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Brooklyn, NY - Ami Magazine: An Exclusive Interview With The Lawyer Who Quit The Levi Aron Case

Published on: August 1, 2011 01:04 PM
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AMI Magazine Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter interviews Gerard Marrone Esq.AMI Magazine Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter interviews Gerard Marrone Esq.

Brooklyn, NY - When my eyes meet Gerard Marrone’s gentle gaze as he walks this July morning into Ami offices with the aid of a cane, I know almost instantaneously that before me is someone who did not do only one admirable deed. Marrone’s eyes reflect a refinement and empathy that are refreshing as they are so out of the ordinary. His gait is unsteady, yet there is an unmistakable air of dignity about him, an underlying ambition that seems to propel him forward. As he takes a seat at the conference table, he starts the conversation with one simple refrain that he repeats over and over again throughout our time together, “It’s not about me; it’s about Leiby.”

Gerard Marrone, Esq., is the attorney who resigned from his position as co-counsel on the defense team of Levi Aron, the man who admitted to the murder of Leiby Kletzky, a”h. While his resignation has warmed people’s souls like few things recently have, he has also been ridiculed and maligned by some in the legal profession for abandoning a client. Many are wondering too how he could walk away from such a high profile case—the type of career making case with extensive media coverage that attorneys crave.

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Gerard Marrone, though, is bewildered by all of the media attention that has come his way as a result of his decision to step down as one of Levi Aron’s defense lawyers. “I had reporters camped outside of my office.” He relates to me that this was to his surprise because, “this case is not about my decision to step back. It was a personal choice; I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t intend for it to be so widely known.”

Marrone tells me that he was surprised by Aron’s leading counsel, Pierre Bazile, for announcing the decision in a press release this past Friday. “Pierre Bazile is the one who brought me into the case. He asked me to assist him. It was all very quick; I was thrust into this case very quickly as the second counsel. I was retained on Thursday, July 14th, the day of the arraignment, and we did the arraignment in half an hour. By July 29th, the next Wednesday morning, though, on my drive back from the Queens courthouse, I decided to drop the case.”

Bazile announced Marrone’s resignation and then subsequently stated that Jennifer McCann, a prominent defense attorney who is experienced in defending clients with insanity pleas, has replaced Marrone. “The press release triggered the media interest, when in reality there was no disagreement; we parted as friends,” Marrone told me.

Marrone, an Italian American who was born in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn and grew up in Queens, has been working as a criminal defense attorney for the past 10 years and is thus no stranger to dealing with people who have committed serious crimes. “Yet,” he says with somberness, “I felt dead and empty every time I thought about Leiby. This has nothing to do with whether Levi Aron is guilty or not. He is innocent until proven guilty. It’s just that I personally couldn’t do this.”

It wasn’t just Marrone who was repulsed by the horrific murder of that innocent child. Marrone and others who were present at the arraignment witnessed inmates screaming obscenities from holding pens as Aron was led into the courtroom. This was only a few hours after a crowd shouted “murderer!” outside the police station. One of the inmates screamed out as Aron passed him: “I’m in for robbery, but I’ll kill you for what you did to a kid.” Even among prison inmates, murderers like Levi Aron are held in contempt, and are at risk for being harmed. For instance, notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was killed by fellow inmates while serving his prison sentence.

Marrone agreed to meet with me to discuss the turn of events in what he said would be the last time. “After this, I’m not speaking about this anymore,” he said. And so, I find myself sitting in the Ami conference room for an exclusive interview with Gerard Marrone, Esq., a neighborhood attorney who is based in Ridgewood, Queens. Marrone works in a small practice with one other attorney, where he mostly practices criminal law. We start the interview by looking through the pictures of Leiby that were featured in the most recent issue of Ami. Marrone is moved by these photos of “an angelic face. When it comes to children, it’s a different ballgame; a different story,” he exclaims with a heavy, yet gently constrained sigh.

The Torah states that our father Abraham is the father of every human being who has accepted the yoke of Heaven. Leiby is, by way of analogy, the son of every such person. Those who think that Leiby united the Jewish community got it wrong; Leiby united all of mankind. I realized this when I spoke to, among others, Inspector Sprague of the 66th Precinct. I recognize this again this morning.

The story of Leiby’s passing is the tale of one unspeakable villain. It is, however, at the same time, the tale of thousands of heroes. Yet Marrone’s public act of loving-kindness is something that transcends even those countless heroic deeds.

Someone once penned the following lines: “A hero is someone who fights all kinds of injustice but also who is merciful. A hero is someone who is compassionate to other’s needs and difficulties, someone who is loyal to fighting injustice and sincere in what they are doing but with wisdom. Show me a person with the attributes of being merciful, compassionate, loyal, sincere, and wise and I will not only show you a hero but a Legend.”

Marrone, I quickly realize, is not merely a hero. In my book he is a legend.

Marrone is a person who wears many hats. In addition to being a competent lawyer, he is also a real estate broker, motivational coach, mentor, and the recent author of Unleash Your Amazing Potential: Find your Perfect Grace: a self-help book aimed at “helping my clients to be the best they can be—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” Indeed, Marrone appears to be a deeply spiritual person, an aspect of his personality that he touches upon often in the interview. Spirituality is a topic that he lectures about in seminars that he gives pro bono.

I ask him about his seminars. “How did you start down this path?” I want to know his story.

