Norwalk v. Doutel - Hearing #2 (08/22/2011)
As court opens at Norwalk's GA 20 in front of Judge Maureen Dennis, Attorney Baird is continuing the battle against two major hurdles that are standing in front of Mr. Doutel's right to possess firearms and retrieve his property from the Norwalk Police Department.
- Issue 1 - Judge Hudock's temporary order as condition of release to not possess firearms.
- Issue 2 - A protective order issued when State's Attorney Lockshier changed the charge to Harrassment in the Second Degree.
Things start with Attorney Koffsky, who is present on behalf of Dr. Staw and his associates, asking for his clients to testify first since they have a scheduling conflict and withdrawing his appearance, leaving Dr. Staw and his associates to be represented by State's Attorney Lockshier. Why the doctor needed his own attorney present in a case where he was simply a complaintant is an interesting question.
(Reference Transcript, Sheet 3, Line 17)
Dr. Staw testifies that Mr. Doutel has carried his firearm into the office 'several' (more than two) times but that he can only remember the last visit (on February 7th, 2011) in detail. Apparently, Mr. Doutel bringing a firearm before this visit was not memorable to Dr. Staw.
Dr. Staw proceeds to describe the visit and that the firearm was hidden underneath Mr. Doutel's hat which was on the counter. He indicates that he could not recall who moved the hat, but that the hat was moved and he observed the firearm. Dr. Staw indicates there is limited conversation about the firearm, mostly consisting of Mr. Doutel explaining that he has a pistol permit and that it is legal for him to carry it. Dr. Staw admits that Mr. Doutel never picks up the firearm in front of him, a core element of brandishing being to have the firearm in your hand. He also admits that Mr. Doutel did not threaten anyone that day.
Dr. Staw admits that his office had no policy against carrying firearms in his office, even after knowing that Mr. Doutel had carried his firearm into the office on at least two occassions prior to February 7th, 2011. He even indicates that there was never discussion about making such a policy, nor did he ever tell Mr. Doutel to not bring the firearm into the office again.
Dr. Staw admits that he never asked for a protective order against Mr. Doutel and that he is not aware of anyone from his office requesting one. He also indicates that he is not aware of any incidents of Mr. Doutel coming to the office after his arrest.
Dr. Staw indicates that he has brought records subpoenaed by Attorney Baird that contain his test results and a receipt from his fax machine indicating that the records were sent to Dr. Altman (Mr. Doutel's surgeon) on February 14th, 2011 at 4:55 pm.
When asked if Dr. Staw had billed Mrs. Doutel's insurance company, he answers that he is not a 'participating physician' in her insurance company because he is in litigation with them. He admits to submitting the bill to them anyway and then billing Mr. Doutel as well for these tests.
Dr. Staw admits that this litigation is due to the Federal felony conviction he has for insurance fraud that he plead guilty to. He then indicates that he is aware that Mr. Doutel is aware of his felony conviction.
Dr. Staw then indicates that he made a call to 'someone' at Dr. Altman's office and indicated that Mr. Doutel would not be cleared for surgery due to abnormal test results. Dr. Staw cannot remember exactly when this phone call was made, who he spoke to, or even if it was a doctor he spoke to.
Dr. Staw claims he did not call Mr. Doutel "unstable", and admits that neither Sandy Staw or Jeanine Roy ever complained about Mr. Doutel's behavior prior to listening to the Febraury 15th, 2011 voicemail.
(Reference Transcript, Sheet 27, Line 4)
Sandy Staw testifies that she has known Mr. Doutel as a patient of her husband's medical practice for at least a year, although she cannot remember how long exactly. In that time, she admits she has never seen Mr. Doutel bring a firearm into the office. She explains that they only way she knows that Mr. Doutel carries a firearm into the office is that Dr. Staw has told her so.
Sandy Staw testifies that she told Officer Zwickler that she feared Mr. Doutel at the time that Officer Zwickler visited the office to take their complaint, but not at any time afterwards. She also admits that she only found out about the protective order against Mr. Doutel when a copy of the order arrived at the medical office.
