Thomas Spota

Last updated
Thomas J. Spota III
TJS photo.jpg
District Attorney of Suffolk County
In office
January 1, 2002 November 10, 2017
Preceded byJames M. Catterson, Jr.
Succeeded byTim Sini
Constituency Suffolk County, New York
Personal details
Born1941
Political party Democratic
Education Fairfield University (B.A.)
St. John's University (J.D.)
Website Suffolk County District Attorney's Office

Thomas J. Spota III (born 1941, New York) is known as the District Attorney of Suffolk County, New York, serving from 2002 to late 2017. During this period, Spota was inducted into the Long Island Press Power List Hall of Fame in 2009, having been named to the Power List at least five times. [1]

Suffolk County, New York County in the United States

Suffolk County is a predominantly suburban county on Long Island and the easternmost county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 1,493,350, estimated to have decreased slightly to 1,492,953 in 2017, making it the fourth-most populous county in New York. Its county seat is Riverhead, though most county offices are in Hauppauge. The county was named after the county of Suffolk in England, from where its earliest European settlers came.

The Long Island Press is a free monthly news and lifestyle periodical serving Long Island.

Contents

Spota resigned November 10, 2017, after he was indicted on federal charges of obstruction of justice in the investigation of Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke. [2] [3] [4]

Early life and education

Spota was born in 1941 and grew up in New Hyde Park, New York, on Long Island. He graduated from Chaminade High School, a private Catholic school in Mineola, New York. He earned degrees at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut and St. John's University School of Law in Jamaica, Queens, New York. [5]

New Hyde Park, New York Village in New York, United States

New Hyde Park is a village in Nassau County, Long Island, New York, United States, which is split between the towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead.

Chaminade High School

Chaminade High School is a Roman Catholic college preparatory high school for boys in Mineola, New York, United States.

Mineola, New York Village in New York, United States

Mineola is a village in Nassau County, Long Island, New York, United States. The population was 18,799 at the 2010 census. The name is derived from an Algonquin word meaning a "pleasant village".

Law career

After passing the bar, Spota worked as an assistant prosecutor under Suffolk County District Attorney Patrick Henry, during the 1970s and early 1980s. He entered private law practice in Suffolk, representing clients including the Suffolk Detectives Association and other law enforcement unions. [6]

Personal

He lives in Mount Sinai, New York with his wife. They have three grown children.

Mount Sinai, New York Hamlet and census-designated place in New York, United States

Mount Sinai is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) located within the Town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 12,118 at the 2010 census. The hamlet is located on the North Shore of Long Island, and is served by the Mount Sinai School District and the Mount Sinai Fire Department, founded on October 25, 1930. The Mount Sinai Fire District covers approximately 5.5 square miles including the Mount Sinai Harbor and parts of the Long Island Sound. Mount Sinai's ZIP code is 11766.

District Attorney of Suffolk County

In 2001 Republican-turned-Democrat Spota ran for District Attorney, and defeated three-time incumbent James M. Catterson Jr in November 2001, taking 58% of the vote. That year in Nassau County, Democrats also were victorious in many positions. [7] He was reelected in 2005, [8] and again in 2009 without any major-party opposition. [9]

Spota has been active in the fight against the distribution of child pornography over the Internet. In 2003, Spota indicted twelve Suffolk residents who used KaZaA, a file-sharing program to spread child pornography. [10] Spota was called to testify before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on September 9, 2003 at a hearing concerning "Pornography, Technology, and Process: Problems and Solutions on Peer-to-Peer Networks." Spota recommended a new federal task force and said that legislation was needed to "attack the owners and the distributors of these programs, who are reaping enormous profits." [11]

From December 2010, his office oversaw the investigation of numerous homicides in Suffolk County, believed to have been perpetrated by a single unidentified person, known as the Long Island serial killer, or LISK. The remains of at least ten persons have been found on South Shore beaches, and are believed to be related. The open homicide investigation is still underway.