“On November 6, 1994, I was the victim of a crime—I was shot in the back. I was 21 years old at the time, and my sister was 16. We encountered the shooter at a party where he was bothering my sister. I asked him to leave her alone, and he pulled out a gun. I got in between him and my sister when he shot at her, and a bullet was lodged in my sixth vertebrae. I was immediately paralyzed from the chest down, and I fell to the floor right near the shooter’s car. He shot at my sister, and luckily, he missed. A friend rolled me onto my side, but the shooter ran over my arm with his car.”

“Did you think you were going to die?” I inquire.

“In that moment, I didn’t know if I would live or die, the bullet had pierced my lung—it had gone through my right lung and hit my spine. Lying there on the ground, though, I felt a spiritual presence before the panic set in. I was taken to the Jamaica hospital ICU, where I was for two weeks. The doctors had a hard time inflating my lung because of a small tear, but, miraculously, on the morning of my surgery my lung instantly went up—it healed itself! My whole story is one miracle after another.”
“What do you attribute these miracles to?” I ask him.

“Faith in G-d,” is his three-worded response.

“It was my destiny,” he says. “Everything that happened to me was meant to be. If I can help even one person with my story, it would have all been worth it to me.”
“Do you think about it often?”

“I think about it every day in one form or another. I spent one month at Jamaica Hospital, after which I was transferred to Mt. Sinai hospital where I spent two months in rehabilitation—to get used to a wheelchair. The entire experience was a roller coaster ride. By the time I got to Mt. Sinai I was moving my left leg.”

“Was your life still in danger at that point?”

“Once I got to the hospital, I was always in stable condition, I knew that I’d live, but I didn’t know if I would be able to walk, get married, have children, or get a job. Every ounce of muscle fiber that I got back, I was so focused on working on, because I wanted my life back so badly—it drove me to achieve. When I left the hospital I was able to stand within one month of movement. My right leg lagged behind. I was in a wheelchair for five months; there was a progression to get out of it.”

“Do you ever use a wheelchair now?” I ask Mr. Marrone, who to this very day walks with a very apparent limp.

“No. I don’t want to go back mentally to that. But on a hot summer day, I’m exerting three times as much energy as you do to get around. I have back pain every morning when I wake up, in varying degrees. It’s a dull, consistent pain.”

“What happened to the shooter?”

“The shooter was 18 years old. He was arrested at the time and got five to 15 years in jail, and was released after doing about 8 years.”

“How do you feel about having your assailant set free?”

His answer surprises me: “I chose to forgive him and let go of my anger and desire for revenge. I did this because to hold onto that anger would destroy my soul and I wouldn’t be able to move forward, so I chose to forgive him.”

“Did you ever see him again? Did he reach out to you?”

“No, he never reached out to me and I never saw him again,” Mr. Marrone says.

“Did you participate in his trial? How did you feel toward the attorneys representing him?”

“I did participate in the trial. When I saw his attorney, I understood that it was nothing personal; he had a job to do. I had been working for attorneys for many years and understood this.”
Overall, I learn from Mr. Marrone that he greatly respects our legal system and the way that it works; he repeats throughout our conversation his belief that everyone deserves legal defense, that we are all “innocent until proven guilty.” He then explains his decision to join the legal profession.

“In college I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I went into law to help the victim. Everyone is a victim, either of the system, their thoughts, or their circumstances. In our system 95 percent of cases lead to a plea negotiation. In my capacity, I have the ability to negotiate a fair disposition with the prosecutor. Most of the people I work with—and I work with everyone from those accused of petty crime to homicide. And I want to help them get on the right road.”

Mr. Marrone feels that practicing law “gives me the opportunity to help people and give them a chance at life. It isn’t easy. People need to give the D.A. office more credit,” he says with a chuckle.

About the effect that his injury had on his outlook, Mr. Marrone believes: “My injury grounded me. If I were able to walk again, I could achieve any goal. I let go of my anger, started meditating, and adopted a positive perspective on life and gratitude to G-d for what I have. I look at how blessed I am with a wife, kids, a career, and friends. I have everything I want and need in my life and I am blessed.”

Mr. Marrone uses his life experience in his seminars and in his book to teach people. “What do you tell them?” I ask.

“About having a positive state of mind; never give up. At first, I looked at myself as a victim and then turned that around. With a positive state of mind, identify a goal and put your faith into achieving that goal. Also, the need for a balance in your life between family, work, and hobbies. Find what’s important to you. My book is 320 pages, it’s a memoir and journey for the reader that I took 18 months to write, and self published this past February.”

“What motivated you to get your story down on paper?” I wonder.

“I’m a little shy and modest. I did it for my sons and the people I mentor, so they should know what I went through.

“The seminars are held once a month, they are usually free. I do them to help people and it makes me a better person, because when I teach I need to become the student. I am keeping myself sharp and in a positive state of mind.”

“Does your handicap affect you still today?”

“It makes things more challenging. But in adversity we find wisdom and become the person that we are. Everyone has adversity; how you handle it makes you the person you are. Everything boils down to what’s in your mind.”

I am curious about Mr. Marrone’s role as a criminal defense attorney, and what this means to him. “It’s not my job to ask. If someone is arrested, I don’t judge; my job is to defend. The defense can be an alibi or self-defense. What I do isn’t black or white, it’s grey, and is case by case. The job is to find truth and justice in the situation.”