Sandy Staw is unaware of Mr. Doutel on the premises of the medical office after his last appointment on February 7th, 2011. She admits that since the voicemail, her concerns about Mr. Doutel have not increased. She admits that she has never contacted police regarding Mr. Doutel, that there has never been a policy about not carrying firearms, and had never told Mr. Doutel to not bring his firearm to office visits.
Attorney Baird makes this solid point during her response to an objection by the State's Attorney Lockshier:
Because after all, this is a harassment case, but the order doesn't even say do not assault, threaten, abuse or harass.
Indeed, in the conditions of release, there was not a 'no contact' order which is later confirmed by the court that the only terms are that Mr. Doutel not possess firearms and that he not apply for a pistol permit. Even the protective order requested months later contained no such order.
Despite Sandy Staw claiming to police that Mr. Doutel seemed 'unstable', she admits under examination by Attorney Baird that she never raised the issue to Dr. Staw or to police previously, nor did she ever indicate to Mr. Doutel that he was no longer welcome in the practice.
While Sandy Staw is on the witness stand, Judge Dennis asks a very odd question:
Let me just ask you something. The 83 East Avenue in Norwalk; would you describe that as a dangerous neighborhood?
It is not clear what Judge Dennis is getting at here, but it could be reasoned that the judge is displaying a bias against the carry of firearms with the belief that the only time someone would need to carry a firearm is in a bad neighborhood.
(Reference Transcript, Sheet 44, Line 23)
Jeanine Roy starts her testimony by acknowledging that her first contact with Mr. Doutel is in May, 2007 in her capacity as a receptionist. In that time, she admits that she has never seen Mr. Doutel bring a firearm into the medical office. She admits that she only knows that Mr. Doutel carries a firearm because Dr. Staw told her so. She also confirms there is no policy against carrying a firearm in the office.
Jeanine Roy testifies that she was the person who first heard the voicemail. She then played it for Sandy Staw, and then they both played it for Dr. Staw. Sometime after this, she says, the police arrived.
Jeanine Roy says she never told Officer Zwickler that Mr. Doutel brandishes a firearm and that made no written statements against Mr. Doutel. She does indicate that she told the police that she believed Mr. Doutel brandished a firearm to Dr. Staw because Dr. Staw had seen it. Jeanine Roy clearly doesn't understand the word 'brandishing', or else Dr. Staw was giving her false information about his interactions with Mr. Doutel. Officer Zwickler should have cleared up the difference between possessing a firearm and brandishing a firearm for her.
Jeanine Roy indicates that she never asked for a protective order against Mr. Doutel, and that she had no contact with Mr. Doutel after his last office visit on February 7th, 2011. She states that she had previously put a note on Mr. Doutel's record that he was 'excited' on a phone call May 30th, 2007, but that she did not complain to Dr. Staw. She claims she considers Mr. Doutel an 'excitable person', but that she had not voiced a concern to anyone until February 16th, 2011 when she receieved the voicemail.
- Defendant's motion to vacate - 05/23/2011
- Doutel's second status update hearing - 07/05/2011
- Doutel's first status update hearing - 05/20/2011
- Doutel's Motion to Dismiss (Memorandum) - 07/13/2012
- Defendant's motion for a speedy trial
- Defendant's motion for Removal of Protective Order
- USAO's report on Dr. Igal Staw's sentencing for health care fraud
- Officer Jared Zwickler's incident report
- Defendant's motion to disclose police report - 04/05/2012
- Doutel's Motion to Dismiss - 07/13/2012
- Denial of Mr. Doutel's Motion to Dismiss
- Doutel's fourth status update hearing - 07/05/2012
- Prosecution's motion to lower charge to Creating a Public Disturbance
- HHS decision against Dr. Igal Staw based on Felony Health Care Fraud conviction
- Doutel's third status update hearing - 05/07/2012
- Doutel's first hearing - 07/27/2011
- Doutel's second hearing - 08/22/2011
- Norwalk's motion to return defendant's property
- Voicemail recording with captions
- Vinnie Penn interview about Norwalk v Doutel and background check fees