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Gavel to Gavel: What on the Court Calendar

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Juror bails out of Jet Ski crash case

The manslaughter case over the death of Paul Zaccaria was thrown into turmoil this week when a juror stated that she has had enough.

In a creative, if not daring, attempt to get thrown off a jury, Park Slope graphic designer Eilene Block, 47, penned a letter to the judge presiding over the case against manslaughter suspect Aristotle Plagianakos, claiming that she could not hear another word of slow moving testimony.

In her letter, she claimed that Assistant District Attorney Kyle Reeves has been “rude,” “narcissistic” and “pointless” as he’s presented his case over the last two weeks.

“I am angry, distracted and convinced that the deliberative process will suffer,” she wrote, according to published reports.

While this letter would have caused a chuckle or two on a slip and fall civil case, it held a more morose tone in the case against Plaginakos, who faces manslaughter charges in the death of 17−year−old Zaccaria.

During opening arguments, Reeves said that Zaccaria’s aorta was severed after Plagianakos rammed his jet ski into his victim at a reckless speed as the two zipped around the Mill Basin inlet.

Zaccaria was thrown from his jet ski and fell under the waves. Instead of calling for help, Plagianakos allegedly fled the scene and warned his passenger to keep quiet about what had happened.

If convicted, he could serve 15 years in prison, officials said.

In her letter, Block said that she was self−employed and that the mind−numbing weeks of testimony (one expert was questioned for two days, she noted) was affecting her business.

“Being here this long has been a hardship,” she wrote. “This economy’s tough and I have taken numerous hits since last year. My clients are saying four weeks is enough, I have deadlines I have to meet.”

After receiving the letter, the judge presiding over the case excused Block. The case will go on with an alternate, he ruled.

They’re cops, not driving instructors

It’s a bit of a no brainer, but I guess it had to be said: A judge ruled this week that while cops are allowed to order motorists to move their cars, they don’t have to make sure that the guy behind the wheel can drive.

Judge Robert Miller made this declaration after he threw out an odd case against the city in which a man was struck by a car after a cop told the person behind the wheel to move the vehicle.

According to court records, plaintiff Eric Ramos suffered severe injuries when he was struck by a car that vaulted the sidewalk in front of One MetroTech back on December 28, 2001.

He filed suit against the driver, as well as the police after receiving testimony that a beat cop had told defendant Ramos Anthony Canon that he had to move the car he was sitting in, which was illegally double parked.

Canon, it was revealed, wasn’t the driver. His mother was, but had run into an area building on an errand.

To make matters worse, Canon didn’t have a driver’s license and did not know how to operate the car – something he reportedly told the cop when the officer ordered him to move the car.

In court testimony, Canon explained that the officer wasn’t moved by Canon’s claims that he didn’t know how to drive.

“Well, someone has to move the car,” the cop reportedly said. “You’re going to get a ticket.”

Taking a chance, Canon got behind the wheel and put the car in gear.

He claimed that he then blacked out and did not know he had hurt anyone until after he was brought to an area police precinct.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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