“When facing the victim and the victim’s family, though, how do you feel, does this mean anything to you?” I ask.

“There is always the human aspect of it,” Mr. Marrone pauses at length here, “But there are often mitigating circumstances,” he finishes his thought.

Mr. Marrone confirms that he has worked with other high profile cases before. “But nothing like this,” he asserts.

“A high profile case like this is rare, why walk away?”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many attorneys would take this case to get exposure. There is also a significant fee involved,” he answers.

“Have you ever walked away from a case before?” I ask him.

“I probably have, but never for these reasons. I respect the system. We are all innocent until proven guilty…but Leiby’s murder is different,” he says quietly. “I know everything that everyone else knows; I wasn’t privy to anything else. I met with Levi, but didn’t know more.”

“So what was different in this case, why did you leave?” I want him to articulate what I believe I already know the answer to.

“The way that Leiby was killed, possibly tortured, and the way the body was disposed of was too much for me to bear. He reminds me of my kids. My own eldest son is only seven years old.” Mr. Marrone shares with me at this point about his own three sons—Steven aged seven; Gerard, four years old; and Andrew, 11 months. It didn’t matter that Leiby was from a different religion, or dressed differently from his own children. “He was a little boy, a gift from G-d, the same gift that I got three times. It doesn’t matter what he wears or where he prays,” Marrone says softly, with tears brimming in his eyes. I am exceptionally moved, and it takes me a moment to collect myself before I move on with my next question.
“When did you decide to leave the case?” I finally ask.

“I walked away once I saw the medical examiner’s documentation,” he replies. “There were two causes of death: he was smothered and the boy was given a cocktail of drugs.”
“Do you think the drugs eased his pain?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” this thought is obviously painful for Mr. Marrone, he swallows hard and continues with his train of thought: “It wasn’t a line I wanted to cross. I have an esquire at the end of my name, but I’m also a human being. We are all created by G-d. I’m insignificant, but the way he was so tragically killed wasn’t something I wanted to visit every day. I walked away because of Leiby.

“Everyone, though, is entitled to a defense,” he reiterates here again.

I want to know if Mr. Marrone is aware of the many negative, and some absurd, responses his actions have garnered. Mr. Marrone replies that he does not follow the blogs, yet I sense that some of the comments hurt him. “People don’t even know who I am, or what it means to be a criminal attorney; yet they make very hateful remarks. There is a lot of hate out there.”

He negates many of the rumors, such as those that claim he “is involved with the mafia.” “I represent all types of people from DWIs to organized crime. It’s so silly, absolutely false, a bold faced lie. A criminal defense attorney represents a lot of people, so it’s easy for people to take a shot at you. But this doesn’t bother me, I am who I am.”

“In addition to being a father, did your spirituality and religion influence your decision to leave the case?” I ask Mr. Marrone.

“It was being a father, a human being, a son, a neighbor, a friend…. Everyone is making a big deal about the fact that I withdrew from the case, but it’s not about me, I’m a nobody. It’s about Leiby,” he reemphasizes.

From our conversation, I glean that Mr. Marrone, a man of conviction, came to this bold conclusion on his own. He admitted that his family “gave positive feedback for his decision,” but “my wife is too busy with the boys to have gotten involved.”

“Do you look back, or think about the person who took over for you?”

“No, not at all. I made unequivocally the right decision. I don’t follow the blogs. Everyone is entitled to the facts, but no one knows me and my heart. They have no idea who I am, my reasons. I have only been a criminal defense lawyer for 10-and-a-half years, but I’ve seen a lot. You have to feel good about what you are doing.”

I read to Mr. Marrone from an article in New York Magazine, titled, “Was Levi Aron’s Defense Attorney Wrong for Quitting?” where one writer argues about Mr. Marrone, “that he’s a quitter, that he cannot be relied upon to stand firm and fulfill the obligations he willingly took on, even though it means that he must steel himself to the challenge of representing the worst among us….” This writer goes on in the article to quote Marrone who he claims said: “Knowing what he went through, just putting two and two together, you know they made more than one attempt.”

I wanted Mr. Marrone’s response to these accusations.

He counters with the following: “The writer has a lot of the facts wrong. I didn’t walk away from an individual. My decision was because of what the little boy experienced. I don’t know everything. I learned things as the case began to unfold. I came on to the case so quickly, without a lot of the facts. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty. The author is saying that I had an obligation to stay with the client and regardless of Leiby, I should have had no fear.

“I had no fear. I probably took the higher road. I walked away from a high profile case that would have attracted other attorneys. I have no obligation to stay on any case.
“What if you are the lead counsel?” I ask.

“There are different things that need to be done procedurally. It would be different; I’d have to ask the judge permission to resign.

“People can say what they want about me, I did what I thought was right. Be a defense attorney and then criticize me” are Mr. Marrone’s final thoughts on the matter.
I want Mr. Marrone to know that we are all stirred by his decision. “This is an emotional time for our community. The fact that we know there will be attorneys looking to get Levi Aron off…the fact that there is an attorney who stepped down, it really moved us.” I relate to him.

“What message would you like to give to Leiby’s parents?” I offer.

“I’d be honored to pay my respects to his parents. From one parent to another, I have no words to express my condolences for their grief. They will never be made whole. What happened to their son was so senseless and horrific. Leiby will never go forward, he won’t go to high school, get married, or have his own children. It was his right to experience life and no parent should have to bear this. The side of Leiby’s face reminded me of my own kid’s face…,” he says pointing to a picture in Ami’s prior issue. “What a cute, little face. I’ve handled cases from good to bad, but when it comes to a child….” Mr. Marrone’s voice trails off at the end of his emotional response.

