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Court Hearing: Should Charlie Tan be tried for murder again?

WHECRochesterShould Charlie Tan be tried again for killing his dad? It is now up to a panel of judges.

Let’s set the table for you. Charlie Tan was charged with killing is father, Jim Tan. After a three week trial and seven days of deliberation, he got a hung jury and then a mistrial. Then a month later, the judge dismissed the case.

So Wednesday, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office was in court asking judges to overturn that decision. The DA’s second in command Kelly Wolford told the judges the dismissal of the case was a mistake and they can make it right.

Kelly Wolford, 1st Assistant District Attorney: I understand that our right to appeal is very limited. But the importance of what occurred here and how it occurred lends itself to a situation where this court should find a way to get to the heart of this issue.

And that’s what I asked Wolford about outside court.

Brean: Kelly, can you put into laymen’s terms for us and our viewers, what it is you want these judge’s to do?

Kelly Wolford, 1st Assistant District Attorney: Sure. We want the judges to get to what the heart of this is which is the people presented significant proof that Charles Tan was guilty of killing his father.

Therefore, overturn the dismissal and try him again. Charlie Tan’s defense lawyer, Brian DeCarolis, reminded the court that Charlie Tan’s case was thrown out before a verdict and in New York that’s “unappealable.”

Brian Decarolis, Charlie Tan’s attorney: The statutory language of the New York State Criminal Procedure Law precludes them to appeal this.

I spoke with DeCarolis after the hearing.

Brean: Brian why don’t you explain why you don’t think there should be another trial.

Brian Decarolis, Charlie Tan’s attorney: Sure. Very simple. Despite the people’s efforts to couch this any differently this is a trial order of dismissal before the rendition of a verdict.

Brean: I’m talking about everyday language. Why should there not be another trial?

Decarolis: There shouldn’t be another trial because it’s not allowed under the law.

Brean: Simple as that.

Decarolis: Simple as that.

I watched the hearing with attorney Peter Pullano. He’s argued in front of this appellate court a hundred times.

Brean: What did you take away from it?

Peter Pullano, attorney: First off we’ve got what they call a very hot bench here. These judges were extremely up on the law and the facts of the case.

And we saw that with the judges’s questions. Here is one example:

Kelly Wolford, 1st Assistant District Attorney: This court should find a way to get to the heart of this issue.

Honorable Gerald J. Whalen: The difficulty with that argument I think counsel, is that, as you know, we read these statutes. They’re strictly construed.

Wolford: Absolutely.

Whalen: And that means we don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

Brean: If you had to bet on this, do you think the court is going to agree with the People or with Charlie Tan and his lawyers?

Pullano: My own opinion, and I’m not wearing a robe, would be that given the way the statute is written and this case was decided, I think that ultimately it will not be an appealable decision and therefore Judge Piampiano’s decision would stand.

I was told today the earliest we’ll see a decision on this case is three weeks from Friday — that’s March 24.


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