Paterson Defends Commuting Sentence Of White

CORAM, N.Y. (CBS 2 / 1010 WINS / WCBS 880) – After Gov. David Paterson granted a man convicted of shooting and killing a teenager on Long Island clemency, praise and outrage are emerging from the community.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

John White had served 168 days of a two- to four-year sentence when he was released on Thursday in time to celebrate Christmas with his family inside their Miller Place home.

“I just want to thank God that he’s allowed me to come home to my family on this Christmas time. I also want to thank the governor,” White said on Thursday.

But in the 24 hours since White became a free man, the district attorney who prosecuted White called Paterson’s failure to communicate to the family of Daniel Cicciaro, the victim who White shot in 2006, an atrocious mistake.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

Paterson said although he wouldn’t change his mind, he did admit to an error in not reaching out to the Cicciaro family.

“In retrospect, I would have sought the victim’s input. I spoke with the family today for nearly an hour. There were some points that Mrs. Cicciaro made that were certainly compelling,” Paterson said.

Policy expert Lawrence Levy called Paterson’s motivation into question.

“This is an extraordinary use—maybe even abuse of executive power,” said Levy, who is the dean at Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies.

White got manslaughter and a light sentence due to what White and his attorney Frederick Brewington called a drunken lynch mob and accidental pulling of the trigger.

“Sentencing speaks to what was in his mind at the time that he committed the crime. Obviously, a person who is under stress and who felt a threat did not reach the threshold of self-defense, but it was certainly in the manslaughter area,” Paterson said.

“A young man’s life was lost and the White family will never forget that–keep Cicciaros in their prayers,” Brewington said.

The community, meanwhile, is unsettled about the whole ordeal.

“I think for manslaughter someone should serve the full term,” one resident said.

“I think he served enough time under the circumstances,” another resident said.

White’s Faith Baptist Church, where he serves as deacon, sent hundreds of letters arguing White is a model citizen who was defending his family and his home.

Paterson said he reviewed all of the documentation in the case.

More from Peter Haskell
  • Pearl Barkley

    One thing for sure this case reveals is that when it comes to Blacks, the right to defend oneself, property, and family are questioned. Oh well, what can we say, the symbol for justice in this culture is blind!

  • Pearl Barkley

    Well, as Brother Malcolm once said, “the chickens have come home to roost”. Perhaps Mr. White might not have reacted to the group of young white men who stormed his home and threatened him and his family if he never experienced racism or had relatives or friends of relatives who had been lynched. These are the sins of the forefathers being lived out on this generation and is a grave tragedy for ALL involved. A child is dead, a friend is gone, and a community is divided. The fact remains, a person has a right to defend their home, I wasn’t there so I have no idea what wen on in Mr. White’s mind during the incident. I do now that he strove to live where he is and must have felt threatened to do what he did.

  • mpatl

    A lesson for those who actively seek out a violent encounter: “You keep knocking on the Devil’s door & sooner or later someone will answer”.

    It’s a shame the boy lost his life, a crying shame…but what made him & his friends think what they were doing was ok? What made them think they had the right? Who raised this boy to be this way?

    Second amendment people…law of the land. Did they not consider this when deciding to attack someone at their home? Again, who raised this child to be this way?

  • mapdude

    why does Plaxico Burress have to remain in jail for 20 months

  • Jets Fan

    RACIST motivation, nothing more, nothing less!!! How about some more pardons for illegals too. The downfall of the USA is underway, won’t be long now. Obviously, the Governor must be in favor of blind justice. Ha ha ha.

  • Ken

    Nothing is on the level in this country. Accept that, behave well, mind your temper and find some peace.



  • Kate

    Mr. White had a gun, it was loaded, and he happily used it. Confronted by drunken teens, I call 911, but he committed cold-blooded premediated murder. So the young man he murdered was a drunk and exactly as bigoted as Mr. White AND Mr. Paterson: “Deacon” White needs to read the Ten Commandments. He seems to have more guns than Bibles.