“Everyone I’ve been in contact with was so moved. This transcends race, religion, and creed. It doesn’t matter where you live or pray. This is a tragedy for everyone,” he says.
I ask Mr. Marrone about his experience in Boro Park today, how it feels to be a mere seven blocks from where Leiby once lived, and not far from the place of his murder.

“This is the first time I’m in Boro Park since Leiby’s murder. When I see any child I think of him, even though I never met him or his family. I was so touched by him. Coming here and seeing little children here makes me think of him. I’m on hallowed ground here, where something very significant occurred. I felt somberness and respect driving here today. How could I not?” he rhetorically asks, visibly choking up with tears.

“Do you feel a connection to Leiby? A spiritual connection?” I gently ask.

“No one knows me, it’s insignificant,” he reiterates, “But I do feel connected to him in his death.”

“Do you feel that you gave him something?”

Mr. Marrone’s answer is powerful, and takes my breath away: “I don’t know, answering this gives me significance, and I’m so insignificant.” He paused for a moment that is thick with grief, “It’s between Leiby and I, at night when I pray.”

“This was one of my most moving interviews,” I confide in him. “You are a hero to us. It is about you, because you made a statement.” Yes, despite criticism, Mr. Marrone stuck to his convictions. Not only did he shy away from discussing the details of the case because of his respect for the defense, the very act of walking away was from the case was something he did out of his own principles, something that he decided to do on his own—he walked away from it all: the fame and the legal fees.

Mr. Marrone humbly declines my praises, and when I ask him to pose for pictures, he shyly acquiesces. I tell him that I intend to use one of the pictures for the cover of this week’s Ami, to which he replies: “You don’t have to.”

As I bid him farewell, Mr. Marrone leaves me with the following haunting words: “I felt dead within me, because of my emotional attachment to Leiby.”

The rest of my day is an emotionally draining one, as I replay our conversation in my mind over and over again. It is all so overwhelming. I am weighed down by the horror that we are still revisiting each day; but also overwhelmed by the living example of this heroic legend whom I was most privileged to meet.

Although the world was exposed to a darkness last week that shrouded us completely, as evil was exposed as a certain reality—here is the bearer of a shining light who came out through the contrasting darkness. Amidst the outpouring of humanity that we experienced, here is one exceptional individual who, through his compassionate actions, personified humanity.


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Read Comments (39)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 01, 2011 at 01:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Sounds like a goy tzedek to me...stranger still, from a lawyer yet!

2

 Aug 01, 2011 at 01:20 PM Hershl Says:

Aron will be punished by the judicial system and Hashem.

It is the right of every citizen to be represented when he commits a crime and Aron is no exception.

It is also the right of any attorney to excuse himself from defending his client.

3

 Aug 01, 2011 at 01:11 PM GB_Jew Says:

" An Exclusive Interview With The Lawyer Who Quite The Levi Aron Case"

Quite what? Or did your sub-editor mean "quit"?

4

 Aug 01, 2011 at 01:43 PM observer Says:

some people (even educated ones) dont know to stay out of the light.

5

 Aug 01, 2011 at 01:45 PM Shlomo2 Says:

By publicly proclaiming his former client's guilt, I wonder if he has handed the defense the gift of being able to say that the murderer can't receive a fair trail.

Within the profession, some are saying that the Bar Assn might look into this as being unprofessional grandstanding, at the expense of a former client.

6

 Aug 01, 2011 at 01:59 PM Silverwood01 Says:

We have now come to a strange point; we now kill and dismember; and have to take mussar from Goyim.

7

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:00 PM Babishka Says:

I don't see what the point of this is. Mr. Marrone resigned from the case because he felt that professionally he could not represent the client to the best of his ability. Under our system of law, every accused has the right to counsel, even (or maybe we should say, especially) someone who is accused of the most heinous crimes.

8

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:01 PM kollelfaker Says:

read the article your headlines were more exciting. what will eventually come out is they went for a more experienced defense attny.
he repeated several times in this country all men are innocent until proven guilty.

9

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:03 PM lioraNY Says:

you know something, I really think that Ami has provided us with a clear and informative perspective. I only started to read their magazine the other week, but if you look in this article there is no frills. Thank you VIN and Ami for sharing

10

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:06 PM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Sounds like a goy tzedek to me...stranger still, from a lawyer yet!

I hear you, and second that motion. It is righteous gentiles like this, that help motivate me & my husband to keep pressing on with our Torah studies, because as this man's words have shown... it doesn't matter what race or culture you come from, it's about doing what's right in the eyes of HaShem, and I believe what this good gentile did was RIGHT.

Yes, we have a justice system in this country, but we all know the secular court system NEVER gives a person what he truly deserves for his\her crimes. The courts either give them too much punishment...or not near enough! And there's NO WAY the courts in this country could exact judgment against Levi Aron the way he truly deserves, so why bother even TRYING to defend this man at all?

There's no hope for him to get a "fair" trial, because what that monster did to little Leiby wasn't "fair" either! And they are going to be hard-pressed to find a jury who would be willing to hear ANY excuse from him.

