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Sep 17, 2009 10:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Arrest tape could be used in Kabot DWI case

Sep 17, 2009 10:24 AM

A police video recording of the DWI arrest of Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot on Labor Day in Westhampton Beach will most likely be used as evidence against her if she opts to fight the misdemeanor charge and her case goes to trial.

The video of the arrest, recorded from a camera mounted on a Westhampton Beach Village Police patrol car, shows the traffic stop of Ms. Kabot by Village Police at 12:25 a.m. on September 7, according to Village Police Chief Ray Dean.

Westhampton Beach Village Police said Ms. Kabot, who refused to take a breath test, also failed field sobriety tests. Chief Dean said Tuesday that both the traffic stop and the arrest are recorded on video; however, he declined to say if the administration of the sobriety tests were also caught on video. “I’m not at liberty to say what’s on that video,” he said.

Police said a copy of the tape was not immediately available because it had already been sent to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, which is in charge of prosecuting the case.

The Southampton Press has filed two Freedom of Information Law requests—one with the Village Police Department, and the other with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office—seeking to review the video.

Westhampton Beach Village Police record all traffic stops, according to Chief Dean. The cameras are activated whenever a police vehicle’s emergency lights are turned on. He said all five of the department’s police cruisers that are used for patrols are equipped with cameras; two other cars in the police department’s fleet are not used for patrols.

The tape of Ms. Kabot’s DWI arrest is considered evidence, Chief Dean said. All tapes and paperwork relating to every DWI arrest in Westhampton Beach are forwarded to the Suffolk County district attorney, he said. “It’s standard operating procedure,” he added, declining to comment further on the arrest.

Ms. Kabot, who police said also refused to take a chemical test after her arrest, said she plans to fight the DWI charge. She is seeking reelection in November. It is not clear if her 
trial will be held before or after Election Day, which falls on November 3.

Ms. Kabot’s driver’s license was suspended for one year during a hearing on Monday before the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. A person’s license is automatically suspended for one year in New York State whenever a driver refuses to submit to a breath test. If she had pleaded guilty to the DWI charge, she would have lost her license for six months.

Her attorney, John O’Brien of Sag Harbor, said Monday that he had not yet reviewed a copy of the video of his client’s arrest. He declined to comment on the case, stating only that it is too early to tell what Ms. Kabot’s line of defense will be when fighting the charge.

Tapes of DWI arrests can be used by either the defense or the prosecution in DWI cases, said Daniel Rodgers, a DWI attorney with practices in Southampton and Riverhead who is not involved with Ms. Kabot’s case. The tape could be particularly valuable to prosecutors if a defendant refused a breath test because it could show whether or not a driver appeared to be intoxicated at the time of the traffic stop, according to Mr. Rodgers.

“The entire case is dependent on the police officers to determine if you were drunk,” he said. “The tape could show you were doing things they said you were doing.”

On the flip side, the defense could utilize the tape as evidence if it shows that a driver did not appear to be intoxicated at the time of his or her arrest, Mr. Rodgers said.

Ms. Kabot said this week that she refused the breath test at the scene because of “suspicions regarding the overzealous nature of the behavior of the supervising officer at the scene.” She acknowledged that she later rejected the chemical tests at police headquarters, saying she felt “angry” and “intimidated.”

Ms. Kabot said she is complying with the law and not driving. She said she is getting rides from family, friends and other town officials in carpools.

Ms. Kabot was arrested on Labor Day and charged with DWI, a misdemeanor, after being pulled over on Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Village Police observed her crossing the double-yellow line while making a left-hand turn onto Main Street from Library Avenue, according to the police report of the incident.

The arresting officers said that Ms. Kabot’s breath “smelled strongly of an alcoholic beverage,” and her eyes were “red and glassy,” according to the same report.

Ms. Kabot said she was returning from a 40th birthday party celebration at her sister’s house in East Moriches on the night of her arrest. When asked if she was drinking, Ms. Kabot declined to answer the question, citing the advice of her attorney.

“My plans at this time are to focus on my family’s well-being while I deal with all this drama and front-page news,” she said in an e-mail. “My personal needs on the legal front [are] to prepare for my day in court to fight these charges, my professional responsibility as supervisor [is] to move the town forward strategically, through financial turmoil, with a tentative budget for 2010 required to be filed on September 30.”

