Shomrim Six: No Plea Deal!


Re-post: Sent in by one of the Shomrim Six

Two Three Four  Five years ago on October 5, 2009  (17 Tishrei, 5770 which was in middle of Sukkot) the Shomrim Six started to receive notices from their attorneys about possibly taking a plea deal.

The following demonstrates the seriousness of what the Shomrim Six were about to face.

Names were redacted to protect the senders identity.

from:        [Attorneys email address]
to:              [One of the Shomrim Six]
date:         Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 12:06 PM
subject:   Plea offer


I got a call from the Assistant District handling this case.  It is my obligation to convey the offer to you.  He offered you an “A” Misdemeanor and probation (3 years).  I told him I would convey the offer to you and get back to him.  He is going to call all the lawyers on the case and extend plea offers.  An “A” Misdemeanor is a crime that will stay on your record forever (under current NY law.  It is  not as bad as a Felony, that carries possible higher sentences.  We don’t know which judge will preside over your trial, but some judges give jail time for felony convictions, even if it’s your first offense.  If you are not a citizen, there are possible immigration consequences with any criminal conviction, but more so if it’s a felony.

While I do not think the DA has an especially strong case against you (because you are not on the video doing anything illegal), and I am an experienced trial lawyer, I cannot control the outcome of a trial or guarantee you a win.  Think about the plea offer.  Call me or e-mail me if you have any questions, or wish to discuss this, and then let me know whether or not you are interested in the plea offer.

[Attorneys Information]

The Reply:

from:             [One of the Shomrim Six]
to:                   [Attorneys email address]
date:              Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 8:30 AM
subject:         Re: Plea offer

Thanks for keeping me updated.
I understand fully what you’re saying but…

We will NOT be making any plea deals.
We are NOT guilty of any crime.

With G-ds help everything will be alright and justice will prevail.

Tracht Gut Vet Zayn Gut! Think good it will be good!


Only a few short hours after the Shomrim Six received their plea deals from their attorneys, and before having a chance to respond, some in the Crown Heights community (Shmira members and CHJCC members) were already spreading the word on how the Shomrim were offered a plea deal. The same thing happened a few days later when the deal was turned down.

It goes without saying that many in the community had been getting an inside scoop (play by play) on the going ons in the Districts Attorneys office.

It goes without saying that many knew in advance, before the Shomrim Six knew, that the case would be definitely going to trial and that the Shomrim Six in the hands of a jury of 12 strangers would be facing 15 plus years in prison if g-d forbid convicted.

What did these people do to stop the coming blood libel? Absolutely nothing!

Also Read:
One Phone Call To Save Six Jews

CHJCC,Mendel Hendels, Elie Poltorak, Paul Huebners, the Shmira Failed Messira/Blood Libel


from:        [Attorneys email address]
to:              [One of the Shomrim Six]
date:         Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 1:56 PM
subject:   New plea offer, and Motion I just submitted to Prosecutor

The prosecutor has made a new plea offer.  It still starts with a plea to a violation (not a crime) – section 240.20 of the penal law (disorderly conduct).  The sentence would be a conditional discharge on condition that you attend (and pay for) an anger management program.  If it’s completed within three months, and you have proof of attendance, then the plea will be withdrawn and you will be allowed to get an ACD – adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (case adjourned for six months and then dismissed).  There will be an order of protection issued for the three months of the anger management program, and for the six months from the date the ACD is granted until the case is dismissed.

I have attached a copy of the relevant ACD statute and bolded and underlined the last paragraph that explains that an ACD is a dismissal, etc.

While I think we should win this case, and you should be acquitted of all charges, there is absolutely no guarantee that the jury will do the right thing, and you could wind up with a felony conviction.  If a witness lies at trial, and the jury believes him, that is not something that can be appealed.

Please call or e-mail if you wish to discuss this further.

The Reply:

from:             [One of the Shomrim Six]
to:                   [Attorneys email address]
date:              Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 3:01 PM
subject:         Re: New plea offer, and Motion I just submitted to Prosecutor


No way! No plea!

This is not about the punishment. This is about truth and justice.

Even if they would offer me a plea of writing “i will not go to 749 ever” 100 times, I would not take it.

It will all be good.
Tracht Gut Vet Zayn Gut!  Think good it will be good!