The lawyer did the correct thing & I commend him for it. Who cares about the money at a time like this?! I would never forgive myself if I defended a person like Levi Aron- even in court, even if it was my job.

G-d bless him.

11

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

I believe that when Hashem created people, this is the kind of person He had in mind. Those cynical people who are laughing at Mr. Marrone...those are the people who cause people like Levi Aron to be formed. How can normal and humble people stand up to the bullying of the cynics? Their anger has to go somewhere. Thank goodness, most people don't turn into Levi Aron, but I do believe that much of the lashon harah, being self-serving and arrogant and thinking only of oneself that has taken over the Jewish world is the result of cynical and mean people who have been given the opportunity to spread their disgraceful ways of thinking around. Orthodox Jews are not who they once were and we have all lost out because of that.

12

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:10 PM Lodzker Says:

wow, im impressed. such an unov!

13

 Aug 01, 2011 at 02:51 PM common-sense Says:

Based on what most bloggers say, Marrone is guaranteed Olem Habo. Maybe we should make him a Rebbe, a man with such Zchusim.
Seriously, though, the man did not feel good about being on this case. Why does that make him a hero? This hero worship of him is absurd. And, yes, everyone is entitled to a defense attorney. If you say he Aron is not entitled to a defense attorney, then where do you draw the line? There was a German pastor during WWII who initially ignored what the Nazis were doing to the Jews. Then he realized he was wrong. He said the following (this may not be an exact quote). "First, they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak up. Then they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak up. Then they came for the labor unionists, but I was not a labor unionist, so I did not speak up. Then they came for me. Then there was nobody left to speak up." If you deny Aron a defense attorney, you may be next.

14

 Aug 01, 2011 at 03:53 PM Jewishboy Says:

Dont get it - לכתחלה מאי כסבר

15

 Aug 01, 2011 at 03:48 PM MyUserName Says:

Is this an interview? Couldn't you just have your questions with his answers...

What's the need for all the talk about his eyes and how many breaths he took between his words?

It made this article very annoying to read. I just wanted to hear what he had to say.

Listen to yourself:

Brooklyn, NY - When my eyes meet Gerard Marrone’s gentle gaze as he walks this July morning into Ami offices with the aid of a cane, I know almost instantaneously that before me is someone who did not do only one admirable deed. Marrone’s eyes reflect a refinement and empathy that are refreshing as they are so out of the ordinary.

Yet,” he says with somberness…

When it comes to children, it’s a different ballgame; a different story,” he exclaims with a heavy, yet gently constrained sigh.

I ask him about his seminars. “How did you start down this path?” I want to know his story.

I inquire.

is his three-worded response.

His answer surprises me:

he says with a chuckle.

I wonder.

I want him to articulate what I believe I already know the answer to.

Marrone says softly, with tears brimming in his eyes. I am exceptionally moved, and it takes me a moment to collect myself before I move on with

16

 Aug 01, 2011 at 05:04 PM MIKE Says:

An interview was conducted, but obviously this article is not in Q&A form.

17

 Aug 01, 2011 at 05:30 PM Dimyon Says:

Reply to #15  
MyUserName Says:

Is this an interview? Couldn't you just have your questions with his answers...

What's the need for all the talk about his eyes and how many breaths he took between his words?

It made this article very annoying to read. I just wanted to hear what he had to say.

Listen to yourself:

Brooklyn, NY - When my eyes meet Gerard Marrone’s gentle gaze as he walks this July morning into Ami offices with the aid of a cane, I know almost instantaneously that before me is someone who did not do only one admirable deed. Marrone’s eyes reflect a refinement and empathy that are refreshing as they are so out of the ordinary.

Yet,” he says with somberness…

When it comes to children, it’s a different ballgame; a different story,” he exclaims with a heavy, yet gently constrained sigh.

I ask him about his seminars. “How did you start down this path?” I want to know his story.

I inquire.

is his three-worded response.

His answer surprises me:

he says with a chuckle.

I wonder.

I want him to articulate what I believe I already know the answer to.

Marrone says softly, with tears brimming in his eyes. I am exceptionally moved, and it takes me a moment to collect myself before I move on with

Gerard Maronne indeed sounds like an admirable person. However, the fawning and exaggerated tone of the artice is highly unprofessional. What could have been an intelligently written and informative interview with an attorney became an ode to a "legend". The entire article is saturated with uncalled for details and an obviously biased perspective.

This style of writing makes me feel uncomfortable, as it uses the tone and aura that are usually reserved to describe gedolim and other revered personalities.

I'm unimpressed with Ami this time. This negates from their credibility as journalists,

18

 Aug 01, 2011 at 05:26 PM HashemYerachim Says:

Does he take kvitlech?

19

 Aug 01, 2011 at 05:24 PM justice Says:

Reply to #13  
common-sense Says:

Based on what most bloggers say, Marrone is guaranteed Olem Habo. Maybe we should make him a Rebbe, a man with such Zchusim.
Seriously, though, the man did not feel good about being on this case. Why does that make him a hero? This hero worship of him is absurd. And, yes, everyone is entitled to a defense attorney. If you say he Aron is not entitled to a defense attorney, then where do you draw the line? There was a German pastor during WWII who initially ignored what the Nazis were doing to the Jews. Then he realized he was wrong. He said the following (this may not be an exact quote). "First, they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak up. Then they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak up. Then they came for the labor unionists, but I was not a labor unionist, so I did not speak up. Then they came for me. Then there was nobody left to speak up." If you deny Aron a defense attorney, you may be next.