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....coming soon to a video store near you!!!!!
By cush870 (30), east quogue on Sep 15, 09 1:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Linda will blame bad lighting.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 15, 09 2:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
exactly! or maybe it was that little dog's fault - you know, the one that Anna Throne-Holst brought to Town Hall.

Meanwhile, we still don't have any idea what happened to the millions of dollars that have gone missing from the town budget. Is anyone even searching for it anymore?
By littleplains (305), olde england on Sep 15, 09 2:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
Linda looks sober in the picture.
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Sep 15, 09 2:56 PM
busted
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 15, 09 3:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Bye Bye.
By quogue (12), southampton on Sep 15, 09 4:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
Careful......... dont count your chickens before theyre hatched.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 15, 09 4:42 PM
What a loser! I bet she kept telling arresting officers, don't you know who i am??
By jonnyhampton (29), Southampton on Sep 15, 09 7:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
i have and will continue to support her 100%
By eastender09 (22), southampton on Sep 15, 09 8:26 PM
Kudos to the Press for filing two Freedom of Information Act requests, in an attempt to get a copy of the video. I wonder if, when the video is obtained, it will be available for your readers to view on this website? That would get you guys some record hits.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 15, 09 8:44 PM
I would guess since its evidence .... it will not be given out until after her court case has been completed.
By T.J. (29), WHB on Sep 15, 09 11:29 PM
You can have cold medicine and be in the same condition. Let's give Linda a chance. The millions that are gone were spent under the assumption that they had the funds to underwrite projects. It's the person or person's who misdirected the transfers that are culpable. I don't think that Linda was to blame, but the entire board should have questioned why there was so much more money on hand.

By sunsetter (7), QUOGUE on Sep 16, 09 8:15 AM
Driving while under the influence of cold medicine- now that's brilliant...what a witty retort. By the way, driving under ANYTHING that impairs one's judgment is still considered driving under the influence...
By eastendlocal (28), southampton on Sep 16, 09 8:26 AM
Well as always Linda has answeres for everything and nothing is ever her fault,but not this time since it is on tape.Lets see who she will blame for this one
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Sep 16, 09 9:12 AM
Sam - don't count your chickens before they're hatched?
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? (at 12:25am)
A: "To look for signs of economic recovery after a thunderstorm-filled summer."
The chicken would be lucky to get across the road to make more chickens to hatch.
By Uniblab (24), Southampton on Sep 16, 09 10:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 16, 09 12:14 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 16, 09 12:14 PM
What do you mean by "could be used"? In the absence of a breathalyzer test and a chemical result the tape should be "front and center" of the trial. Or are Kabot supporters hoping that the tape "disappears" or gets "accidentally, on purpose" erased? I can see where this is going........her word against the officers......and the officer will be the loser.........
By MaryMac (43), Riverhead on Sep 16, 09 12:48 PM
What I meant by the chicken remark was dont count Linda out so soon. She still has alot of supporters. Ya never know is all Im sayin.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 16, 09 1:39 PM
@ AlwaysLocal and T.J.:

Our argument--and we certainly will make the case forcefully--is that the video of Ms. Kabot's arrest is documentary information related to the arrest, in the same way the official police report is. Since such information is, by law, available to the public in most instances, we believe the video should likewise be available for public review.

