Former Long Island Prosecutors Sentenced in Plot to Protect Police Chief

Sometimes we need protection from “The Protectors!” In this case of duplicity, the guilty party’s thought they could rule by fear and intimidation, and did for some period of time. Yes, even the worst offenders can get away with their bad deeds as these jerks did, because of their positions as detectives and police officials or other angles.

“Yes, but how could they think they could pull that off, surrounded as they were by other such officials?” You might ask. Exactly! Idiocy!

They thought so, because like most of us they were not properly taught how the “Law of Cause and Effect” actually works! We don’t grow up learning about this fundamental Law of all nature and science, that explains everything that happens on this planet including humans and is embodied in the words, “What Goes Around Comes Around.”  That we are not properly educated on this matter is precisely why so many people make such foolish and hurtful mistakes.

See the recent articles about what we’ve collectively done to our planet, to see this deficit at play on a global basis!

Reading the book with the title, “What Goes Around Comes Around – A Guide To How Life REALLY Works, and available on Amazon, or at, is a good start for any individual to close that gap for themselves and those most dear to them.

Thomas Spota and Christopher McPartland were convicted of obstruction of justice and other crimes for their role in a scheme to protect James Burke.

Former Long Island Prosecutors Sentenced in Plot to Protect Police Chief

Thomas Spota and Christopher McPartland were convicted of obstruction of justice and other crimes for their role in a scheme to protect James Burke.

Credit…Uli Seit for The New York Times

For three years, a handful of Suffolk County detectives and police officials gathered in places public and private — a church parking lot, a high school gym, each other’s Long Island homes — in a concerted effort to conceal an incendiary secret: The chief of the county police department, James Burke, had assaulted a shackled prisoner.

The details of the clandestine meetings then made their way to the police chief’s powerful allies: Thomas Spota, the county’s top prosecutor, and his aide Christopher McPartland, a prosecutor focused on rooting out corruption.

But their plot to protect Mr. Burke fell apart. A grand jury indicted Mr. Burke in 2015, and he pleaded guilty to assault the following year. And on Tuesday, nearly two years after they were found guilty of obstruction of justice and other charges related to the scheme, a federal judge in Central Islip sentenced Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland to five years each in prison; Mr. Spota was also ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.

In imposing the sentences, Judge Joan M. Azrack expressed shock that officials whose job was to uphold the law would seek to subvert it.

“During a years long conspiracy, the sitting district attorney — let me repeat, the sitting district attorney — conspired to tamper with witnesses,” Judge Azrack said, “in order to thwart a federal investigation into an assault committed by the head — the head — of the Suffolk County police department.”

Mr. Spota, 79, was elected to four terms in office as district attorney and was an “immensely powerful and influential figure” in Suffolk County, Judge Azrack said. Mr. McPartland had served 27 years as a prosecutor for the district attorney’s office.

Judge Azrack’s said she had made sentencing decisions through the lens of her own experience as a former prosecutor. In sentencing Mr. McPartland, she said she intended to punish him for what was “not a momentary moral lapse,” but a yearslong criminal cover-up.

She intentionally gave Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland higher sentences than Mr. Burke, she said, in part because of their positions. Mr. Burke, 56, who pleaded guilty to civil rights and conspiracy charges, was sentenced to 46 months in prison in 2016.

Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland, 55, had each requested sentences that included community service and no prison time. But they had thrown away the opportunity to serve their community, the judge said, when they chose to abuse their prosecutorial powers.

“Community service and home confinement are insufficient punishments here,” she said.

In the courtroom, Mr. McPartland told the judge that he appreciated the seriousness of the matter and asked that she consider “the very severe punishment that myself and my family have already endured.”

He was disbarred and financially devastated, finding work in recent years as a clerk at a liquor store, said his lawyer, Larry Krantz.

Mr. Spota said in court that the reading of the jury verdict was his darkest moment and had disgraced his family. Prosecutors said he still had not taken responsibility for his actions.

Both defendants said they hoped their good deeds would outweigh their misdeeds; neither defendant apologized.

Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland’s conviction in 2019 hinged on the testimony of James Hickey, the former police lieutenant who testified that he served as an intermediary between the detectives and the higher-ups.

Mr. Hickey described an atmosphere laced with fear and intimidation. Loyalty was currency, and at one 2015 meeting Mr. Spota said that any police officers who flipped were “dead,” and “would never work in Suffolk County again,” according to court records. The “men in charge” — Mr. Burke, Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland — called themselves “the administration,” Mr. Hickey testified.

Detectives who knew of the 2012 assault of the man, Christopher Loeb, who had stolen Mr. Burke’s duffel bag, testified that they were afraid to come forward in part because Mr. Spota, Mr. McPartland and Mr. Burke were powerful and could retaliate against them and their families.

“If you crossed Tom Spota, Chris McPartland, Jimmy Burke, you crossed all,” Mr. Hickey, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice for his role in the scheme, testified at trial. “They will destroy you. Personally, financially, criminally. They will go after your family.”

He added, “They know no bounds.”

Mr. Loeb had been burglarizing cars when he took the bag from Mr. Burke’s vehicle. Among the bag’s contents were sex toys, cigars, and pornography on DVD — items the chief of one of the largest police departments in the United States did not want anyone to know he had.

When Mr. Burke found out that Mr. Loeb had been apprehended and his items had been recovered, he drove to Mr. Loeb’s home. He retrieved some of his property, which according to protocol should have been cataloged as evidence, and then drove to the police station where detectives he had handpicked were interrogating Mr. Loeb. Mr. Burke then physically assaulted Mr. Loeb, who had already been slapped by the detectives.

