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Reporter's Notebook

June 29, 2013

A variety of cases keeping judges busy at local courts

It seems that not a month goes by without another legal development in the saga of the Pacherille family, formerly of Cooperstown. This week, a notice of claim was filed against Otsego County and the town of Otsego, contending Anthony Pacherille Sr. was the victim of “false arrest and malicious prosecution.”

The notice, which preserves Pacherille’s right to file a formal lawsuit, comes six weeks after Acting Supreme Court Judge Martin E. Smith dismissed charges of aggravated harassment brought against Pacherille and his brother, Angelo David Pacherille last November. Smith held that the scathing personal attacks posted on a web site operated by the Pacherille brothers amounted to protected free speech.

The basis for that charge had been a complaint made by Craig Lippitt, the father of Wesley Lippitt, the youth shot by Anthony Pacherille Jr. in 2010, a crime that gained national attention because of a racial slur attributed to the assailant, then 16 years old. The elder Lippitt filed the complaint after the Pacherille brothers used their site — www.coophallofshame.com — to make vile allegations against him.

In his legal papers, Pacherille’s lawyer, Frank Policelli of Utica, referred to the personal attacks on Lippitt, District Attorney John Muehl and County Judge Brian Burns as “satirical.”

The notice contended that Muehl “ordered” Senior Investigator Michael Ten Eyck of the Sheriff’s Office to get a search warrant that resulted in the seizure of three computers from the elder Pacherille’s home. The notice also contended that the arrest was in “retaliation” for the elder Pacherille escaping with a fine and no jail time for an earlier incident of harassment against Lippitt and his son.

Contacted on Friday, Muehl said, “I don’t order any officers to do anything.” He also said he had no role in the search warrant application, pointing out that the sheriff’s office was simply following up on the complaint made by Craig Lippitt.

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