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New York Judge Finds Cop-Killer’s Parole Board In Contempt For Reading Letters From Cops

Judge Victor Grossman appointed a new parole board after the current board denied cop-killer John Ruzas' parole request.

Canastota, NY – A state judge has found a parole board in contempt for considering letters from police officers in their decision to deny parole to cop-killer John Ruzas.

Hudson Valley Judge Victor Grossman said at a hearing earlier this month that consideration of the letters violated the law, according to Syracuse.com.

Judge Grossman also appointed a new parole board to consider Ruzas’ freedom, and forbid the previous board members from participating in the new panel.

He said that if the parole board members wouldn’t uphold the law, then they should resign or be fired. Judge Grossman said that parole boards routinely disregarded the law “because they could get away with it.”

New York State Trooper Emerson Dillon had stopped Ruzas’ vehicle on October 24, 1974, on the New York State Thruway near Canastota. At the time of the stop, Trooper Dillon was not aware that Ruzas had just robbed a DeWitt jewelry store.

Ruzas opened fire on Trooper Dillon, and shot him in the heart. At the time, he was on probation for two previous robberies.

He is now 74-years-old and has served 43 years in prison. He was sentenced to 25 to life in prison; there was no sentence of life in prison without parole at that time. Ruzas has been denied parole for almost 20 years.

Anyone has a right to send a letter to a parole board about a prisoner. Most prison web sites have automated forms online for people to fill out, either supporting or opposing an inmate’s release.

Troopers from the New York State Police have made public appeals for these cop-killers to remain behind bars.

The state troopers’ union was angry and called the judge’s ruling “ignorant, insulting, and inexcusable.”

Thomas H. Mungeer, Police Benevolent Association President, said, “Shame on Judge Grossman. This bush-league judicial decision is a slap in the face to the children of Trooper Dillon and the entire New York State Trooper family.”

“How can this judge say that Troopers who risk their lives to serve and protect the public and endure nightmarish moments together aren’t considered family and members of the community who are harmed by the crime?”

When Trooper Dillon was murdered, he was survived by his wife and their six children.

After her husband’s murder, June Dillon created the Dillon Fund, which helped families of fallen state troopers immediately after their death. Trooper Dillon’s wife June never missed one of Ruzas’ parole board hearings until 2013, when she died.

That marked the 12th time that Ruzas had been considered for parole. Friends, family, and PBA members saw it as their responsibility to pick up where his wife had left off.

Judge Grossman noted that Ruzas was almost 75-years-old, is hard of hearing, and needs a cane or wheelchair to get around.

The judge also said that Ruzas had acknowledged guilt and expressed remorse, which contradicts the latest parole board’s summary prior to its denial.

In that summary, the parole board noted that “Overall, your interview expressed shallow remorse whereby you did so only when prodded.”

In his decision, he said that he wasn’t instructing the parole board to ignore community opposition to Ruzas’ release. He said that “only those people defined under law — namely, the victim’s family and representatives — could be considered by a parole board.”

The PBA said that the judge’s order for yet another parole board hearing was “a cruel and devastating reminder” to Trooper Dillon’s family.

In a press release, the PBA said, “The children of Trooper Dillon — who are devastated by this ruling — cannot understand why a judge seems more concerned about a murderer than the troopers and their families who have supported the Dillon family over the years.”

GinnyReed - October Sun, 2017

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