Essex Observer by jennyyingdi


                           Essex Observer
                            COmmuniTy JusTiCE uniT nEwsLETTEr
                                                                                                                The essex County
                                                                                                                Prosecutor’s office

                           volume oNe • summer 2007           50 W. market st., Newark, NJ 07102 • (973) 621-4700 •

New Crime Scene
Unit Unveiled
Last fall, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office unveiled
a 15,000 square foot crime scene investigation facility.
The $2.5 million unit, funded by forfeiture money seized
from defendants, was designed to improve the collection,           LEFT: Fluorescent powder illuminated with ultra violet light assists
processing and packaging of forensic evidence in Essex                   detectives in finding fingerprints.
County. “Essex County is now at the forefront of fusing            RIGHT: Detective Robert Parsons uses the cyanoacrylate fuming chamber
science and technology with fighting crime. This building is the
optimum showcase of future crime scene investigations,” said       In addition to investigating homicides, shootings and sex crimes,
Paula Dow, Essex County Prosecutor.                                the crime scene unit is able to assist county police departments
                                                                   in burglaries and other routine matters. Recently it assisted the
The facility features a forensic processing room, digital photo    West Caldwell Police Department in solving a case involving a
processing room, and a drying chamber designed to process          string of burglaries. The unit collected forensic evidence at the
and package blood soaked evidence. Its high tech computer          crime scene, which was later used to find the perpetrator.
system allows detectives to visually reconstruct crime scenes.
The facility is also home to the vehicular homicide unit, a team   “It’s a pleasure to work in a unit like this. We have every tool
that investigates fatal collisions, serious bodily injuries and    that we need to get the job done,” said Captain Robert Carella.
fatalities. There is a processing room equipped with a hy-         Captain Carella oversaw the production of the crime scene
draulic lift and air tools, which allow investigators to exam-     facility which began as an abandoned warehouse. Arrange-
ine motor vehicles from all angles. “It’s an improvement           ments were made for Essex County prisoners to gut out and
in surroundings and the equipment puts us on par and well          clean the building. Contractors were later hired to design the
above other police agencies across the state and country,” add-    state of the art facility.
ed Howard Johnson, Essex County Detective of 13 years.
                                                                   “No other prosecutor has placed this much effort in the
                                                                   crime scene unit. We are greatly appreciative of Prosecutor
                                                                   Dow’s efforts. Given our new equipment, we can obtain the
                                                                   forensic evidence to help better prosecute our cases,” said
                                                                   Captain Carella.

