Jury Acquits Driver Who Killed The Sister In Law of Professor Alan Dershowitz

This week a jury cleared postal service driver Ian Clement in the death of the sister-in-law of Professor Alan Dershowitz. The defense accused Dershowitz of exerting pressure on the prosecutors to bring the case while Dershowitz’s brother implied that the prosecution did a poor job in the case leading to the acquittal.

Marilyn Dershowitz, 68, was killed last Fourth of July weekend when she fell off her bicycle and was crushed by a truck’s rear wheel. It was a horrific accident as Dershowitz was slowly crushed under the right rear wheel of the seven-ton truck. Reports detailed how people were screaming and honking their horns as people rushed to the side of Dershowitz — commotion that the prosecutors insisted the driver must have seen. Her husband was at the scene and gave testimony at the trial. The couple had decided to go biking that day. Marilyn Dershowitz was a retired court employee and Nathan Dershowitz is an attorney. He had sped up to make a light and she was passing between two seven-ton truck in part of the road that was narrowed that day because of an obstruction. The slow crushing of Dershowitz could not be more horrific as a death and witnesses described the terrible screams from both Dershowitz and pedestrians.

Clement was asked, when he pulled in, whether he had seen the horrible accident and he went to his supervisor and said “I think I’m the guy you’re looking for.”

Clement left the scene and insisted that he did not notice anything like a bump in running over the woman. Yet, Clement, 63, stopped 20 feet after running over Dershowitz and then continued on without getting out of his truck. He was only charged with leaving the scene of the accident.

Notably, the jury took less than a day to clear Clement. Moreover, the weight of a seven-ton truck might have been a deciding factor for the jury which could have assumed that the driver would not feel a significant bump in running over a person with the rear tires. Clement’s attorney also argued that cars are always beeping in New York and that the commotion did not alert Clement that his truck was the source of the problem.

The victim’s husband, Nathan Dershowitz, was clearly not happy with the performance of the prosecutors in the case and said outside of the courthouse, “I’m sorry I wasn’t part of the prosecution team.” When asked what he meant, he just added “You can understand what I’m saying.”

There remains the option of a civil lawsuit for Dershowitz, though there remains immunity issues in such cases with regard to personal liability. There is also the question of possible allegations of contributory negligence in Dershowitz riding between the two large trucks and possibly trying to catch up to her husband at the light — though I am not sure of the support for such a defense given the limited testimony on leaving the scene of an accident. Yet, in a tort action, the standard of proof is lower and the family would have greater control over the case.

Source: NY Daily

57 thoughts on “Jury Acquits Driver Who Killed The Sister In Law of Professor Alan Dershowitz”

  1. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it
    to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
    ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

  2. @ JamesR, the lack of real information in the bike accident story also made me wonder about the details, but I didn’t get too concerned about that because I believe that the jury had to have been given all the details before they acquitted, and also, the guy was charged with leaving the scene, rather than with negligent homicide, so really, even the cops thought he had not been truly at fault for the homicide itself. (NOT that I think that is determinative of the issue because of course the Sanford Police in Florida at first did not “think” Zimmerman was truly at fault for killing Martin.)

    But I was sure the details were such that the jury thought the guy probably did not commit the crime charged, and that part of the story came out OK. Both driver and victim were hurt terribly, the Dershowitzes suffered terribly, and all that is sad; that’s all I really got from it except that I’m even more cautious of bicycles than before reading it.

  3. As one who has at times used my bike to commute, in what has been known as one of the most dangerous counties to do so, Broward County Florida, this post and the articles it links to are quite interesting to me, yet also frustrating.

    Even through THREE articles I cannot ascertain whether the truck was passing the bike, as has been posited, or if (more likely but unconfirmed) the bike was passing the truck. In it’s blind spot. How much room did the bike have, was it in a bike lane and did the road narrow ending the lane or was it all one wide street the bike(s) and truck(s) share? These are really really important and basic facts that make the difference, that set the scene, that with their absence leave me a bit mystified. As with the stated fact that the driver stopped “20 feet” from the scene and nobody ran up the the cab grabbed hold of the fender or a handle and rapped on the window to alert the driver!? WTF NYC?? Did they just stand around screaming? Weird. (Unless of course he only briefly stopped, as trucks often do, for all sorts of reasons…

    After a whole TRIAL a YEAR LATER these facts can’t make it into print somewhere? Again, kinda weird. And frustrating.

