Manslaughter Conviction to be Appealed

UPDATE Jan 2, 2008:

A rally and march organized by Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and supported by Long Island NAACP branches will be held in support of civil rights at the Suffolk County Court building in Riverhead Saturday January 5 at 12:30 pm. More info

Frederick Brewington, the defense attorney in the manslaughter trial of John White says he will appeal the conviction in the racially charged case.

It started with a rumor that Aaron White, a young black man had made sexual advances on a white woman. It ended with the death of a white teenager who came with friends to White’s home in Miller Place, Long Island late one night in August 2006.

The youth were confronted by Aaron's father John. A struggle ensued and John White's gun went off killing 19 year old Daniel Cicciaro.

As described by Attorney Brewington,
“…two cars came to their home at 11:30 at night, one of them, right on their driveway, with lights glaring at the front door, [they were] yelling that they should come out .. using the ‘n-word’ and saying that they were going to ‘f-ing’ kill them”
Brewington says that as John White left his house to confront the young people he yelled to his wife to call the police, but she did not hear him. As he turned to go back to the house Cicciaro grabbed White's hand gun from behind.

At the trial in Riverhead last Friday a jury with one African-American reported they were deadlocked. But Judge Barbara Kahn told the jurors they would be sent back on Christmas eve unless they reached a decision. The jury brought in a guilty decision for manslaughter late last Saturday night.

One juror has charged that he and another holdout were pressured into agreeing to convict according to a New York Times story

Attorney Brewington, says the jury was not sensitive to the racial issues.
“The jury included one African-American man, one or two Hispanic women, and the rest happened to be white individuals. The jury pool in Suffolk County, unfortunately, is not that diverse and it makes it very difficult to be able to select a juty which includes a good cross section of the ‘racial rainbow’. So essentially, even though Mr. White had, as an Aftrican-American man, experienced outright racism, and feared for his life and that of his family and the fact that his family members in the South had been lynched, burned out of their homes, and he had that fear and knowledge in his heart that very night; this jury was not able to be sensitive enough, unfortunately, to those real concerns. ”

Brewington says the jury discounted the justification defense.
“He [White] was justified into going out of his house to try and thwart what appeared to him to be a lynch mob, coming to his home to threaten his wife and himself and to kill his son as they indicated they were going to do. That justification ‘charge’ was part of the overall charge to the jury for their determination. They negated his experiences, this thoughts, his feelings and indeed his history by not allowing that justification defense to be fully aired in light of the claims and charges against him.”

Attorney Brewington says the verdict will be appealed.

This report was adapted from a report for WPKN's nightly newscast of Wednesday, December 26.

See also Newsday articles including Joye Brown - December 13

and Erik German with comments of Lucius Ware, NAACP Eastern LI Branch president.

Frederick Brewington Interview by Mario Murillo on WBAI's Wake Up Call Friday December 28 at 8am

Newsday's Alfonso Castillo talks with Mario Murillo about the White case
on WBAI's Wake Up Call Friday Dec. 28 at about 7:50 am (link to 7-8am hour)