                                                                       INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

                                                                       ANTHONY DEMARCO                                pg 2
Staff members at the crime scene unit.
                                                                       NEW FACES AT ECPO                              pg 3
Six crime scene vehicles, equipped with digital cameras,               HONORING THOSE
portable lighting systems, scene guard kits and measuring              WHO SERVE VICTIMS                              pg 4
devices fill the parking lot. Employees at the crime scene
unit have doubled to twenty. Staff members include assistant           CAREER DAY AT UMDNJ                            pg 5
prosecutors, supervisors, detectives, and clerical. The facility       RESPONDING TO
has space to accommodate additional employees and store                SCHOOL VIOLENCE                                pg 8
large amounts of files.
                                                                         In Remembrance of
                                                                         Anthony DeMarco
        mESSAGE                                “Anthony gave a voice to victims left       in each case he handled. He showed
                                               behind and he will surely be missed,”       consideration for all people and always
It is my pleasure to introduce you to the      said Carolyn E. Wright, Deputy Chief        brought honor and decency to any court
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office latest        Assistant Prosecutor, with the Essex        he worked,” said Gary Bogdanski, Assis-
newsletter, The Essex Observer. This is        County Prosecutor’s Office. Anthony         tant Prosecutor with ECPO since 1981.
an exciting time for us! The newsletter        DeMarco, an assistant prosecutor with
has a new name and a new look. It is                                                       He was a friend that you could always
                                               the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
reflective of our efforts to bring in depth                                                rely upon. As the attorneys in the office
                                               for the past 18 years, passed away on
information to you about this office.                                                      became younger, he quickly and unself-
                                               March 15.
                                                                                           ishly, assumed the role of mentor. His
Recently, we opened a state of the             “Anthony DeMarco, known as A.D. to          wit and good nature belied his size. The
art crime scene unit. As a result of its       everyone he knew, was the embodi-           only thing bigger than A.D. was the size
expanded resources, we can now pro-            ment of what a prosecutor should be:        of his heart.
vide crime scene investigation assis-          loyal, compassionate and fearless. A.D.
tance to all law enforcement agencies in                                                   “I have so many fond memories of
                                               relished the good fight and served as
Essex County!                                                                              A.D., but one of my fondest memories is
                                               the champion for the little guy. He
                                                                                           his love for dogs. He truly cared about
Staff members who compassionately              considered himself a soldier. It wasn’t
                                                                                           homeless animals and would go out of
provide support to victims and witnesses       about the glory of winning or having his
                                                                                           his way to pick up stray dogs. He would
were honored during National Crime             name in the paper, though he loved all of
                                                                                           keep many of the strays that he picked
Victims Week. Doris Stoeckel received          those things as well. He was a soldier in
                                                                                           up. One day I told him that I saw a bunch
the Essex County Teamwork Award. We            the battle we wage for justice. A.D.
                                                                                           of stray dogs in Branch Brook Park and
are pleased to introduce you to our new        was respected by the bench, bar, pros-
                                                                                           he proceeded to drive around the park to
employees in the office.                       ecutors and defense attorneys alike,”
                                                                                           look for them. He was frustrated because
                                               continued Wright.
The Community Justice Unit recently                                                        he didn’t find any of them, but he told
held career days for fourth, fifth and sixth   “Anthony was well respected in the legal    me the next time I saw them to call him
grade students through our partnerships        community,” added Gwendolyn Williams,       immediately. He was a loyal friend to
with Project Vision and Project I.C.A.N.       Director, Community Justice Unit and        many,” said Cheryl Cucinello.
                                               Assistant Prosecutor with the ECPO.
Even though these times are exciting,                                                      “As a teammate, you could never have a
we say goodbye and best wishes to our          “Professionally speaking, A.D. was a        better one than A.D. He cherished your
colleagues who have retired: Grace             ferocious, but fair assistant prosecutor.   friendship. You could always count on him
Esposito, Director Assistant Prosecu-          He was highly respected by his adver-       to help you with a problem or listen to you.
tor, Carole Fitzgibbon, Director Assis-        saries who could see that he possessed      He was a true stand up guy,” continued
tant Prosecutor, Assistant Prosecutor          a strong sense of fairness and justice      Bogdanski.
Joan Love, Detective Cheryl Contreras,                Congratulations to the winner of the Name Our Newsletter contest!
Detective Herbert Pendleton, Detective                Mira Ohm will receive a gift certificate for naming our newsletter,
Daniel Pope, Lieutenant Charles Wil-                  The Essex Observer!
liams and Captain Patrick DeFrancisci.
Also, we take time to reflect on the loss of
one of our colleagues, the late Anthony           CommUNITy JUSTICE UNIT:                  Nicole Graves-Watson,
DeMarco, Assistant Prosecutor.                                                             Community Justice Coordinator
                                                  Paula T. Dow,
This newsletter also highlights a few of          Essex County Prosecutor                  Sandra Luna,
                                                                                           Administrative Assistant
our trial and appellate successes. Each           Keith Harvest,
issue we will highlight one of our local          Chief Assistant Prosecutor               Lloyd Holmes,
police departments for the great job              Andrea McCoy Johnson,
they’re doing.                                    Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor        *If you have an idea or suggestion
                                                                                           of what you would like to see in the
Paula T. Dow                                      Gwendolyn Williams,                      newsletter, please send an e-mail to
Essex County Prosecutor                           Director Assistant Prosecutor  
                                                  Community Justice Unit