If you feel Marrone acted against our judicial rights, why don't you get up there to defend 'He who must not be named' and show marrone how to do it?

20

 Aug 01, 2011 at 05:18 PM justice Says:

Reply to #7  
Babishka Says:

I don't see what the point of this is. Mr. Marrone resigned from the case because he felt that professionally he could not represent the client to the best of his ability. Under our system of law, every accused has the right to counsel, even (or maybe we should say, especially) someone who is accused of the most heinous crimes.

Are you saying had u been a criminal lawyer u would get up there on the stand and defend this case? Go into every itty bitty gruesome horrific detail, take it apart, wonder and ponder, and while doing that continue living ur daily life and tend to your kids at home with a sane mind?

21

 Aug 01, 2011 at 05:59 PM SaraBasSara Says:

My father in law was a criminal defense attorney in Manhattan in the 1950's. He quit practicing law after winning a case. He defended a man who was accused of murder, but whom my FIL truly believed to be innocent. After the trial, the defendant turned to my FIL and said, "thanks for the good work! If you ever need someone bumped off, you just gotta ask." My FIL was devestated, and quit practicing law as a result. There are good hearted attorneys, and Mr Marrone tops the list!

22

 Aug 01, 2011 at 06:48 PM MyUserName Says:

Reply to #16  
MIKE Says:

An interview was conducted, but obviously this article is not in Q&A form.

My question was not if an interview took place...

My question is why every question and answer had to be dressed up with emotional overtones that make wanna throw up and stop reading the article...

Let the person speak for himself - there is no need to try to add to the drama

A simple article in the Q&A format would have been just fine.

23

 Aug 01, 2011 at 07:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
SaraBasSara Says:

My father in law was a criminal defense attorney in Manhattan in the 1950's. He quit practicing law after winning a case. He defended a man who was accused of murder, but whom my FIL truly believed to be innocent. After the trial, the defendant turned to my FIL and said, "thanks for the good work! If you ever need someone bumped off, you just gotta ask." My FIL was devestated, and quit practicing law as a result. There are good hearted attorneys, and Mr Marrone tops the list!

two weeks ago he was a monster, how could he live with himself, how could he sleep at night.... now you are all kissing his feet.

You seem to forget that he is a criminal defense lawyer by choice, and this is not at all a believable situation. But time will tell.

24

 Aug 01, 2011 at 07:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #21  
SaraBasSara Says:

My father in law was a criminal defense attorney in Manhattan in the 1950's. He quit practicing law after winning a case. He defended a man who was accused of murder, but whom my FIL truly believed to be innocent. After the trial, the defendant turned to my FIL and said, "thanks for the good work! If you ever need someone bumped off, you just gotta ask." My FIL was devestated, and quit practicing law as a result. There are good hearted attorneys, and Mr Marrone tops the list!

you are very naive.

and for the record, I would think that you would (or should) place your FIL quite a bit ahead of Marrone.

25

 Aug 01, 2011 at 07:47 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #10  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

I hear you, and second that motion. It is righteous gentiles like this, that help motivate me & my husband to keep pressing on with our Torah studies, because as this man's words have shown... it doesn't matter what race or culture you come from, it's about doing what's right in the eyes of HaShem, and I believe what this good gentile did was RIGHT.

Yes, we have a justice system in this country, but we all know the secular court system NEVER gives a person what he truly deserves for his\her crimes. The courts either give them too much punishment...or not near enough! And there's NO WAY the courts in this country could exact judgment against Levi Aron the way he truly deserves, so why bother even TRYING to defend this man at all?

There's no hope for him to get a "fair" trial, because what that monster did to little Leiby wasn't "fair" either! And they are going to be hard-pressed to find a jury who would be willing to hear ANY excuse from him.

The lawyer did the correct thing & I commend him for it. Who cares about the money at a time like this?! I would never forgive myself if I defended a person like Levi Aron- even in court, even if it was my job.

G-d bless him.

Yes, we have a justice system in this country, but we all know the secular court system NEVER gives a person what he truly deserves for his\her crimes. The courts either give them too much punishment...or not near enough! And there's NO WAY the courts in this country could exact judgment against Levi Aron the way he truly deserves, so why bother even TRYING to defend this man at all?


even in the time of sanhedren i do not think they just lynched people I am sure he was defended.

In addition the sanhedren did they slowly torture people who killed children, no they did not.

so every civilized country does not do what I think you want done not even shanhedren since they where civilized. Torture will not bring the boy back and will not prevent sicl people from doing it again

so what purpose would it serve

your blood lust? Would it make you feel better.

also defend him does not mean the lawyer will try to get him off, just to make sure he gets a fair trail and maybe even just plead guilty since the evidence is overwhelming.

Unless they know something, some bombshell that has not been disclosed

26

 Aug 01, 2011 at 08:40 PM Sherree Says:

Reply to #8  
kollelfaker Says:

read the article your headlines were more exciting. what will eventually come out is they went for a more experienced defense attny.
he repeated several times in this country all men are innocent until proven guilty.

What will eventually come out is things that they are careful NOT to say out of respect to the family. He quit after reading the Medical Examiner's report. Obviously he can't talk about it and obviously there are things in there that were NOT released to the public. Once he saw that he could not stop thinking about the victim and no longer cared about the defendant.

