Resigned ADA flubbed another case...
Feb 24, 2011 8:19 am
The Register-Star has a follow-up on the case of the assistant county D.A. who resigned his position after messing up a recent case in the Columbia County courts. Now, according to reporter Andrew Amelinckx, "another case that former Assistant District Attorney John Hillman brought to the grand jury has been withdrawn by the District Attorney’s Office. This case involves Christina Santiago, a Hudson woman who was accused of falsely obtaining public assistance in Columbia County because she allegedly didn’t reside here, but later court proceedings seemed to indicate that she did." Santiago was in court before Judge Paul Czajka, being arraigned on a grand jury indictment that she was living in New York City while receiving assistance sstance in Hudson, on the same day that Hillman's other case involving gun charges unraveled. It was the second time Czajka had seen the charges, having dismissed another indictment that was essentially the same in August of last year based on his finding that “there was not legally sufficient evidence to support any of the counts of the indictment” presented at the grand jury proceedings. The judge, calling the presentation “fatally” impaired, stated that “substantial testimony” presented to the grand jury “should have been ruled inadmissible” due to hearsay and testimony based on “insufficient foundation.” While acknowledging that grand jury proceedings were different from criminal trials and required less proof and less precision, he chided Hillman on February 9 for failing to define an “essential term,” that is, “fraudulent welfare act.” The indictment was withdrawn Feb. 16. Hillman resigned his position with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office earlier this month after the dismissal of another case in relation to the shooting of 26-year-old Jayson Williams in March 2010.