    2 • The essex observer
New Faces                                           business. Detective Bowers enjoys weight
                                                    lifting, horseback riding, fishing, garden-
                                                                                                   In this role, he worked alongside the Drug
                                                                                                   Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of
                                                    ing, traveling and dancing.                    Investigations and various municipalities.
at ECPo                                                                QUINCy DAVIS                “I am very excited to be a part of the
Nineteen men and women have been                                                                   Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. I
                                                                       Eight years ago, Quincy
appointed to the esteemed Essex County                                                             feel that the office has many career
                                                                       Davis, began his career
Prosecutor’s Office in the last six months.                                                        opportunities to offer,” said the married
                                                                       in law enforcement with
They come from various walks of life                                                               father of one. When not spending time with
                                                                       the East Orange Police
with the common goal of civil service                                                              his 16 month old daughter, Di Rocco enjoys
                                                                       Department. He rose
and commitment to justice.                                                                         biking. He and his wife are expecting their
                                                    through the ranks to become a detective
                                                                                                   second child in the fall.
                                                    in the criminal investigation bureau. As
                                                    a detective, he conducted investigations
                                                    on homicides, sexual assaults, robberies,                        JoSE GoNzAlEz
                                                    aggravated assaults and domestic vio-                            Jose Gonzalez brings
                                                    lence incidents. A self-described leader,                        17 years of law en-
                                                    Detective Davis feels that his dedication,                       forcement        experi-
                                                    quality performance and excellent ver-                           ence to the Essex
                                                    bal skills are strengths that he brings to                       County    Prosecutor’s
                                                    his new position as detective within the       Office. Most recently, Detective Gon-
                                                    adult trial section of the Essex County        zalez, served in the criminal gangs and
                                                    Prosecutor’s Office. “I’m very honored         intelligence unit of the Newark Police
Prosecutor Dow with new employees.
                                                    to be a part of the Essex County Pros-         Department. Detective Gonzalez was
                                                    ecutor’s Office. Staff members have            responsible for gathering, evaluating,
                                                    shown professionalism, which is some-          analyzing and disseminating informa-
                     mICHEllE AlVAREz               times lost in other levels of law enforce-     tion regarding street gangs, traditional
                    Michelle Alvarez, a re-         ment,” said Detective Davis. Detective         organized crime and narcotic distribution.
                    cent graduate of Wil-           Davis enjoys spending time with his two        He created a database that identified
                    liam Paterson University,       daughters ages 11 and 8.                       gang members. Detective Gonzalez
                    joined the Essex County                                                        taught courses at various police acad-
                    Prosecutor’s Office as                             JUDITH DERoSA               emies throughout the state on gang rec-
a clerk in the Office of Victim-Witness Ad-                                                        ognition. He gave presentations to com-
                                                                      Judith DeRosa, an at-
vocacy. Alvarez was previously employed                                                            munity organizations and schools about
                                                                      torney for the past 19
as a bank teller. A self described diligent                                                        the dangers of gangs and Internet safety.
                                                                      years, recently joined
worker, Alvarez feels honored to be a                                                              Prior to leaving the department, Gonza-
                                                                      the    Essex     County
member of the prosecutor’s office. She                                                             lez served as an acting sergeant with su-
                                                                      Prosecutor’s Office as
looks forward to a rewarding career with the                                                       pervision duties.
                                                    an assistant prosecutor in the trial divi-
office. Alvarez enjoys spending her spare
                                                    sion. “I look forward to working with my       Gonzalez feels privileged to be a member of
time with family members and friends.
                                                    peers to ensure that justice is served         the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. “It’s
                                                    to the residents of Essex County,”             a great atmosphere where I feel appreciat-
                     TRoy BoWERS                    said DeRosa. Most recently she was a           ed for my work ethics and dedication,” said
                     Troy Bowers, a twenty          partner in the law firm of Kugleman &          Detective Gonzalez. During his spare time,
                     -one year police veteran,      DeRosa. She specialized in personal            Gonzalez enjoys playing sports, watching
                     recently joined the Es-        injury matters and medical malpractice.        comedies and listening to music.
                     sex County Prosecutor’s        DeRosa previously served as an
                     Office in the adult trial      assistant municipal court prosecutor in                          mARylEN HABIB
section. Most recently, Detective Bowers            Union County. For the past five years,
                                                                                                                    “I am proud to be a
was a sergeant with the East Orange Po-             she’s served on the Office of Attorney
                                                                                                                    member of the larg-
lice Department, where he supervised po-            Ethics committee in Union County.
                                                                                                                    est law firm in New
lice officers and administrative profession-        DeRosa enjoys gardening, cooking and
                                                                                                                    Jersey and work with
als. Detective Bowers worked in a unit that         watching her son play in Little League.
                                                                                                                    some of the best
addressed quality of life concerns including
                                                                                                   attorneys   in    the   state,”    stated
street level drug trafficking, the illegal use of                    CHRISToPHER DI RoCCo          Marylen Habib, Assistant Prosecutor
firearms, gang activity and prostitution. Dur-                       Christopher Di Rocco          in the juvenile division. Habib was
ing his tenure with the East Orange Police                           served as a sheriff of-       previously employed as an associ-
Department, Detective Bowers and his unit                            ficer within the Essex        ate with a private law firm, where
created the department’s first database of                           County Sheriff’s Office       she     prepared     memoranda       and
criminal gang members.                                               for 12 years prior to join-   briefs for arbitration hearings and
Detective Bowers aspires to excel                                    ing the Essex County          proceedings involving the state’s insur-
within the ranks of the ECPO, to further his        Prosecutor’s Office. Detective Di Rocco
                                                    was a canine trainer in the narcotics unit.                           (continued on page 6)
education and eventually open his own

                                                                                                                   The essex observer • 3
Honoring Those Who Serve Victims
To commemorate National Crime Victims Rights’ Week, on              McCauley presented an award to Linda Nevadomski, an
April 23, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office (ECPO) honored       assistant prosecutor for the past nine years. “Linda is a
members of its team who make a difference in the lives of crime     constant professional. She often works long into the evening
victims and witnesses every day. Individuals were honored for       to ensure that her cases are well prepared. Linda always has
championing on the behalf of victims and witnesses.                 encouraging words for clients and co-workers.”