27

 Aug 01, 2011 at 10:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Lodzker Says:

wow, im impressed. such an unov!

I hope you're being sarcastic....

28

 Aug 01, 2011 at 10:21 PM hmmmm Says:

If I will see this lawyer in the street or anywhere, I will stand up for him like he's a rebbe. I have nothing else to say.

29

 Aug 01, 2011 at 10:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Sherree Says:

What will eventually come out is things that they are careful NOT to say out of respect to the family. He quit after reading the Medical Examiner's report. Obviously he can't talk about it and obviously there are things in there that were NOT released to the public. Once he saw that he could not stop thinking about the victim and no longer cared about the defendant.

Sherree, as usual, you say things you have no knowledge of.

Nobody is holding back things out of respect to the family (where would you even get that idea?), and he shouldn't be talking about the things he is talking about now without giving levi aron a strong case to have this trial moved to somewhere people won't really care about it as much as here.

Don't you even see what is being done before your eyes? why do you think the current lawyer is not objecting to marrone talking about this case and what he saw all over the place?

Marrone CHOSE to be a criminal defense lawyer. He also knows the consequences of what he is doing. He is not some corporate lawyer who got caught into some terrible murder trial -this is what he WANTS to do for a living, by his own choice.

What he is doing is making sure Aron doesn't have to stand trial in New York, and you are all kissing his feet for doing it, like he is some kind of angel.

How much do you want to bet that this trial starts with a change of venue motion because the jury pool here has been poisoned by all the publicity?

Are you all such fools you don't see what is being done right in front of your noses?

UNBELIEVABLE!

30

 Aug 01, 2011 at 10:43 PM heeb Says:

Truly a beautiful article. Very well written. I am glad I read it.........

31

 Aug 02, 2011 at 03:10 AM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #25  
shredready Says:

Yes, we have a justice system in this country, but we all know the secular court system NEVER gives a person what he truly deserves for his\her crimes. The courts either give them too much punishment...or not near enough! And there's NO WAY the courts in this country could exact judgment against Levi Aron the way he truly deserves, so why bother even TRYING to defend this man at all?


even in the time of sanhedren i do not think they just lynched people I am sure he was defended.

In addition the sanhedren did they slowly torture people who killed children, no they did not.

so every civilized country does not do what I think you want done not even shanhedren since they where civilized. Torture will not bring the boy back and will not prevent sicl people from doing it again

so what purpose would it serve

your blood lust? Would it make you feel better.

also defend him does not mean the lawyer will try to get him off, just to make sure he gets a fair trail and maybe even just plead guilty since the evidence is overwhelming.

Unless they know something, some bombshell that has not been disclosed

I think you misunderstood me.

When I said, "the secular courts never give anybody what they truly deserve...it's either too much punishment...or not near-enough, so why bother defending a monster like this?", what I meant was...

Whatever HaShem decides to do with this man, will be up to Him. It's got NOTHING to do with "blood lust". Who said ANYTHING about torturing him?!

But if that's what he "deserves"...well then that's not what's going to happen to him in THIS world.

Again...nobody receives anything "fair" at a trial in this world. Period! Either too much punishment...or far too little, in most cases. And this is because HaShem is the only true judge for what people "deserve".

I hope I'm making myself clear... I mean, if you KNOW this man is a monster, and you KNOW he deserves severe punishment for what he's done, but that even if he's found guilty by our courts...you KNOW Leiby will never truly gain any justice from it...

Then again... WHY defend him at all?!?! Because of the parnasa?!

As I said... I wouldn't have defended him either. Even if it costs me my job.

We wouldn't work on the Sabbath...but we'd defend a child-killer because "it's out job"?

Lame excuse.

32

 Aug 02, 2011 at 09:02 AM concerned_Jew Says:

Shochain ad maron.

33

 Aug 02, 2011 at 09:46 AM Reuvan_Nuchem Says:

Ami magazine is a weak publications. They also interviewed the Skware Rebbie and totally tip toed around that. Ami is like the Enquirer, not worth the paper it is printed on.

34

 Aug 02, 2011 at 09:48 AM esmith92000 Says:

Reply to #21  
SaraBasSara Says:

My father in law was a criminal defense attorney in Manhattan in the 1950's. He quit practicing law after winning a case. He defended a man who was accused of murder, but whom my FIL truly believed to be innocent. After the trial, the defendant turned to my FIL and said, "thanks for the good work! If you ever need someone bumped off, you just gotta ask." My FIL was devestated, and quit practicing law as a result. There are good hearted attorneys, and Mr Marrone tops the list!

When I read this I got the shivers. My father spent many years s the chief prosecuting attorney in Rhode Island. When he went into private practice the first criminal case that came his way was a murder trial. As soon as the verdict of not guilty came in, the accused turned to my father and told him "I just want you to know, I really did it." Such attorney-client conversations, in addition to not being compelled to be divulged, cannot be divulged by the attorney to anyone. My father could not tell anyone. As a result, he never took another criminal case.

And no, you're neither my wife nor my sister-in-law.

35

 Aug 02, 2011 at 01:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

I think you misunderstood me.

When I said, "the secular courts never give anybody what they truly deserve...it's either too much punishment...or not near-enough, so why bother defending a monster like this?", what I meant was...

Whatever HaShem decides to do with this man, will be up to Him. It's got NOTHING to do with "blood lust". Who said ANYTHING about torturing him?!