I suspect the argument we will get is that it is evidence in the case. But I think that's beside the point--making ...more
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (200), Hampton Bays on Sep 16, 09 2:02 PM
...going to make myself some popcorn before i watch the video whenever its released.
By slamminsammy (104), East Moriches on Sep 16, 09 3:23 PM
Joe-A police report is evidence and that gets released for public review. Also, there must be a precedent for releasing tapes-I can't believe these requests have not been made in previous cases.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 16, 09 3:35 PM
The "real crime" is what Supervistor Kabot and her predecessor did to our Town budgets. This is just a side show, but a darn good one at that. While you are all giggling about her DWI, her cohorts in this crime will be laughing their way back into office this November. Don't forget that police budget overruns don't suddenly happen on New Year's Eve and that Capital Budget transfers, now totaling millions upon millions of dollars, aren't simply forgotten year after year. This November, taxpayers ...more
By Dodger (143), Southampton Village on Sep 16, 09 4:23 PM
I can tell you exactly what will happen. If she wants to go to trial (which is stupid on her behalf) they will have a grand jury first that will hear the facts that she refused a breathlyzer test, and a blood test, and failed a Field Sobriety Test, plus testimony from the arresting officers. Their conclusion will be that this clearly defines someone that must have guilt, and knew if she took the tests she would fail them. She will be indicted if she wants to follow this path, and no Jury will find ...more
By pch50 (6), Hampton Bays on Sep 16, 09 6:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
pch50, do you know anyone who has ever gotten a DWI or a DWAI? If this is her first offense (and I would imagine that it is) she will not even come close to doing jail time. This will be classified in court as "an isolated incident" and a "rare lapse in judgement," a plea bargain will be reached and her most significant punishment will be losing her license for a year, on top of some fines. Even if no plea deal is reached, and she pleads guilty to the charges, there is no way to establish how ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 16, 09 7:25 PM
Mr Shaw,
I appreciate your updates on this case, and I stand with you on your attempts for the videos. One question though-- Would you, in fact, contemplate posting the video on this site, or are your requests for it simply to be able to commentate more accurately about it in your articles?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 16, 09 7:33 PM
It is hard to think of any evidence of guilt that could be more appropriate and more damning than a video recording of the erratic driving of the suspect. Were all East End police departments to equip their cars thusly, we could terminate the use of the breathalyzer and its enabling of DUI fishing.
By highhatsize (3361), East Quogue on Sep 16, 09 8:09 PM
PCH50: I have to agree with 'alwayslocal' as far as saying, since no one was killed since when have you ever heard of a first time DWI offender receiving such a harsh punishment?? Not in NY state!! If youve read my previous posts in other forums you will see that an ex-relative of mine has THREE DWi's in Suffolk county alone and never lost her license once. Her car insurance went up significantly but thats it. She even pleaded to the judge that if you took her license away then she wouldnt be able ...more
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 16, 09 8:54 PM
In addition, Im assuming her attorney could use her contributions/work to the community as part of her defense???? I dont really know. On the other hand I suppose the judge could be adament about using her as an example.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 16, 09 8:57 PM
Always Local: I appreciate your comments. The public scrutiny will probably be the worst thing that will happens here. But perhaps she will have an epiphany, perhaps she will gain some spiritual insight, that would be cool. Community service would be ideal. Maybe there will be a shift from arrogance to awareness.
By MaryB (19), East Hampton on Sep 16, 09 9:53 PM
One can only hope, MaryB. One can only hope.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 16, 09 10:08 PM
Joe S - If the video is evidentiary in nature (future evidence) is can't be "documentary information" as you stated - you know that, but it sounded good to your readers I guess. Due Process it's called.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Sep 16, 09 11:21 PM
Mr. Shaw, would happen to know if the Sag Harbor police has video recorders on their cars? Also, how does one go about getting pictures of Main Street in Sag Harbor, the Town Clerk [archives’, record holding] only knows that people have donated pictures and didn't take the name of anyone that donated even though one of the persons that did donate was a friend of hers.
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 17, 09 10:35 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By hamptoniteforlife (15), WHB on Sep 17, 09 11:41 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 17, 09 11:46 AM
EE68: It is a redacted police report which is released for public review. The request for release of a videotape that clearly has evidentiary value in a pending prosecution is nothing more than grand-standing by The Southampton Press. They know their request is a loser, but it allows them to keep another aspect of this story alive. A tawdry moment for local journalism.

In reality, The Press needs only to remain passive on the entire Kabot/DWI arrest and -- what a concept! -- report the ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1741), Northampton on Sep 17, 09 11:58 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Frank Wheeler (1741), Northampton on Sep 17, 09 12:03 PM
@AlwaysLocal, EastEnd68, et al:

Our argument would be that it's public information, and if we can get a copy of it, we would post it on the website if possible, sure. If that's not possible--I'm trying to be realistic--we'll view the tape and describe it to the best of our ability. And, I believe, any citizen could do the same if they filed a FOIL request, too. (The Freedom of Information Law is not just for journalists, after all.)

I'm eager to find out myself if there is case ...more
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (200), Hampton Bays on Sep 17, 09 12:53 PM
Joe-thank you for your response. It appears the Press is proceeding in a responsible manner and providing a worthwhile service to their readers. Under the circumstances I think Linda is being treated very fairly.