“Crime victims deserve justice. They are crying out for help        Assistant Prosecutor Ronald Rowbotham also received the
and it’s our duty to address their needs. Witnesses are often       Award of Excellence. Rowbotham said he was honored to
threatened for assisting with investigations. Our team works        receive the award. McCauley presented the Award of Excellence
effortlessly with victims and witnesses on a daily basis. They      to Lieutenant John Brewington. “We want to recognize Lieutenant
show compassion, strength and produce positive results. For         Brewington for his compassion, patience and support for crime
these reasons, we honor them. We thank you for the great            victims. His integrity and insight proved very instrumental in helping
work that you do on the behalf of victims and witnesses in          prosecutors work on cases,” said McCauley.
Essex County,” said Paula T. Dow, Essex County Prosecutor.
                                                                    “Detective Michelle Bolan is diligent in her job responsibilities.
Reverend Irving Childress from New Beginnings Faith                 It’s truly a pleasure working with her,” said McCauley of the
Fellowship Ministries in Orange led the audience in prayer prior    Award of Excellence recipient. Prosecutor Dow presented
to the dissemination of the awards. Pamela McCauley, Direc-         an award to Detective Louis Garrett. “Detective Garrett is
tor of the ECPO Victim’s Witness Unit, presented the Essex          professional and consistent. He makes victims feel like they’re
County Prosecutor’s Office Eagle Award to the House of Mercy        members of his family. His patience puts them at ease.”
Mission for providing food and shelter to victims. “The House of
Mercy Mission has always provided kindness and spiritual sup-       The final Award of Excellence was presented to Detec-
port to victims that we referred. They’ve never turned anyone       tive Thomas Demetriou, a detective in the Juvenile Trial
down,” said McCauley.                                               Unit of ECPO, for being an asset to the Prosecutor’s Office.
                                                                    The Newark special victims unit received the Chief David
                                                                    Martinez Award for the exceptional service to the county’s
                                                                    most vulnerable citizens. The South Orange Police Department
                                                                    was also recognized for their outstanding work with crime
                                                                    victims. Chief of Police James Chelel of the South Orange police
                                                                    department accepted the Chief David Martinez Award on the
                                                                    behalf of the men and women on the police department.

                                                                    Partners for Women in Justice and The Rachel Coalition
                                                                    received the Richard Pompelio Leadership Award. “These
                                                                    organizations are instrumental in helping victims of domes-
                                                                    tic violence. They have truly stepped to the forefront in help-
                                                                    ing domestic violence victims,” said Prosecutor Dow. Partners
                                                                                                     for Women in Justice provide
                                                                                                     counseling and legal services
                                                                                                     to victims. The Rachel Coali-
                                                                                                     tion also provides outreach
Left to right: Assistant Prosecutor Robert Robowtham, Assistant                                      services to women and their
Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, Prosecutor Dow, Detective Louis Garrett
and Detective Michelle Bolan
                                                                                                     children. Imam Abdela Su-
                                                                                                     dan closed the ceremony with
                                                                                                     a benediction.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Award of Excellence was
presented to employees for their compassion and support of          Pamela McCauley, coordinator    National    Crime    Victims’
Essex County crime victims and crime witnesses. Prosecutor          of the victim witness unit and  Rights week is observed
Dow presented the first award to Leslie Branch, an assistant        Prosecutor Dow present South
                                                                                                    annually from April 22 to
prosecutor. “This award is presented to Leslie Branch who is        Orange Police Chief James Chelel
                                                                    with award.                     April 28 to honor crime vic-
diligent in her job responsibilities. She is always prepared to                                     tims and those who serve
advocate for justice” stated Prosecutor Dow. Branch said she        them. The week long commemoration also highlights the
was honored to receive the award and thanked her colleagues         accomplishments made for victims and pays tribute to those
for their support.                                                  whose lives have been interrupted by crime.

Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin was awarded for his dedica-      The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office of Victim-Witness Unit
tion and support to victims and witnesses. Assistant Prosecutor     has served the county for over 25 years. This unit guides
Peter Guarino was awarded for giving a voice to victims who         victims through the criminal justice system, provides referrals
cannot speak for themselves. Guarino boasted, “It feels good        for social services and medical compensation as mandated by
to hear someone say nice things about you for doing your job.”      the State of New Jersey’s Office of Victim Witness Affairs.