    What I do know is that trucks are freaking DANGEROUS and I am extremely careful passing one in a CAR, especially in their blind spot. I can’t help but think that NO tourist would do this, and that familiarity with the terrain bred a a form of contempt for the laws of physics. In the NY Daily News comments the concept of bikes routinely using or rather sharing one lane with the rest of traffic was raised, (and I coincidentally learned a new word “pedaphile,” LOL.) If there’s a bike lane, fine. And cars must yield. But where there’s not – I see so many bikes getting over to the side where there’s NOT enough room for car and bike, and am continually amazed there are so few bike crushings. When I ride in one lane, I ride IN THE MIDDLE. As is, incidentally, the only lawful way to ride, unless I were riding next to a bike, which in most states I could do but next to only one bike. Sure cars get mad but so the frack what? I remain alive. I pull over when I can, where they can’t run me over or sideswipe me, and go my merry way. When I must use one lane. I know how cars drive with bikes. Getting complacent in a city with strict rules means nothing to the circumstance where car and bike collide (car or truck and unprotected person,) it’s like rock and scissors.

    And, anecdotally, having just hit a deer with my pickup truck, I barely heard the faint crunch and that’s only because it was directly transferred through the bumper to the frame, it was 5 feet in front of me, I was listening for it, and there were no other sounds to distract me, and the mild bump I felt from the tires was because I was doing 50. (It was unavoidable, deer killed instantly and not any damage to my truck.) I can understand perfectly how the driver could have been perfectly unaware of the tragedy behind him, and would NOT have felt anything through the structure of the truck. I might cite shame on the Dershowitzes for exerting pressure, if I thought there was any evidence they were capable of feeling any, on the other hand I can’t imagine being in that situation but from without I can only feel sad to observe that vengeance leads only to more grief.


    AND, to Jill and all the fauxrage over her schooling for her extremely long OT post, I am an infrequent contributor to these threads and am unaware of any history between Jill and Mike Spindell, but I gotta say Mike has a very valid point that Jill should take at face value if she could rather than react to the personality and miss the message. Sure she’s “free” to post something ‘important,’ or a screed, or whatever, but equally I am free to ignore it and ignore everything else she types. Word to the Wise – after two paragraphs of quotes WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION it’s all blah blah blah to me. To me and to lots of others who are accustomed to the most useful feature of the interweb: the hyperlink, WTF? I can Google the keywords of the study that has, incidentally, made the news already, I don’t need to read a long post that I have no idea how accurate it is. Sorry – but really – why should I take all that time to read to then have to double check everything, by looking it up myself? Please. Two or three paragraphs and LINKS – that’s a useful OT post. More than that is kinda hijack-ey. Just like obscenity, we all know it when we see it. Especially because the issue of drone attacks IS so important – an efficient and focused and condensed diversion is the best. Like a drone attack itself eh?

  4. It’s amazing to me that a post critical of systematic terrorism perpetrated by the United States is simply dismissed as the flawed product of an entitled, purist mindset.

    While JT called out recent prolific posters earlier today, as I think back across the years to those who have been most prescient and principled in their comments I think of contributors like Jill. By declining to create a dedicated forum for information like Jill posted here and others have posted elsewhere, JT is tacitly endorsing placement wherever required.

  5. P Smith, I think Dershowitz would influence the George Zimmerman case in Florida if he thought he could. He has fallen silent after accusing Corey of committing a crime by not filling her affidavit of probable cause with defense fantasies about George’s nose.

  6. I have no knowledge of the case and no opinion. But regarding this point:

    >> The defense accused Dershowitz of exerting pressure
    >> on the prosecutors to bring the case

    That’s unsurprising. Dershowitz has a history of improperly trying to influence people and cases (re: Norman Finkelstein and DePaul University).

  7. I had a terrible brother-in-law. It wasn’t my fault. It scares me whenever I see a bicycle in heavy traffic, now. 🙁

  8. Sincere Prof. Dershowitz prominently figures in this blog, I went to Wikipedia for more information.
    More particularly, his position with regard to Israel’s policies as he has written books on the subject, taking down such Israel critics as Noam Chomsky, etc.
    From Wikipedia:

    “Finkelstein released a book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, where the second part is about The Case for Israel***. Although repeatedly being approached by third parties to debate the book Dershowitz refused on the ground that he had a “longstanding policy against debating Holocaust deniers, revisionists, trivializers or minimizers” .[5]

    Former Harvard president Derek Bok exonerated Dershowitz of the plagiarism charges.[6] Dr. Frank Menetrez looked into Finkelstein’s claims and in his 26-page study entitled Dershowitz v. Finkelstein: who’s right and who’s wrong reaches the conclusion that Dershowitz is indeed guilty of fraud and plagiarism.[7] In a later article commenting on the case Menetrez writes “(…) the book Dershowitz was accused of plagiarizing contained 20 identical errors in a mere 21 lines of text. (…) There was no way Dershowitz could have independently generated exactly those 20 errors—he must have copied them.” [8]