Excerpt from Matthew Shaer – Among Righteous Men

Chapter 12 – Pages 168 – 170

They made a motley crew, the six of them—all weathered Brooklyn court hands, brought together under one roof for one of the strangest cases of their careers. Among the bunch were two privately hired attorneys: Tedd Blecher, a mustachioed attorney in his fifties, with frantic, uncombed hair and a fondness for baggy suits, had been hired to represent Ben Lifshitz. Gadi Hershkop, for his part, had obtained the services of Israel Fried, a smart young litigator who had started out in the Brooklyn DA’s office and now handled plenty of cases involving the Lubavitch community. An interesting contrast, Izzy and Blecher­ — one snappily attired and brash, the other slow-moving and a little unkempt but deceptively caustic.

      The rest of the defense team was 18B. There was David, the oldest and most experienced attorney in the courtroom, representing Chaim Hershkop, and then there was Mitchell Salaway, exceptionally tall and lanky, always fiddling with the thin metal chain that connected his wallet to his belt. (In 2010, Salaway would be named by the New York Post as one of twenty-one attorneys in New York City who had somehow pocketed more than $156,000 a year on assigned counsel work alone.) A reserved, well-coiffed lawyer named Steven Williams— whom David knew by reputation—had been assigned to Pinson, and Susan Mitchell, whose office was located not far from David’s, on Court Street, was representing Slatter.

      As the trial date drew closer, the defense team met several times as a group. The video was the thing, they agreed—it was the video that would hang their clients, or it was the video that had the power to get them off the hook. David had watched the footage shot by Beliniski several times and had become convinced that even though the prose­cution had introduced the evidence, the defense could make it work in their favor. Sure, there were plenty of red-faced Shomrim members to be seen—plenty of grimacing and jostling and shouting—but the fact was that at no point did anything occur on tape that might be con­strued, however generously, as gang assault. In fact, the opposite was true: a reasonable member of the jury would likely watch the video and see that it was the Shomrim who were surrounded by bochurim. They would see Ben Lifshitz, screaming out for his glasses; they would see skinny Yehuda Hershkop, standing on a bed, leaning away from the fray, as if he was worried that he was about to get smacked.

     Yes, the video would work for all of them and especially for David, whose client was alleged to have committed his part of the gang assault after the video camera was turned off. “In this day and age,” she’d said, “if they don’t have you on tape, it didn’t happen, right?” And the rest of the team had nodded. Of course, they hadn’t thought the case would ever get that far. In the months before the Shomrim case hit the docket at Brooklyn Supreme Court, the DA had repeat­edly offered the defendants a deal: misdemeanor assault instead of felony gang assault, a sentence of probation, and maybe some anger- management classes. Save us both some time, they said, which made sense to David. A plea would save Chaim Hershkop the hassle of taking off work, save him the possibility of getting tossed in jail for a year or two, save him the trouble of seeing his name—and the name of his family—dragged through the secular press.

      But it had been impossible. Hershkop had refused. They all had. On a practical level, if the Shomrim members took the deal, they would leave themselves more vulnerable to the civil lawsuit. Huebner didn’t necessarily need a plea or a guilty verdict to win that suit— the burden of proof was very different in civil court than it was in criminal—but if the judge required the Shomrim guys to allocute before the plea was accepted, Huebner could certainly enter that allocution as evidence in the civil suit.

      Yet more than the civil lawsuit, which was a long shot anyway, was the not insubstantial matter of pride. Once the trial had concluded—once a verdict had been rendered, one way or another— Chaim Hershkop would have to return to Crown Heights, and he wanted to be able to return a vindicated man. He wanted full absolu­tion—it would not be enough to tell friends and family that he had “only” been saddled with a minor assault rap. In fact, in some ways, Hershkop believed that it would be better to go to prison with his head held high than it would be to utter a false confession for something he never did. No, he didn’t want the deal, thank you very much. He would leave his fate in the hands of a jury and God.

      And so on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, in a room on the second floor of the Brooklyn Supreme Court, jury selection began in the case of The People of New York v. Zalman Pinson, Benjamin Lifshitz, Nechemia Slatter, Chaim Hershkop, Yehuda Hershkop, and Gedalia Schneur Hershkop.

It would be two long months before a verdict was read.



5 Responses to “Shomrim Six: No Plea Deal!”

  1. The Knew Says:

    Of Course they, Chanina Sperlin, Mendel Hendel, Elie Poltorak, Paul levi Huebner and the rest of the CHJCC/Shmira gang knew what was happening every step of the way.

    They were organizing the whole thing.

    Why would they help stop something they were working on so hard to make happen?

    It’s also important to note that when the trial started the above mentioned names, were saying “Why are they (the shomrim six) complaining, WE offered them a plea deal, they should have taken the deal?”