4 • The essex observer
Career Days at UmDNJ & ECPo
“I love career day!” Shouted nine year-old Naquil Owens of             Students in Project I.C.A.N. participate in various events
Dayton Street School in Newark. Eighteen fourth and fifth              coordinated by the prosecutor’s office throughout the school year.
graders from Dayton Street School attended a career day at             Director Williams looks forward to including additional schools
UMDNJ coordinated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.             in the upcoming year.
The extended school day experience was held on April 5.
Students were introduced to career opportunities in health-
care and law enforcement at the largest teaching hospital in
New Jersey.

Nancy Dunlap, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO of Uni-
versity Hospital welcomed students and their teachers. Dr. Janet
Hector-Reid, Assistant Director of Food and Nutrition Services
                                        presented a workshop on
                                        the importance of nutrition.
                                        Dr. Reid, who also serves
                                        as an assistant professor,     LEFT: EMT workers show students the outside of an ambulance.
                                        discussed     the    harm-     RIGHT: Assignment Judge Patricia Costello speaks to students for career day.
                                        ful effects of a nutri-
                                        tionally   deficient   diet.
                                        She provided students with
                                        peanut butter, carrots and      stories of Convictions
                                        oranges as an alternative to
Dr. Cynthia Paige speaks with students
                                        potato chips and cookies.       man Gets 50 years for Cop Shooting
about healthcare.                      Dr. Cynthia Paige, a fam-        Omar Bridges, a resident of East Orange, was recently
                                       ily practitioner, discussed      sentenced to 50 years in prison for shooting Newark
acupuncture with the students. Dr. Rufus Caine delivered                Police Officer Eduardo Patinho in the face three years ago.
a presentation about the significance of oral care and hy-              During a routine patrol on October 9, 2004, Officer Patinho and his
giene. Students were advised to brush their teeth daily and             partner observed a gunman shooting from the passenger side
limit sugary snacks that deteriorate teeth. Clinton Dozier,             of a Jaguar at another vehicle. Officer Patinho and Officer
Director of Pre-college Education and Associate Profes-                 Kimberly Gasavage chased the luxury car, which reached an
sor, discussed the various career opportunities in healthcare.          excessive speed of 90 miles per hour and hit a subway track.
He read an original poem, entitled, “The Choice is Mine”                Officer Patinho jumped out of his police cruiser and ordered the
which resonated with everyone in the room. Students were                occupants of the Jaguar to get out of the car. Instead of
introduced to a surgeon, emergency room doctor, nurse,                  complying, a gunfight broke out and Officer Patinho was
sergeant and hospital attorney.                                         shot in the face.
This was the second part in the career symposium for the                Following the shooting, Officer Patinho required 13 surger-
students. The first career day was held on February 8, 2007,            ies to rebuild his shattered jaw. Bridges was convicted by a
when students spent the day at the Essex County Prosecutor’s            jury of attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons
Office. They met Prosecutor Paula Dow, Essex County                     offenses. He was also convicted for the separate indictment
Executive Joe Divencenzo, Jr., Essex County Sheriff Armando             of being an ex-offender with weapons. Officer Patinho was
Fontoura, and Assignment Judge Patricia Costello. Students              later promoted to detective and was cited for bravery at a
received an overview of the judicial system. They toured The            ceremony by former Newark Mayor, Sharpe James.
Veterans Courthouse, The Historic Courthouse and The Family
Court in the Wilentz Building. Students also met Judge James
Troiano, Judge Torkwase Sehou and Andrea Johnson, Deputy                man Gets 20 years for murder
Chief Assistant Prosecutor (DCAP). DCAP Johnson is in charge
of the Juvenile Unit at ECPO.                                           Seven years ago, Douglas Manning, broke into a woman’s
                                                                        home in Maplewood where he sexually assaulted her and
Project I.C.A.N. (I Can Achieve Now) is an initiative ECPO              later stabbed her to death. Forensic evidence linked him to
has with the Newark Public Schools to introduce grammar                 the crime. In April 2007, the defendant was recently sen-
school students to career choices. This program is designed to          tenced to 20 years in prison for committing these horrific
discourage children ages 9 through 11 from using drugs and              acts. “This sentencing marks another case solved through
becoming involved with gangs. “There are many crime                     the wonders of forensic evidence,” said Prosecutor Paula
preventative programs for pre-teens and adolescents. Let’s              T. Dow. In 2002, Manning was convicted of burglary, ag-
not wait for a child to become a statistic. The purpose of the          gravated assault, sexual assault and weapons offenses
Project I.C.A.N. is to offer students a positive and hands on           for a separate crime involving a young woman. His DNA
exposure to government,” said Gwendolyn Williams, Assistant             from that case provided a match which resulted in the
Prosecutor Director of the Community Justice Unit.                      guilty plea in the Maplewood assault.

