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People v. McDonnell

July 10, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kohm, J.

Miscellaneous Reports




The People move to revoke bail pursuant to CPL 530.60.



The three defendants are charged, along with five co-defendants, with numerous class A-1 drug felonies and other felonies, in connection with the sale of narcotics.

In March, 1997, bail was set in the sum of 2 million dollars on each defendant, and later reduced to one-half million dollars on each.

The District Attorney now moves to revoke defendants' bail. The People contend that the recent criminal behavior by all three supports a finding by this Court of good cause to revoke bail pursuant to CPL 530.60(1).

Such illegal conduct includes threats, by words and deeds, to witnesses in this case and creates a danger to the administration of Justice. Further, defendants' continued liberty would allegedly place witnesses at risk.

To support the relief sought, the prosecution sets forth the following facts. John McDonnell was arrested on March 9, 1998 for impersonating a police officer, inter alia, and later pled guilty to V.T.L. Section 511, an unclassified misdemeanor, in satisfaction of all charges. Defendant McDonnell is serving a sentence on this matter since he failed to pay a fine after being sentenced to a unconditional discharge.

On April 29, 1998, defendant McDonnell was arrested a second time, along with co-defendant Edward O'Boyle. The defendants are charged with Forgery in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree (2 counts) and Possession of Burglar's Tools. The criminal acts were observed by witnesses (known to the District Attorney) and involved altering the license plates on a van on April 29, 1998 at 110th Street and 65th Road in Forest Hills. The alteration involved affixing stolen license plates over the van's original plates. Inside the van was found masks, two-way radios, a cell phone, bolts and screwdriver. The vehicle's windows were also covered with plastic and peepholes were cut in the plastic. It is the District Attorney's belief that this van was to be used in abducting eyewitnesses in this case.



The District Attorney's office has indicated that there are two cooperating witnesses in this case (designated as CW #1 and CW #2). On April 28, 1998, the mother of CW #1 told her son that two individuals visited her home, identifying themselves as private detectives and asked to speak to her son, who was not home at that time. They stated that both were employed by Daniel O'Boyle. One man identified himself as Garth Rogers of Superior Investigations & Security Corporation. The following day, Deputy Chief Lawrence J. Festa contacted Mr. Rogers and asked if he was employed by the attorneys for Daniel O'Boyle to locate witness # C1. The investigator responded in the negative and stated that he was not doing it for the attorneys but was hired by "the family."

Contact was next made with Witness #2, who told the District Attorney's office that Daniel O'Boyle telephoned and requested a meeting with him and their private investigator. When their witness did not meet with Daniel O'Boyle, an individual who identified himself as Richard Lea telephoned him and allegedly asked him to lie about drug transactions with the O'Boyles by stating that he never bought any from the O'Boyles. The investigator made a tape recording of his conversation. Furthermore, this witness later indicated that on April 29 he was at 65th Road and 110th Street as required by his employer. This location was a common meeting place for him and the O'Boyles, utilized in the past. The location was the same place where Edward O'Boyle and John McDonnell were arrested with the van.

Based on the above, the People maintain that the defendants have violated the bail conditions set by the Court and have intimidated both witnesses. Additionally, the use of the van at that time and location gives rise to an inference that they intended to accost or restrain the second witness in such van. Under such circumstances, the People seek revocation of the bail.



A full hearing was held on the issues, beginning on May 6, 1998, continuing to May 11, and terminating on May 14, 1998. The People called the two private investigators, Mr. Garth Rogers and Mr. Richard Lea, as well as Deputy Chief Lawrence Festa of the Queens County Investigation Unit. The defendants called attorney Diarmuid White, who is of counsel to the attorneys for all three defendants.

Basically, the People urge this Court to grant relief on two grounds:

(1) There has been good cause shown pursuant to CPL 530.60(1) by virtue of the defendants' current illegal activities.

(2) That reasonable cause to believe the defendants have intimidated a witness exists in violation of CPL 530.60(2)(a).



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