Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 24th, 2011

Judge Harold Bauman incident sparks new law

Thanks to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther a new law will be on the books that establishes the crime of assault on a judge. State Senator John Bonacic carried the bill in the State Senate.

The call for this much needed legislation came out of an incident back in 2009 when Judge Harold Bauman of Liberty was assaulted after an arraignment of a defendant was charged with a misdemeanor in his courtroom.

Until now, assault on a police officer, peace officer, EMT, fireman, bus driver or train conductor is a felony, but assault on a judge could only be charged as a misdemeanor.

Bauman could not believe there was no law to protect him from such actions, so he decided to contact out local sate representatives and do something about it.

Assemblywoman Gunther said, “This legislation will go a long way to protecting our   judges, who put themselves in harm’s way serving the people of New York.”

The legislation enacts language that classifies an assault on a judge as a class C felony and adds a judge to the list of professions protected under the Class C violent felony offenses.

“Judge Bauman and the New York State Magistrates Association have been advocating for this bill’s passage in the halls of Albany,” Gunther said. “This will be a deterrent to anyone who thinks they can assault these community servants when they don’t get their way in court.”

Judge Bauman recollecting what happened to him told me, “The defendant was in the custody of a sheriff’s deputy when he bolted out of the courtroom and ran towards the front door of the courthouse. I was walking out of the courtroom and was pushed by the defendant against a bulletin board and a glass window breaking the wall with my left shoulder. While handcuffed, the defendant exited the building and ran down Main St where he was apprehended by Liberty police officers.”

At Catskill Regional Medical Center the defendant was charged with 2 counts of felony assault on police officers, escape and misdemeanor assault on a judge.

Judges are on the front line in defending the public from crime, yet they were ignored by the state until now. “These professionals serve the public with little acclaim and must be protected,” Gunther noted.

I emailed Senator Bonacic for comments on passage of the Bauman bill, but he did not respond to my request.

Besides being one of Sullivan County’s most respected members of the judiciary, Bauman was an aerospace engineer who worked on such projects as our Apollo Space missions.

In 1964 Bauman began a career with Grumman Engineering and fulfilled a dream working on the Lunar Module program. He was involved with Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s first lunar landing, followed by the ill fated flight of Apollo 13 and the breathtaking rescue mission.

Bauman attended Law School at night after working on spacecraft during the day. In 1973 he came to Liberty to practice law.

Thank you to Aileen Gunther and John Bonacic for introducing this important legislation and seeing to it that it became law.

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