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July 10, 2014

Pacherille vows to appeal lawsuit dismissal

Anthony Pacherille Sr., whose lawsuit against an Otsego County judge has been dismissed, said Friday that he will appeal the federal court ruling. 

Last year, Pacherille Sr. filed a suit against Otsego County and its Judge Brian Burns and the Oneonta Police Department, maintaining that his First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested after he went to the judge’s home in 2011.

On Thursday, Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany granted Burns’ motion to dismiss the case. Previously, the parties had stipulated to dismissing the county and the city of Oneonta and its police department as defendants, according to a copy of Sharpe’s decision.

The lawsuit stemmed from the conviction of Pacherille’s son, Anthony Pacherille Jr., who is serving an 11-year sentence in prison for shooting a Cooperstown Central School classmate in April 2010. Pacherille Jr., who was 16 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced by Burns as an adult, a decision that Pacherille Sr. has vigorously opposed.

On April 29, 2011, Pacherille Jr. pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder in the shooting incident. While making plans to protest Burns’ decision, Pacherille Sr. went to the judge’s Oneonta residence Aug. 2, 2011, the court document said.

Burns, citing fear for himself and his family, filed a complaint Aug. 5, 2011, with Oneonta police, and Pacherille Sr. was charged with second-degree harassment. That charge was dismissed in 2012.

In the federal lawsuit, Burns argued that he was entitled to absolute judicial immunity or qualified immunity and that Pacherille Sr.’s complaint must be dismissed, and Sharpe agreed.

On Friday Pacherille said Sharpe used a “very expansive definition” of immunity in reviewing the case. Pacherille Sr. said he and and his attorney, Frank Policelli, had expected at the time they filed the suit in federal court that it would be dismissed and they planned to appeal such a ruling.

Policelli didn’t return messages left early Friday afternoon at numbers for his office and home telephones.

There was no answer at a home number for Burns.

In addition to filing an appeal of Sharpe’s decision, Pacherille Sr. said most of his complaints against Burns will be heard in a pending review by the state Court of Appeals of his son’s case.

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