  2. WhoIsShmira? Says:

    To all the Mosserim and evil doers out there…

    You can pound your chest till it’s black and blue; you can swing a cow over your head; you can fast until you forget what food ever tasted like; you can even go to Mikva every day and 3 times before Yom Kipper; you might even feel like a big humanitarian by inviting a few [mishichistim] guest over…

    “Repentance and the Day of Atonement atone only for sins which are committed against G-d. Sins which are committed against one’s fellow man are never atoned for until one has paid any necessary fines to the person against whom one sinned, and discussed it with him.”

    ב] ומה היא התשובה?–הוא שיעזוב החוטא חטאו, ויסירנו ממחשבתו ויגמור בליבו שלא יעשהו עוד, שנאמר “יעזוב רשע דרכו, ואיש אוון מחשבותיו” (ישעיהו נה,ז). וכן יתנחם על שעבר, שנאמר “כי אחרי שובי, ניחמתי, ואחרי היוודעי, ספקתי על ירך” (ירמיהו לא,יח); ויעיד עליו יודע תעלומות שלא ישוב לזה החטא לעולם, שנאמר “ולא נאמר עוד אלוהינו, למעשה ידינו–אשר בך, ירוחם יתום” (הושע יד,ד). וצריך להתוודות בשפתיו, ולומר עניינות אלו שגמר בליבו.

    2) What exactly is repentance? Repentance involves forsaking sins and removing such thoughts from one’s way of thinking and resolving firmly never to do it again, as it is written, “Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord”. One should also be remorseful over what one has done, as it is written, “For after I had returned away I repented”. One also has to testify to God that one will never return to that sin, as it is written, “…nor shall we say any more to the work of our hands”. All of these three declarations have to be made out loud.

    ג] כל המתוודה בדברים, ולא גמר בליבו לעזוב–הרי זה דומה לטובל, ושרץ בידו, שאין הטבילה מועלת, עד שישליך השרץ; וכן הוא אומר “ומודה ועוזב, ירוחם”(משלי כח,יג). וצריך לפרוט את החטא, שנאמר “אנא, חטא העם הזה חטאה גדולה, ויעשו להם, אלוהי זהב”( שמות לב,לא)

    3) Anybody who follows this procedure but does not resolve in his heart never to do it again is like someone who ritual immerses himself [in a mikveh] while holding a defiling object in his hand, for in that case the ritual immersion is useless. It has been said, “Whoever confesses and forsakes his sins shall have mercy”. One also has to detail one’s sin, for it is written, “Oh, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made for themselves gods of gold”.

    ו] ואלו שאין להן חלק לעולם הבא, אלא נכרתין ואובדין, ונידונין על גודל רשעם וחטאתם, לעולם ולעולמי עולמים: המינים, והאפיקורוסים, והכופרים בתורה, והכופרים בתחיית המתים, והכופרים בביאת הגואל, והמשומדים, ומחטיאי הרבים, והפורשים מדרכי ציבור, והעושה עבירות ביד רמה בפרהסיה כיהויקים, והמוסרים, ומטילי אימה על הציבור שלא לשם שמיים, ושופכי דמים, ובעלי לשון הרע, והמושך עורלתו.

    6) The following types of people have no share in the World to Come, and are cut off, destroyed and excommunicated for ever on account of their very great sins and wickedness: An infidel; a heretic; one who denies the Torah; one who denies that there will be a Resurrection; one who denies that there will be a Redemption; one who converts from Judaism; one who causes a lot of people to sin; one who withdraws from communal ways; one who publicly sins in a defiant way like Jehoiakim did; an informer [against Jews]; one who instills fear in the congregation but not in the Name of God; a murderer; one who relates loshan ho’rah; and one who pulls back his foreskin [in order to cover his brit milah].

    Because of your viscous Mesira 7 members of Anash (6 of who are Shomrim members) must show up to court, only 3 days before Yom Kipper to deal with your false charges. That is something Yom Kipper will not forgive for you [EVER]!

  3. Observer Says:

    Not so many people left who are ready to fight for whats right, even if that means putting themselves in harms way.

    I’m glad to see there are still a few good men left in this world.

  4. 1BIGCholent Says:

    I still think they should have taken the deals ;)

  5. WE Says:

    One group -Shomrim – uses WE to present unity/teamwork, love etc…

    Whole the other group – shmira mesira/cop/shsp – uses the WE to present divisiveness, destruction and for Mesira.

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