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  • Rich Klein

EDITORIAL: McGuire No More Credible Than Inmates in NYCLU Suit That Was Dismissed

Would you take the word of a prisoner over Sullivan County's County Attorney, Michael McGuire?

Now, many say that inmates are all criminals and that they lie. And, maybe that's what (subconsciously, at least) was what State Supreme Court Justice Stephan Schick was thinking when he abruptly dismissed the New York Civil Liberties Union habeas corpus petition on Monday. (The same judge who spent less than 30 minutes doing a walk through of the old jail as part of this case).

But County Attorney Michael McGuire, the disgraced former County Court Judge who actually sentenced some of these inmates, is a liar himself. It's been well documented by his own former colleagues on the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. He lied, was suspended and then resigned to save his own butt from more embarrassment if the Court of Appeals finally, officially removed him from the bench.

Here's what McGuire is quoted as saying in a County news release about the habeas corpus case on Tuesday:

"As Judge Stephan Schick noted in granting our motion to dismiss, the County Jail, its corrections officers and its medical personnel did not disregard, at any point, the health and safety of our inmates,” County Attorney Michael F. McGuire stated.

Except, it's not true. Just like other dishonest things McGuire has said and done for his decade on the bench.

Even Correction Officers have told The SullivanTimes that protections for THEM were not in place for weeks at the height of the pandemic in Sullivan - and that means inmates were put at risk with coronavirus.

This is not an attack on the brave CO's who do very hard work every day and night.

But Sheriff Michael Schiff, Undersheriff Michael Chaboty, certain jail officials and McGuire just were not being truthful about medical treatment inside the old jail as well as the new one.

The SullivanTimes found the inmates we spoke with credible. Two of them were interviewed separately and gave us nearly identical stories about the failures of jail management when it came to their need for medical care as coronavirus was spreading throughout Bushnell Avenue.

All you have to do is read Dr. Homer Venters' scathing affirmation that was part of NYCLU's lawsuit to see the reality. Did Schick take that into consideration? Hard to tell.

And how interesting it was that less than one day after our reporting appeared, one sick inmate was finally brought to the hospital for symptoms connected to his positive test result for coronavirus.

Remember that some inmates are there for pretrial detention. That means they are innocent until proven guilty.

Let's stop the stereotypes about inmates in our County Jail and see them as human beings. It's possible that one or more inmates there were falsely accused. It's possible that one or more were arrested due to faulty police work or a former DA who wanted another conviction to add to his notches instead of learning the truth about what happened in a matter.

We know from the Innocence Project's great work that mistakes are sometimes made and people are wrongfully accused.

We also know that at least one of our former County judges (McGuire) has a history of documented lies and abusive behavior who put people in handcuffs who appeared before him without sufficient warning or sufficient legal reason.

So when the County quotes McGuire as some authority on the truth on anything, please remember why he was recommended for removal from the bench. And remember that the current leaders of your County Legislature doesn't care.

Below is the report by Dr. Homer Venters, a national authority on medical care in American jails.


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