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