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Not that privileged
A Bay Ridge woman’s attempt to dodge a murder rap was quashed in court last week.
In court papers released last week, Judge Joel M. Goldberg found no basis in Laura Sergio’s claim that the indictment against her should be thrown out because what she though were privileged discussions between an EMT and a doctor were given to the grand jury.
Sergio was arrested back in April 2007 on charges that she had allegedly killed her baby by exposing the newborn to frigid cold temperatures.
Police allege that Sergio gave birth to a baby girl and then put the baby in a plastic bag. She then put the bag in the back of the house.
Earlier this year, Sergio’s attorneys asked for a copy of the grand jury minutes and made a motion to have the case thrown out, because “privileged physician-patient communications were improperly used” as both evidence that was given to the grand jury and to bolster enough probable cause for police to get a search warrant.
Since Sergio’s statements to the doctors at Lutheran Medical Center, as well as the BRAVO Ambulance EMT who first arrived at the scene were privileged, their appearance in grand jury minutes “renders the grand jury proceedings defective and the fruits of the search warrant inadmissible.”
Prosecutors said that any statements made to the BRAVO Ambulance worker can’t be privileged because he “was not a physician or employed as a physician.”
The fact that the statements made to the doctor took place in front of Sergio’s mother, which “constitutes a waiver of any confidentiality.”
After weighing the evidence, Judge Goldberg sided with the prosecution, claiming that the evidence given to the grand jury – which he did not see as legally privileged “supports a rational inference (although not necessarily an exclusive inference) that the defendant under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of serious physical injury or death to her baby.”
The inference sustained the charges, he said.
A notorious Brooklyn drug trafficker was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of a slew of charges ranging from narcotics sales to murder for hire, federal officials said recently.
During a short court appearance in Brooklyn Federal Court, Gilberto Caraballo, also known as Carlos Caraballo and Anthony Rodriguez, was lambasted for his almost “Scarface”-like story in which the street level drug dealer rose through the ranks to becoming one of the leading narcotics traffickers in Sunset Park and south Brooklyn.
His rise to fame came with an opulent lifestyle that came with expensive cars and multiple addresses.
It also came with the body count, said members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who convicted him of murder for hire, murder in the furtherance of narcotics trafficking, narcotics trafficking and a slew of firearms offenses.
During his reign from the late 1980s until his arrest in 2001, Caraballo, who turned 35 this year, was found responsible for ordering his crew to shoot victim Edward Cortes to death back in February 1992.
Investigators learned that Cortes had left Caraballo’s crack cocaine distribution network and had opened up his own drug shop near the corner of 40th Street and 8th Avenue.
Not believing in the concept of free enterprise, Caraballo ordered him killed, officials said.
Eight years later, just before his arrest in 2001, Caraballo allegedly ordered two of his associates to kill a one Jose Fernandez. Caraballo was having an affair with Fernandez’s longtime girlfriend Quincie Martinez, according to court documents.
Fernandez disappeared a short time after his execution order was given. About a year later, his decomposed body was found in a sewer drain inside Green-Wood Cemetery, officials said, adding that by that time, Martinez and Caraballo’s two associates had already been convicted for the murder.
Seven years after his arrest, Caraballo was found guilty in federal court
Prosecutors and city officials said that the life sentence imposed on September 4 was a fitting sentence for the litany of crimes he is responsible for.
“Gilberto Caraballo brought murder, mayhem, and narcotics to the streets of one of our communities,” stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. “He will now pay for his crimes with the remainder of his life in prison.”
“Over the decades, drugs and guns have been responsible for thousands of murders in New York,” added Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “A life sentence for one of the more notorious traffickers is welcome, indeed.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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