Among the successful cases prosecuted by his office was the conviction in May 2017 of John Bittrolff, a Manorville carpenter charged with the homicides of prostitutes Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee, whose bodies were found on area South Shore beaches in 1993 and 1994, respectively. [12]

Controversy

In May 2013 the FBI and the US Attorney's Office opened an investigation into alleged actions by James Burke, Chief of the Suffolk County Police Department: the alleged assault of a suspect in police custody, a subsequent cover-up, and coercion of witnesses. The former chief pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February 2016. [13]

The federal inquiry subsequently expanded beyond Burke to investigate a broader pattern of corruption in both the police department and the office of the Suffolk County district attorney, Thomas J. Spota. [13] In October 2017, Spota and an aide were indicted on charges of obstructing the investigation of James Burke for police brutality. [14] [15] Spota resigned from office on November 10, 2017.

See also

Related Research Articles

Nassau County, New York County in the United States

Nassau County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. At the 2010 census, the county's population was 1,339,532, estimated to have increased to 1,358,343 in 2018. The county seat is Mineola and the largest town is the Town of Hempstead.

Death of JonBenét Ramsey Death of JonBenét Ramsey on December 26, 1996 in Boulder, Colorado

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey was an American child beauty queen who was killed in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado. A lengthy handwritten ransom note was found in the house, and JonBenét's father John found her body in the basement of their house about eight hours after she had been reported missing. She sustained a broken skull from a blow to the head and had been strangled; a garrote was found tied around her neck. The autopsy report stated that the official cause of death was "asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma." Her death was ruled a homicide. The case generated nationwide public and media interest, in part because her mother Patsy Ramsey had entered JonBenét into a series of child beauty pageants. The crime is still unsolved and remains an open investigation with the Boulder Police Department.

Patsy Ramsey Mother of JonBenét Ramsey

Patricia Ann Ramsey was an American beauty pageant winner who won the Miss West Virginia Pageant at age 20 in 1977. She was best known as the mother of JonBenét Ramsey, a 6-year-old child beauty pageant queen who was found dead in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado, on December 25, 1996.

Daniel F. Conley American politician and lawyer

Daniel F. Conley was the 14th District Attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, serving Boston, Revere, Chelsea and Winthrop. Appointed to the office in February 2002, Conley was later elected on November 5, 2002, and again in 2006, 2010, and 2014. He retired in 2018 to enter private practice.

Denis E. Dillon American politician

Denis E. Dillon, was an American prosecutor and politician who served as District Attorney of Nassau County, New York from 1975 to 2005. Dillon was well known for his opposition to abortion rights, and the issue prompted his defection to the Republican Party in 1989, having previously been one of the very few Democratic politicians to have success in Nassau County. Prior to his defection, Dillon challenged incumbent Democrat Mario Cuomo from the right in the 1986 election for governor, finishing in third place with 3% of the vote as the nominee of the New York State Right to Life Party.

Kathleen Rice American lawyer

Kathleen Maura Rice is an attorney, prosecutor, and the United States Representative for New York's 4th congressional district. She is a Democrat. Prior to serving in Congress, she served as the Nassau County District Attorney, and, prior to that, she served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia and as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney's Office in New York City.

Martin H. "Marty" Tankleff is a Long Island, New York, resident who was convicted of murdering his wealthy parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, on September 7, 1988, when he was 17 years old. After serving more than 17 years of imprisonment, his conviction was vacated and he was released from prison in 2007.

Robert M. Johnson, former publisher of Newsday, is now better-known as one of the most prominent men so far accused of child pornography offenses. On August 4, 2006, he pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of destroying computer records, and was sentenced to fifteen months in federal prison on December 15, 2006. In 2004, citing personal reasons, he resigned as CEO of the financial information and document management firm Bowne & Co, as well as from his position as a member of the New York State Board of Regents.

Suffolk County Police Department

The Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) provides police services to 5 of the 10 Towns in Suffolk County, New York.