In court on Tuesday, Mr. Loeb, 34, stood before the judge “as a man with purpose,” he said. “Nobody should have this much power,” he read from a prepared statement. “Thomas Spota should spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

Mr. Loeb suggested every case Mr. Spota tried be re-evaluated, and said the former district attorney had “infested Suffolk County with corruption.”

Witnesses described Mr. Spota’s relationship with Mr. Burke as akin to a father and son, or a mentor and protégé. Mr. Hickey called Mr. Spota “Burke’s fiercest defender and protector.” During closing arguments, Mr. Spota’s lawyer, Alan Vinegrad, referred to the former police chief as, “Tom Spota’s professional child, of sorts.”

“Wanting to help Jimmy Burke is not a crime,” Mr. Vinegrad said. “Being a concerned professional parent of sorts, believing your professional child would never have done such a crazy and stupid thing as walking into a police station house in broad daylight and assaulting a prisoner, being concerned is not a crime.”

Per Mr. Hickey’s description, Mr. McPartland and Mr. Burke were best friends. It was a different dynamic, but a significant one.

“Chris would be the first person that Burke would turn to when he was in trouble,” Mr. Hickey said.

The convictions of Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland followed a series of high-profile corruption cases on Long Island.

In 2017, former Suffolk County Conservative Party head Edward Walsh was convicted of wire fraud and theft of government services — crimes committed while serving as a lieutenant for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. Two years later, across county lines, former Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and his wife, Linda, were convicted of federal corruption chargesthat included bribery and wire fraud. Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland were convicted months later.

The prosecution’s case against Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland involved a web of phone records, which prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz said showed Mr. Burke making calls from cellphones that were not his, while Mr. Spota was concerned that his communications were being bugged.

“These people are prosecutors,” Ms. Gatz said during the trial. “They are acutely aware of investigative techniques and how to thwart them.”

Mr. Hickey was the detectives’ direct supervisor and as such could communicate with them without raising suspicion. He was a strategic choice, prosecutors said, because he had a history of alcoholism and lying that would make it easy for defense attorneys to discredit his testimony in the courtroom.

But that plan also backfired. The jury believed Mr. Hickey’s account.

Speaking outside the courthouse after the sentencing on Tuesday, Nicole Boeckmann, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case, said Mr. Spota and Mr. McPartland had corrupted the institution they led.

“Their insidious alliance with James Burke, and their willingness to protect him at all cost, perpetuated the notion that prominent public officials, no matter how corrupt, are untouchable — that they are above the law,” Ms. Boeckmann said. “Today, we know that not to be true.”

A Hotter Future Is Certain Climate Panel Warns

A Hotter Future Is Certain Climate Panel Warns

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome

Jury Awards $125 Million After Walmart Fires Woman With Down Syndrome

Is it true that “What Goes Around Comes Around”? We may be getting close to another prime example of how that particular law of nature and physics plays out in the life of all humans, even those who have seemed impervious to its reach.

Now that the lengthy inquiry into accusations of sexual harassment and other improprieties related to the Governor’s handling of Covid, nursing-home data and state resources he may have illegally used to publish his book so quickly has advanced significantly, we’ll soon know the results of what at least appears to be a thorough and exhaustive investigation. There is always the risk of jumping the gun and assuming the worst, which we want to avoid in fairness to all parties, including the Governor.

From the current perch we all share of only having publicly available sources of info, it appears that Mr. Cuomo’s bluster and denials and the support he still has from political allies may see him through what appears to be the most significant threat he’s faced to his political career and legacy. If not, we’ll soon see another Governor’s career go down in ignoble flames due to their disbelief that those words applied to them, in spite of their use of them on many occasions to describe the plight of other people.

Drake Bell Given Two Years of Probation

Drake must have felt a sense of empowerment, the big star over the impressionable fan. It’s been called intoxicating and at the right time and place, with the right profile of a fan it might indeed have been just a “good time!”

But when that person turned out to be a minor it was a whole other ballgame and now Drake is someone who has been charged with the felony of attempted child endangerment. It lead to a plea deal including financial penalties, probation with various conditions for a minimum of two years and registration as a sex offender!

Have to ask though as we always should, is it possible its not so black and white? Were there mitigating circumstances? Had Drake himself been a victim of child abuse? Was this a one-off mistake or just one of a series? Does it indicate a much deeper problem and need for help, but with the proviso to also keep him away from other potential victims?

A deeper analysis might answer those questions and let us have a dose of sympathy. But in the end, sympathy or not, he made the choices! He lured her in! He pounced!

There’s at least one thing we can be pretty sure he didn’t have, which is the insight that whether there seems to be someone watching or not, that there IS something taking note.That something is the universal Law of Cause & Effect which explains every action/reaction in the physical universe and nature, but also applies to all human thoughts, words and actions and their consequences.

In our time and culture, the common vernacular for this principle in action is the expression “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Most of us use those words, perhaps many times, but only when describing someone else’s misfortune. We didn’t understand at first, but when the facts came out we could see why it happened!

However another truth is that, what is so easy to see in others can be so hard to see in ourselves. Unfortunately for Drake, he didn’t either! If he’d only read the book I wrote with that title he might not be in this fix!

The former star of the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh” had pleaded guilty to two charges related to a girl he met online. She attended one of his concerts in 2017.