                                                                                                                    The essex observer • 5
ance laws. Habib enjoys participating          Office, Lugo served as a social worker          are always helpful,” said Peterson. She
in outdoor activities in her spare time.       with the Essex County Division of               enjoys spending time with her husband
                                               Welfare. Lugo approved clients for              and cooking.
                  KImBERly JoNES               government benefits and translated for
                  “As a new employee           Spanish-speaking clients.                                          BRIAN PollACK
                  on board with the Essex      A graduate of Berkeley College, Lugo,                             Brian Pollack, a Bronx,
                  County    Prosecutor’s       said she is glad to be a member of the                            New York native re-
                  Office, I bring a will-      Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. “It’s                           cently joined the Es-
                  ingness to learn, en-        a great honor to be a part of the team. I                         sex County Prose-
thusiasm and a good work ethic that’s          make a difference in the lives of individuals                     cutor’s office as an
essential to fulfill the tasks that are        who’ve been victimized,” added Lugo.            assistant prosecutor. Previously, Pollack
required of me,” said Kimberly Jones,          Lugo has aspirations to attend law school       was employed as an assistant district
clerk within the PTI/Expungement               and looks forward to one day working as         attorney in the Bronx District Attorney’s
unit. Jones worked as a clerk with the         an assistant prosecutor in the office.          office. During the beginning of his five
YMCA of Eastern Union County for                                                               year career with the Bronx District
nearly four years prior to joining the                            BRANDoN mElVIN               Attorney office, Pollack handled up to
prosecutor’s office.                                                                           150 criminal cases at a time. He was
                                                                  Brandon Melvin recent-
                                                                                               in charge of the cases from inception
She is currently completing her final                             ly graduated from The
                                                                                               to disposition. He conducted over 50
semester at Rutgers University and would                          College of New Jersey.
                                                                                               suppression hearings that required both
like to attend law school and eventually                          He now works in the
                                                                                               direct and cross examinations.
become an attorney within the Essex                               clerical department of
County Prosecutor’s Office. “It’s been         the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.           Pollack was later promoted to the grand
a pleasure working in the prosecutor’s         Melvin believes that his fresh perspective      jury bureau, where he investigated and
office. The staff is very friendly and the     and willingness to learn are attributes that    presented cases in an effort to obtain
office provides me with a lot of learning      he brings to the position. “I’m excited by      indictments. Among the cases he
experiences,” continued Jones. Jones’          the opportunities that the prosecutor’s         presented were stolen cars, gunpoint
responsibilities include data entry, pre-      office presents and the unique experience       robberies, attempted murders and gun
paring epungement orders and process-          it offers to those who wish to learn about      possession.
ing pre-trial intervention applications. She   the day-to-day functioning of the criminal
                                                                                               Pollack, who also worked in the ap-
enjoys reading, traveling and shopping.        justice system,” said Melvin. His long term
                                                                                               peals unit, believes that his varied
                                               goals include attending law school and
                   GRACE lEE                                                                   courtroom experience, oral advo-
                                               pursuing a career in criminal law. Melvin
                                                                                               cacy and writing skills are strengths
                    Grace Lee was re-          enjoys playing basketball and chess in
                                                                                               that he brings to the prosecutor’s of-
                    cently appointed assis-    his spare time.
                                                                                               fice. Pollack looks forward to hav-
                    tant prosecutor in the                                                     ing a long career within ECPO. “I am
                    Official Corruption and                       mIRA oHm
                                                                                               elated to be here. The Essex County
                    Economic Crimes unit.                        Mira Ohm follows Su-          Prosecutor’s office presents challenges
“I’m incredibly thrilled about investigating                     preme Court debates           that you can’t find in other places,” he
and prosecuting white collar crimes,” said                       and decisions in her          continued. Pollack is a football enthusiast
Lee. Lee worked in the New York District                         spare time. What else         and occasional chef. He and his wife
Attorney’s Office for nearly seven years.                        would      you   expect       are expecting their first child in July.
She was assigned to the trial division,        from a newly hired assistant prosecu-
where she handled felonies from intake         tor? Ohm is a graduate of Rutgers Law                              RoBERT PRACHAR
up to trial.                                   School and served as a law clerk in the
                                                                                                                   Robert Prachar re-
                                               Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Of-
“I’m excited to be working in the county                                                                           cently became a detec-
                                               fice. She’s excited about her position
where I live,” said Lee. A Chicago native,                                                                         tive within the Essex
                                               with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Of-
Lee moved to the east coast to attend                                                                              County Prosecutor’s Of-
                                               fice and looks forward to a long career as
Brown University in Rhode Island. She                                                                              fice He began his law
                                               a prosecutor.
later graduated from Boston University                                                         enforcement career 14 years ago with the
Law School and the rest is history! Lee                           REBECCA PETERSoN             Newark Police Department. Throughout
enjoys spending time with her husband                                                          the course of his career, Detective
and two daughters; ages six and three.                           Rebecca Peterson was          Prachar worked patrol in all of the districts.
                                                                 recently hired as an          As a member of the neighborhood
                  NATACHA lUGo                                   assistant     prosecutor      stabilization unit, he patrolled high crime
                                                                 within the juvenile unit      areas within public housing complexes.
                  “Advocating on the be-
                                                                 of the Essex County           Detective Prachar was also a member
                  half of crime victims
                                               Prosecutor’s Office. Peterson recently          of the Safe City Task Force officers, a
                  and witnesses is very
                                               relocated from Chapel Hill, North               unit designed to target high crime areas
                  important to me,” said