Politics of Long Island

As a major region of New York State, Long Island has a significant impact on state and national politics. On the local level, the region has been long dominated by the Republican Party, although the region's alignment has shifted notably over the past decade, with many Democrats being elected to major local offices.

Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force is a half-hour reality television show which premiered on A&E in December 2008. It chronicles US Marshals and local law enforcement as they hunt down some of America's worst fugitives. The show's 60 episodes primary focus is on the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force based out of New York City.

The Long Island serial killer is an unidentified suspected serial killer who is believed to have murdered 10 to 16 people over a period of nearly 20 years, mostly women associated with prostitution, and left their bodies in areas on the South Shore of Long Island, New York.

Shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was fatally shot on November 19, 2011, in White Plains, New York. After his LifeAid medical alert necklace was inadvertently triggered, police came to his home and demanded that he open his front door. Despite his objections and statements that he did not need help, the police broke down Chamberlain's door, tasered him, and then fatally shot him. Chamberlain was a 68-year-old, black, retired Marine, and a 20-year veteran of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. He wore the medical alert pendant due to a chronic heart problem.

Marian T. Ryan is the District Attorney (DA) of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. She was the Commonwealth's only female District Attorney from 2013 to 2018. As of 2019, she one of three, joined by Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County DA and Andrea Harrington, Berkshire County DA. She is a Democrat.

Anthony H. Palumbo is the Assembly member for the 2nd District of the New York Assembly. He is a Republican. The district includes portions of the town of Brookhaven, and all of the towns of Riverhead and Southold on the North Fork of Long Island.

Janet Marie DiFiore is an American judge who, since 2016, has been the Chief Judge of the State of New York. A New York native, DiFiore graduated from Long Island University and St. John's University School of Law. As a practicing attorney, DiFiore worked in a law firm and in the Westchester District Attorney's Office. DiFiore then was elected a judge of the Westchester County Court, and was subsequently named a justice of the New York Supreme Court, serving in that post from 2003 to 2005. DiFiore left the bench to become district attorney of Westchester County, New York in 2006; she stayed in that position nearly a decade, until Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her to the New York Court of Appeals.

References

  1. Power List 2009 Hall of Fame
  2. Keshner, Andrew. "Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota resigning Friday after allegedly covering up police chief beating". New York Daily News. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. Campbell, Danielle. "Spota, under indictment, finishes DA career under cloud of cover-up charges". News 12 Long Island. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  4. Swenson, Kyle. "A scandal sent a Long Island police chief to prison. Now it's brought down the D.A., too". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  5. Spotlight on DA Thomas Spota
  6. {{Cite news|url=https://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/02/opinion/for-da-in-suffolk-and-westchester.html%7Ctitle=For D.A. in Suffolk and Westchester|date=2001-11-02|work=The New York Times|access-date=2017-11-01|language=en-US|issn=0362-4331
  7. THE 2001 ELECTIONS: NASSAU COUNTY; Suozzi Wins Easily in Rebuke of Nassau's G.O.P. Machine
  8. Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota sworn in, Amityville Record
  9. Suffolk County Board of Elections: 2009 Election Official Results
  10. Suffolk Indicts 12 in Child Porn Archived 2006-08-23 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Testimony of Mr. Thomas Spota, Suffolk County District Attorney, September 9, 2003
  12. Frank Eltman, AP. "Prosecutor: Convicted killer may be tied to more NY slayings". Newser. Archived from the original on 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  13. 1 2 Dollinger, Arielle; Santora, Marc (2016-02-26). "James Burke, Ex-Suffolk County Police Chief, Pleads Guilty". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  14. "Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota Indicted In 2012 Police Brutality Cover-up". NBC. New York. 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  15. "DA in New York is accused of obstructing probe into beating of suspect by former police chief". ABA Journal. Debra Cassens Weiss. Retrieved 2017-11-01.CS1 maint: others (link)