But if that's what he "deserves"...well then that's not what's going to happen to him in THIS world.

Again...nobody receives anything "fair" at a trial in this world. Period! Either too much punishment...or far too little, in most cases. And this is because HaShem is the only true judge for what people "deserve".

I hope I'm making myself clear... I mean, if you KNOW this man is a monster, and you KNOW he deserves severe punishment for what he's done, but that even if he's found guilty by our courts...you KNOW Leiby will never truly gain any justice from it...

Then again... WHY defend him at all?!?! Because of the parnasa?!

As I said... I wouldn't have defended him either. Even if it costs me my job.

We wouldn't work on the Sabbath...but we'd defend a child-killer because "it's out job"?

Lame excuse.

nobody forced him to become a criminal defense lawyer, so your analogy falls completely apart.

This is EXACTLY his job, and EXACTLY what he chose to do for a living. this is EXACTLY the part of lawyering he chose for himself. So what's your problem?

his job is defending adult-killers and child-killers. why this surprises you, surprises me!

36

 Aug 02, 2011 at 01:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #34  
esmith92000 Says:

When I read this I got the shivers. My father spent many years s the chief prosecuting attorney in Rhode Island. When he went into private practice the first criminal case that came his way was a murder trial. As soon as the verdict of not guilty came in, the accused turned to my father and told him "I just want you to know, I really did it." Such attorney-client conversations, in addition to not being compelled to be divulged, cannot be divulged by the attorney to anyone. My father could not tell anyone. As a result, he never took another criminal case.

And no, you're neither my wife nor my sister-in-law.

these are great stories, but I'd love to hear from an actual lawyer whether after the trial, when the person is no longer a client, whether conversations are still privileged.

I would think not, but it also sounds amazingly stupid for a killer to admit he's guilty to anyone, even his own ex-attorney. guys that need to show off like that do not last long in the murder business.

37

 Aug 02, 2011 at 03:51 PM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #35  
Anonymous Says:

nobody forced him to become a criminal defense lawyer, so your analogy falls completely apart.

This is EXACTLY his job, and EXACTLY what he chose to do for a living. this is EXACTLY the part of lawyering he chose for himself. So what's your problem?

his job is defending adult-killers and child-killers. why this surprises you, surprises me!

I'm sorry, but you CAN chose to step down from defending a person if you honestly feel in your heart it would be impossible for you to do it! In which case... it's the responsible thing to do, if you really believe in the killer getting a "fair trial"!

If you're his defense attorney, but you have ZERO confidence he's going to get a fair trial, or that he's going to get the true justice he deserves, and that your heart will not be in trying to make sure his "rights" are being protected... well then I would argue it is your obligation for the sake of your client to drop your name from his defense team!

Also, this idea that ALL Defense Attorneys defend adult & child killers isn't true! Most of them do civil trials, petty thefts, etc. Maybe the occasional assault charge or two. There's only a certain percentage of them who are willing to stomach taking cases such as the one involving Levi Aron!

Trust me: your average, every-day criminal lawyer probably wouldn't have wanted to take this case either, unless he\she's only caring about the parnasa, and\or fame & glory!

Not to mention, if you are falsely accused of something, wouldn't YOU want a Defense Attorney?

Are they ALL bad??

38

 Aug 02, 2011 at 06:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #37  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

I'm sorry, but you CAN chose to step down from defending a person if you honestly feel in your heart it would be impossible for you to do it! In which case... it's the responsible thing to do, if you really believe in the killer getting a "fair trial"!

If you're his defense attorney, but you have ZERO confidence he's going to get a fair trial, or that he's going to get the true justice he deserves, and that your heart will not be in trying to make sure his "rights" are being protected... well then I would argue it is your obligation for the sake of your client to drop your name from his defense team!

Also, this idea that ALL Defense Attorneys defend adult & child killers isn't true! Most of them do civil trials, petty thefts, etc. Maybe the occasional assault charge or two. There's only a certain percentage of them who are willing to stomach taking cases such as the one involving Levi Aron!

Trust me: your average, every-day criminal lawyer probably wouldn't have wanted to take this case either, unless he\she's only caring about the parnasa, and\or fame & glory!

Not to mention, if you are falsely accused of something, wouldn't YOU want a Defense Attorney?

Are they ALL bad??

I'm sorry, but you can't step down from a case without the permission of the court or the client. I have no idea where you got the idea that an attorney can walk away if he "feels" he should. attorneys are not allowede to do that even in civil cases, let alone criminal ones.

secondlly, no one said that ALL defense attorneys defend alleged murderers. I said criminal attorneys do, if they choose to, after they hear about the case and ask questions. THAT'S the only time they can walk away and refuse the case if they want to.

Your idea that all criminal lawyers take assault cases, petty thefts and civil cases is not at all accurate. Just like you wouldn't use a landlord tenant lawyer for a corporate merger, you wouldn't use even a regular criminal attorney on a murder case, only one with experience who is willing to do it. This one was.

You ARE correct, however, that only a certain percentage are willing to stomach taking cases such as this one. And I will point out that the murder, the dismemberment, etc., were all known, even to us, prior to Marrone's taking this case, VOLUNTARILY. So what changed? And how did he get off the case? And why is he talking about it so much?

39

 Aug 02, 2011 at 09:04 PM DosIzNeias Says:

I LOVED THIS ARTICLE.

LITERARY GEM

THANKS VIN AND AMI

40

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