard on Freund Street.

The two men accused of pulling the trigger that July day are now charged in a new grand jury indictment.

And they are facing the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Gregory Hay and Alphonso Payne, both of Buffalo, learned of Jalovick's cooperation and plotted to kill him.

They also claim there are three eyewitnesses to the murder, each one of them now charged in the case.

“The victim was a drug dealer and a snitch for the feds who was trying to benefit himself," defense lawyer Cheryl Meyers Buth said Thursday. "My client wasn’t the only person he was informing on. The government knew what the risks were for him on the street.”

Full Story: https://buffalonews.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/murder-of-drug-informant-could-become-death-penalty-case/article_5f88d9bf-1631-56c6-8f24-bf89d87da851.html


As state courts reopen, new Child Victims Act cases filed

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Gow School sued

Adam alleged in his lawsuit that Michael Holland, a faculty member and assistant headmaster, started touching him inappropriately in 1992 and 1993, when Adam was a 14-year-old freshman living in a Gow dormitory supervised by Holland. The touching escalated to criminal sexual abuse and assault, including sodomy, according to court papers.

In a statement to The Buffalo News, attorneys Cheryl Meyers Buth and Brian Melber said that their client was exposing what happened to him at the school to protect other children who had no way to fight back against adult sexual predators.

“We’re not talking about just one employee or an isolated incident or ancient history. Our client and other pre-teen/teenage boys were subjected to repeated sexual assaults in the early to mid-90s when there was public awareness about these types of crimes,” they said.

It is the third CVA lawsuit against the Gow School, a college-prep boarding and day school for students with dyslexia and similar language-based learning disabilities. It was an all-boys school until going co-educational in 2013.


Letter to judge details conditions inside prison Chris Collins is scheduled to serve sentence

“Courts are being very good about keeping the prison population low to prevent the transmission of disease,” said Cheryl Meyers Buth, a local attorney who has been providing News 4 analysis on the Collins case. “Also, they don’t want to put any individual prisoner at risk.”

When an inmate reports to FPC Pensacola, the attorneys told the judge, they are immediately tested for the coronavirus. Even if they test negative, they are placed in a quarantine unit for 14 days. Prisoners in the quarantine unit do not have access to email or phones for social calls. If, at the end of the 14-day period, the inmate is asymptomatic and tests negative again for the virus, they are released into the general population.

“Heightened cleaning standards are in place, and inmates in the general population are issued multiple face masks and encouraged to wear them in common areas,” the attorneys wrote. “There is currently no lockdown in place, and inmates have access to the library, recreation, and programming.”

Meyers Buth said it is was not uncommon for surrender dates to be pushed back for federal inmates even before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Certainly since COVID, all bets are off,” she said. “Things have been delayed. There’s been a lot more confusion. It’s just the product of the times right now.

Full Story: https://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/letter-to-judge-details-conditions-inside-prison-chris-collins-is-scheduled-to-serve-sentence/


Niagara University student says she was sexually assaulted by member of school’s swim team

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LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) – A sophomore student at Niagara University was sexually assaulted by a member of the men’s swim team in a Fall 2018 incident, a lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, which was initially filed in federal court earlier this year, was amended Thursday to include the new allegation. The female student is not identified. Neither is the swim team member. The lawsuit does note, however, that the man is still a member of the swim team.

The woman joins three others as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed in September. The other three women are all either current or former members of Niagara’s women’s swim or dive teams. They claim that they were “subjected to severe and pervasive sexual harassment and bullying by members of the men’s swim team”.

“Had the university taken appropriate action when complaints about sexual harassment and other abuse was first made in 2015, (20)16, (20)17, she may not have had the same issues that she did with this young man,” said Cheryl Meyers Buth, an attorney who represents the alleged sexual assault victim.

The lawsuit claims that following the assault, the victim received a threatening phone message from a man she believed to be the person who assaulted her. She then met with Niagara’s Title IX Coordinator Ryan Thompson, who “influenced her not to” file a formal complaint, she said.

Full Story: https://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/niagara-university-student-says-she-was-sexually-assaulted-by-member-of-schools-swim-team/


Chris Collins sentenced to 26 months in prison

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NEW YORK CITY (WIVB) — Chris Collins was on Friday sentenced to 26 months for his conviction on conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI.

The former congressman for New York’s 27th District was also handed down one year of supervised release and a $200,000 fine.

Collins last year pleaded guilty to insider trading, as did his son Cameron Collins and his son’s father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky, who were both tipped off. That allowed them to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, as alleged by prosecutors in the indictment Collins pleaded guilty to.

Federal prosecutors recommended that Collins serve between 46 and 57 months in prison. Collins’ attorneys sought probation. Probation officers recommended he spend a year and a day in prison.

“It’s a big swing,” said Cheryl Meyers Buth, a legal analyst and attorney at Meyers Buth Law Group. “I find in my practice it’s the most stressful time for a defense client because you won’t know until you’re standing in front of a judge what he’s going to do.

“You won’t know – are you going to federal prison are you going to a halfway house? Are you going to be on probation and what the conditions of probation are going to be?”

Full Story: https://www.wivb.com/news/top-stories/chris-collins-sentencing-january-17/


Collins files appeal in insider trading case; effect on trial date unclear

NEW YORK (WIVB) – Rep. Chris Collins has appealed a recent decision by the judge in his insider trading case. It could create a delay that leads to the postponement of his trail date, which is currently scheduled for February 3rd, 2020.