                                               Carolina to New Jersey two years ago.           fueled with drugs, gangs and violence.
                  Natacha Lugo, Advo-
                                               She enjoys working in the Essex County          Prior to leaving the Newark Police
cate for Victims and Witnesses in the
                                               Prosecutor’s Office. “I love the fast paced     Department, Detective Prachar served
Office of Victims-Witness Advocacy. Prior
                                               learning environment and the people             as a detective within the fugitive appre-
to joining the Essex County Prosecutor’s
                                                                                                                        (continued on page 7)
6 • The essex observer
hension unit. The unit was responsible for   School graduate enjoys running in her              Doris Stoeckel
locating and arresting individuals who       spare time.
were wanted for indictable offenses.                                                            Receives Essex County
A self described team player, Detective                         NIColE                          Teamwork Award
Prachar, believes that his great                                GRAVES-WATSoN
communication skills and determination                          Nicole Graves-Watson                                 Doris     Stoeckel,
are strengths that he brings to the                             was recently appoint-                                an employee with
prosecutor’s office. Detective Prachar’s                        ed community justice                                 the Essex County
goal is to excel in rank within the                             coordinator for the                                  Prosecutor’s Office
prosecutor’s office and pursue a degree                         Essex County Prose-                                  for the past 24
in Criminal Justice. He enjoys traveling,    cutor’s Office. In this position, Nicole is                             years recently re-
camping, fishing, boating and biking.        responsible for writing and editing The                                 ceived the Essex
                                             Essex Observer newsletter. Nicole also                                  County Teamwork
                  CISSy m. REBICH            works with various law enforcement or-                                  Award. Stoeckel
                 Cissy M. Rebich was         ganizations, governmental agencies,                is the Vehicle Fire Case Specialist in
                 an actor on Broadway        businesses, schools, community-based               the Arson Unit. She is responsible for
                 and a classical singer      and faith-based institutions to facilitate         coordinating with a grant funded program
                 for many years. She         change in the perception of law enforce-           to combat insurance fraud involving
                 recently joined the         ment. “I’m excited about my position and           vehicle arson.
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office as an       look forward to a rewarding career within
                                             ECPO,” said Nicole.                                “I am very happy to be nominated for
assistant prosecutor. While performing                                                          this award. I work with a great team
in Les Miserables, she attended Seton        Nicole served as a case supervisor with            in the Arson Unit and thank them for
Hall School of Law and joined the Morris     Court Appointed Special Advocates                  the nomination,” said Stoeckel. She
County Prosecutor’s Office as an             since 2004. Prior to that, Nicole was              enjoys spending time with her seven
assistant prosecutor after graduation.       employed as a caseworker with the                  grandchildren, reading and gardening.
Rebich also practiced civil law as an        Division of Youth & Family Services.
associate at the law firm of Podvey,         Nicole also has strong roots in journalism.        Previous winners of the Essex County
Meanor in Newark.                            She’s written for The Star-Ledger,                 Teamwork Award are Cindy Hamilton,
                                             Black Enterprise Magazine, The Daily               Lisa Fonseca, Lorraine DeGardnuer,
                  RANDolPH RooT              Challenge Newspaper, Fashion Market                Halimah Harris, Rosemary Facchino
                  Randolph Root recently     Magazine, The Source Magazine and                  and Detective Arnold Anderson.
                  joined the Essex Coun-     Bridge News Wire Service.
                  ty Prosecutor’s Office
                                             Nicole is a graduate of William Paterson
                                                                                                Calling All Interns…
                  as a detective in the
                                             University. Among her many accom-
                  juvenile trial division.                                                      The Essex County Prosecutor’s Of-
                                             plishments, in 1998, she was awarded
“I’m very elated to be a part of the                                                            fice is gearing up for our annual five
                                             Third Place Winner for Best Feature
chief law enforcement agency in                                                                 week summer internship program.
                                             Article presented by the New York
Essex County,” he declared. Detec-                                                              Each year, thirty high school juniors
                                             Association of Black Journalists. Nicole
tive Root previously worked as a                                                                from Essex County participate in the
                                             enjoys spending time with her three year-
sheriff officer with the Essex County                                                           program, which provides positive
                                             old daughter and husband.
Sheriff’s Department. Detective Root par-                                                       hands on exposure to law enforce-
ticipates in various volunteer activities                                                       ment and the judicial system. Interns
including the Belleville Elks, which                                                            learn about the role and function of
works on the behalf of disabled                                                                 the Essex County Prosecutor’s office,
children and the Veteran’s of Foreign         Farewell to our Retirees                          participate in a one week residential
War Post 493 in Nutley.                                                                         training program with the New Jersey
                                              Cheryl Contreras, Detective                       State Troopers, attend cultural events
                  SIlVINA TRABA                                                                 and participate in a mock trial.
                  Newly-wed Silvina           Patrick De Francisci, Captain
                                                                                                The summer internship runs from June
                  Traba was previously
                                                                                                27 through August 3. Applications for
                  employed as a law           Grace Esposito, Director Assistant Prosecutor     next year’s internship program will be
                  clerk to Judge Scott
                                                                                                available beginning January 2008. For
                  Moynihan in Union           Joan Love, Assistant Prosecutor                   further details, contact:
County. She is now an assistant pros-
ecutor within the juvenile division                                                                     Gwendolyn Williams,
                                              Herbert Pendleton, Detective
of the Essex County Prosecutor’s                                                                   Director Assistant Prosecutor at
Office. Traba enjoys her job and                                                                          (973) 621-4029 or
would like to have a long career in           Daniel Pope, Detective
                                                                                                   Community Justice Coordinator,
the prosecutor’s office. Traba feels                                                                  Nicole Graves-Watson at
that her strong work ethic and                Charles Williams, Lieutenant
                                                                                                           (973) 621-4663.
good communication skills are as-
sets to the office. The Seton Hall Law        Carol Fitzgibbon, Director Assistant Prosecutor