  • Ramon

    why was a 17 year old doing drunk and who was the fool who drove him to White’s home?White did not go out seeking the youth,he went to White’s looking for trouble and found it.The man was just protecting his family.Why didn’t the youth call the police instead of creating this entire situation.

    • injun

      Drunks looking for trouble happens all the time in the GHETTO !

    • rick22

      yo RAMON I was in court when I heard mR. white had 45 minutes to call the cops himself…… calls to 911 at all, he and arron, well arron told him about a problem with him and his FRIENDS (and they were FRIENDS) White had too much time to call 911……….NEVER THERE NEVER DID IT. JUST SHOOT AN UNARMED TEEN iN the STREET. WHITE IS A MURDERER

  • besalel

    If you supported Bernie Getz you MUST support Mr. White.

    • Abe Benesch

      Good point. I did (and still do) support Bernie. It is a self defense issue – both of them.

  • rodney k.

    why can’t we all just get along?

  • George

    The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the comments here stink to high heavens! If you were a white man living in a black neighborhood and a band of black boys appeared at your door shouting racial epithets and swearing they were there to kill your son and your terrified son ran to you, woke you up screaming “they want to kill me!”, what would you do? The only regret was that he was too confused to call the cops instead of confronting the hoodlums banging on his door.
    And for the racist comments here: how many of these comments did anybody see in the many unjustified white police slain of black kids in the past years? And how many of these unprovoked killings gained this kind of media prominence, slanted reporting and a prominent and sustained spot on Yahoo? It is sad this country is fast going down into racial cesspit.

    • injun93

      The Governor of NEW YORK STATE is a Racist.

    • vin

      Leaving race out of this, John White was WRONG!! He should have stayed in his house and called police instead of confronting these teenagers with a gun.

      • Claude

        I too think that a mature man, over 50, should have shown better judgment. He could have called 911 and stayed inside with his gun, just in case his home was penetrated before police got there. It made no sense to go outside, gun in hand, to confront testosterone driven teenage boys. Anyone could have predicted that would end badly. This could have been avoided if the one adult in this situation had acted more responsibly.

  • vik

    How with blacks react if a white gov released the killer of a black guy and not get input from the family?!?!

    White needs to take this as another example that you cannot trust black liberals with anything. They will always side with blacks such as the muslim in the whitehouse calling the white cop stupid before having all the facts. Black liberals side with blacks all the time. The same is not true with black conservatives.

    • ramon

      whis the muslum in the whitehouse?Obama is a Christian.

    • Pearl Barkley

      Kate I would like to know how often you have stood up for innocent Black men and in some cases women who are gunned down by the police! You must be mindful of the fact that you were not at the scene and have no idea of what went on in Mr. White’s mind. You also do not know what has been his past experience with living in a predominately white community. You don’t what his has experienced as a Black man so your remarks are very immature. Everyone likes to talk about what a person should have done and what they would have done. Have you ever been in Mr. White’s position? I am a Black woman and can relate to Mr. White’s behavior and might have reacted in the same manner. Society and societal experiences are major molders of behavioral responses.

  • NYCFuddyDuddy

    This first paragraph of this story is poorly written, just another example of how lacking modern journalists are regarding basic writing skills. John White didn’t kill a teenager on Friday, but that’s exactly what the sentence indicates.

  • Cheech Marin

    The Gov should MYOB! This guy was convicted by due process. Why supecede the decision? It’s just not right.

    • Pearl Barkley

      Okay Cheech, Let a group of drunken teenagers show up at your house, knock on your door, issue threats and see how you would react. In addition, it is the governor’s business to intervene when a sizable amount of the PEOPLE protest the ruling of a judge, jury, or other administrator. This is why the governor is there for these times and cases. I personally feel that Mr, White should be pardoned.

  • Robert

    If the races of the shooter-victim were reversed…you think this guy would be freed??

    • Tom

      Yes; it has happened over and over again in New York. Unless you are living under a rock, you should have known that. Ask Kelly if in doubt.

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