In a letter sent to Judge Vernon Broderick, on Friday, Collins’ attorney said he has filed an appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal revolves around Speech or Debate concerns that Collins has raised.

“Congressman Collins does not anticipate filing any further motions in this Court bearing on the Speech or Debase Clause during the pendency of this appeal,” Jonathan Barr wrote.

Barr is Collins’ lead attorney in the case.

The Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution protects certain actions by congress people while they are at work. Collins has been asking for prosecutors to turn over more evidence that he thinks will prove his Speech or Debate rights were violated as the federal government investigated his case.

On September 6th, however, Broderick filed a ruling stating Collins was not entitled to receive that evidence. The Court of Appeals will now answer the same question.

While it could force a delay in the February trial date, attorney Cheryl Meyers Buth, who is not associated with the Collins case, says the trial date could still be saved.

“It depends on what the 2nd Circuit does,” Buth said. “They could issue, for example, an expedited briefing schedule which would require the government and Congressman Collins’ attorneys to file briefs much quicker than they would normally require.

Full Story: https://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/collins-files-appeal-in-insider-trading-case-effect-on-trial-date-unclear/


Trooper charged with reckless driving in July crash that sent five to hospitals

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SHERIDAN, N.Y. (WIVB) — A New York State Trooper was arrested on Tuesday and charged in a July crash on a stretch of the Thruway that runs through Chautauqua County.

Stephen Barker is charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving after an investigation into the July 15 crash.

State Police said that a cruiser driven by Barker, 33, crashed into the back of a minivan after he failed to notice that the van was slowing down to traffic.

The five occupants were taken to hospitals in Buffalo and Dunkirk. State police said all were treated for injuries ranging from minor to severe.

An attorney for Timothy McCann, who was taken to a Buffalo hospital by helicopter from the crash scene, said that he remains paralyzed.

“Timothy McCann arrived back at home on Christmas Eve from the spinal rehab center where he had been taken for treatment. The McCann’s are grateful to the emergency responders who saved his life that day (July 15). He appreciates the actions taken by the NYS Police to investigate the accident and District Attorney (Patrick) Swanson’s handling of the matter. Although he remains paralyzed, Mr. McCann is looking forward to spending 2020 with his family and prays for his other friends who were also injured in the accident.”

CHERYL MEYERS BUTH, ATTORNEY FOR CRASH VICTIM TIMOTHY MCCANN

Barker is suspended without pay, say state police.

https://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/chautauqua-county/trooper-charged-with-reckless-driving-in-july-crash-that-sent-five-to-hospitals/


Female swimmers sue Niagara University, alleging harassment by men's team - The Buffalo News

"The only 'locker room mentality' we should tolerate is one which supports, educates and demonstrates respect for all of our athletes; which recognizes that half the people in locker rooms across the country these days are women," said attorney Laurie A. Baker, who filed the suit along with attorneys Cheryl Meyers Buth and Brian M. Melber.

The former diver alleged that she complained to the assistant athletic director in 2016 about Nigro's response to an incident in which a male swimmer had sex with a female recruit. Nigro's response, according to the lawsuit: "He must not have been very good since she (the recruit) is not coming to NU."

"The coach and athletic department were either so unaware or so dismissive of the humiliating treatment of women swimmers that this appalling behavior became acceptable and continued year after year," Melber said.

Full Story: https://buffalonews.com/sports/college/female-swimmers-sue-niagara-university-alleging-harassment-by-mens-team/article_7a094604-db38-5ccb-9b38-2c92ff4c25d8.html


Women swimmers suing Niagara University over harassment - The Niagara Gazette

COURTS: Swimmers cite ongoing sexual harassment from men's swim team.

Philip Gambini 


Strong women who joined Niagara University’s swim and dive team were scarred by the program’s culture of rampant sexual harassment, the athletes said in a public statement Wednesday.

Their remarks follow a federal lawsuit filed last week that alleged the school’s investigation into their complaints was biased against them and allowed their harassers to dodge potential accountability, the court documents said.

Current seniors Natasha Posso and Jaime Rolf, as well as an anonymous 2018 graduate, had decorated athletic resumes when they were recruited to NU. After joining, the women were repeatedly harassed by male athletes while their coach did nothing to intervene, the lawsuit charged.

The behavior permeated the program, they discovered only amounted to an “appendage” of the men’s program, the documents said. The female athletes were without their own practice schedule, their own coaching staff and, effectively, their own team, according to the lawsuit.

“We are competitive, strong women who were sectional swimming champs in high school,” Posso and Rolf said in a statement provided by their attorneys, Laurie Baker and Cheryl Meyers Buth. “This sexist, offensive behavior left us broken down, depressed and drained of confidence – this is not how any college athlete or woman on campus should be treated.”

All three plaintiffs’ mental health suffered from the environment. One became suicidal for a time.

The decision to go public with their identity and claims was a difficult one, Meyers Buth said. The filing is a result of the way the university handled the women’s internal complaints and is rooted in a desire that the school “provide equal opportunities to women,” the attorney said Wednesday.

And after the suit’s public filing in the federal courts, the firm’s office phone has been ringing, Meyers Buth said.

“We’ve talked to a number of young women since filing the complaint,” she said. “We’ve also gotten calls from parents whose daughters had similar experiences.”

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