                                                                                                             The essex observer • 7
Focusing on Local Police
Belleville Police                             ment received tactical training from the      the necessary equipment. “None of the
                                              New York Police Department, studied           police departments in Essex County
Responds to                                   information from the National Tactical Of-    have the necessary first response
School Violence                               ficers Association and modified it to suit    equipment. This is a homeland security
                                              Essex County needs. Lieutenant Victor         issue and hopefully we’ll see funding very
School shootings are no longer con-           Mesci was instrumental in developing first    soon,” continued Lieutenant Mesci.
strained to a scenario in a fiction-          response training to respond to an active
alized Hollywood action film. Un-             school shooting.                              Last February, the Belleville Police De-
fortunately, school shootings have                                                          partment provided the first response
become common in today’s society. The         Traditionally, first response police would    training to its neighboring police depart-
Columbine High School massacre in 1999,       surround the outside of the school            ments. “We want all of the police depart-
where two students randomly shot and          until the SWAT team arrived. “After careful   ments in Essex County to undergo the
killed students and faculty in Columbine,     research, it became evident that the old      training,” said Lieutenant Mesci.
Colorado sparked a rash of school             way of responding to this type of crisis is
shootings in this country. More recently, a   not efficient,” said Lieutenant Mesci. The
mentally unstable student shot and killed     new training offers ways to enter a school
32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech in   and encounter the active gunman in a
Clarksburg, West Virginia.                    hallway, classroom and stairway. First
                                              responders are required to have
The Belleville Police Department took         breaching tools, which would be used
recent incidents of school violence as        to open locked doors. Ceramic plates
a warning to prepare themselves for           would cover officer’s vests to protect
a school shooting. “We felt if it (school     them from injury. Ballistic shields and
shootings) could happen there, it             helmets are also needed for safety.
                                                                                            Belleville police officers Michael Greisi, Charles
could happen here,” said Chief of             Essex County Chiefs of Police are             Mollineaux, Joseph Sente and John McAloon
Police Joseph Rotonda. The depart-            urging lawmakers to provide funding for       simulate a school shooting.

To top