    Michael Neumann, a professor of philosophy at Trent University, wrote a book entitled The Case Against Israel published by CounterPunch in response to The Case for Israel.[9]”
    ***by Dershowitz

    Professor Dershowitz is the subject of a long article in Wikipedia, and several of his books etc are subjects of articles there too. The excerpt I cited was drawn from the article on “The Case for Israel”. I chose that simply because I was in fairness looking for support for Israel’s case, in contrast to the criticism I have read previoously in Chomsky’s writings. I felt the accusation of plagiarism weakened his image considerably IMHO.
    And thus chose to cite it. The article itself on the book is very meager otherwise and offers no quotable excerpts. To for example see how he lay up the structure of the book provides little of interest as to its value in the contents.

  9. OT OT OT

    Just to inject a little reality out of Wikipedia. Let’s take a look at a Democratic progressive in the House.

    He was the guy who in February, ie BEFORE the BP spill from Deep Water Horizon, WARNED that the rig was operating without the safety it was supposed to have.
    Watching the Gulf oil operations made him a strong candidate for Sec. for Interior under Obama.

    He is the kind of people we will need. Read his full record, the parts which interest you.

    Here’s my selection from Wikipedia
    His name, Raúl Grijalva, from Arizona.

    “Grijalva has gained prominence as an outspoken critic of what he calls lax federal oversight of the oil drilling industry, and in late 2010 launched an investigation of the White House’s handling of the Horizon spill and its aftermath. That investigation revealed that scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and elsewhere in the federal government had voiced concerns about drafts of an official government report on the cause and scope of the spill, but were overruled because the report was meant as a “communications document”.[33]

    In 2010, he introduced H.R. 5355 to eliminate the cap on oil company liability for the cost of environmental cleanups of spills.[34]”

    If nothing else, check out the politicians you are considering.

    BTW, Scott Brown is leading the Dem Villain List for the Senate. Warrren’s opponent. Obviously written by the Republican team.

    Maybe Grijalves is also written in his favor. But right now he is number 4 on the Progressive Heroes list for the House.

    So let’s not forget we need good people in Congress.

    “Your House Hero – Raul Grijalva – is currently in 4th place. Help your House Hero win! Get out the vote on on Facebook, Twitter, or send a personal note to friends, family, and co-workers and include the customized link below. When people click the link, your House Hero will pre-selected to make it easier to cast their vote.”


  10. Mespo, I’m with you on the assessment of Dershowitz, but of course I’m very sorry his sister-in-law was run over by a truck. The jury probably voted a I would have voted, presented with all the evidence, because it would be awfully hard for me to believe that the driver of a big truck had realized he just ran someone over, after not seeing a pedestrian near him.

    One time I thought I had smashed a woman in a wheel chair! I heard a metal clashing sound as I turned right, slowly, out of the parking lot, with a green light; she was where there was no handicapped access and she was in the street, apparently coming up quickly on my right. I stopped, ran out of the car, and ran up to her to offer first aid and to call 911. As I dialed 911 and let them know my location, I arrived at her chair, and she yelled at me, not for hitting her, but for getting in front of her as she rolled along. I said, “Miss, are you all right, I hit you, I’m sorry, are you OK? I’m calling for help!” She began to yell at me and cuss me out for being in her way and I was disoriented and tried to follow her, confessing repeatedly, until she shouted, “NO YOU DIDN’T — GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!” and she left in a huff. I stood there in shock for a minute and then told the 911 folks that she denied being hit. They said, “OK then no problem.” If I could think I hit a woman I didn’t hit, then why couldn’t a TRUCK DRIVER not think he ran over someone he HAD?

    BTW I told a friend of mine that I hit an old woman in a wheel chair but she insisted I hadn’t, and my friend said: “Girl, you have used up all the good luck you could have for a whole life-time and a half; give up EVER having a minute’s good luck again!”


  11. Some of the NPR folks prefer that the trains run on time. No exceptions.

    Alan Dershowitz does not exactly attract a whole lot of sympathy, empathy, or even envy.

  12. Perhaps I should clarify. I give respect to Prof. Turley by being here. But that does not mean I have to agree with him, nor praise him etc.

    You are not asking for respect. You are asking for agreement—or I’ll abuse you, which is your threat.

    Thus your ad hominems to Jill via Moderator.

    You are definitely smart enough to see the difference, but admit it?, perhaps not.

  13. idealist:

    “BTW, when was it said, or even practiced, that we must respect a blog author, even Turley?”


    You don’t HAVE to respect anybody. It’s just that you get what you give.

Comments are closed.