Keep up the good work.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 17, 09 3:22 PM
The press has a duty to report all aspects of this case. Ms. Kabot is a public figure and her actions can and should be the subject of close scrutiny by the local press and citizenry. There is nothing tawdry about it - unless, of course, you are a republican.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Sep 17, 09 3:24 PM
My daughter was falsely arrested by Southampton town police. She pulled off the road to stop after a blinding migraine. Police claimed she must of ran off the road.Well she passed the breathalyzer, so they assumed it was drugs. This was put in all the news papers and of course the radio and internet. The drug test came back negative, as well as the alcohol test. She had her court date and the case was dismissed. Her name is Linda also.
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Sep 18, 09 2:35 AM
2 members liked this comment
I'm sorry for your daughter, but not for Kabot. Kabot refused a brethalyzer.
By nicole (96), Hampton Bays on Sep 26, 09 12:58 PM
I didn't really have an opinion of Linda Kabot before, but now I think she is a lying piece of trash. Anyone who drives drunk is. Now she is appealing her license being suspended by DMV for not taking a Breathalyzer. You can bet that when November election time comes, people will be out there picketing - I'll be the one holding the sign that says, "A Drunk Driver for Supervisor? What Next - Crackhead for Judge?"
By LovedHerTown (118), southampton on Sep 18, 09 7:03 AM
Actually there were alot of Linda-supporters out last night.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 18, 09 10:48 AM
LovedHerTown
In order to state that Kabot is a piece of trash you would have to know beyond a reasonable doubt that she was drunk. Also for you to call someone a lier would you not have to know that person personally.
I do hope that people like you and anyone who blogged any negative comments " drunk" are not picked for any jury.
The police do make mistakes. I see in one of your other blogs you also think that police officers get away with certain things, e.g. making u turns etc. It ...more
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Sep 18, 09 12:07 PM
Linda, you just should have come out and said, "Sorry, I made a mistake and I will go to classes and fix the problem" INSTEAD......you blame everyone else and you look terrible. The cops were just doing there job, they didn't make you drink & drive. You made that decision. Now live with the results instead of pointing fingers.
By Middleman (16), east quogue on Sep 18, 09 4:03 PM
Middleman-you miss the point, Linda views herself as special. She does not understand the words "I made a mistake"
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 18, 09 4:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Kabot should be voted out of office! That will be her penalty for not having the common sense that someone of her stature requires from her own employees. Linda, you are an employee of the voters and we want you to know THAT WE WILL NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!
By Walt (265), Southampton on Sep 18, 09 6:13 PM
Those of you with all the negative comments were you in the car with Kabot.
Do you know for sure beyond a reasonable doubt that she was drunk?
In response to Walt
In one of your other blogs regarding the arrest of the coach from the high school you said that this person appears to be a good influence on children, has made a difference and deserves the communities support and should be able to keep his job. Did you not read that article, this coach was in possession of heroin & a hypodermic ...more
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Sep 18, 09 10:02 PM
Golfbuddy, there's a big difference between being an elected official, representing an entire community, and being a gym teacher.

the DWI is not what has so many people upset... It's the fact that yet again, this public official blames others for her mistake and refuses to admit any wrongdoing whatsoever. It's an ongoing pattern, in everything she does. From the missing town $$ to her own personal adventures in alcohol, it's never her fault.

thats pretty lame.
By littleplains (305), olde england on Sep 18, 09 11:32 PM
3 members liked this comment
Littleplains: yes there is a huge difference between being an elected official and being a gym teacher: the gym teacher is a role model for CHILDREN!!!! Golfbuddy: you are right on the money with your comment!
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Sep 19, 09 8:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
littleplains
And once again you have no idea what you are talking about. In my view you are not a Kabot supporter you would not have voted for her anyway. Get serious and read the paper, who is the one making the hard decisions cutting the budget. Kabot is the only town board member who has cut anything from the budget. The supervisor is the chief financial officer and it is that's person job to prepare the budget. If your saying the past mistakes were her's you are dead wrong.
BTW it took ...more
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Sep 19, 09 10:47 AM
Kabot was on the board for during the Heaney administration, and was assistant to Vince Cannuscio...do you really expect people to believe that she has no blame for the financial mess in our town?
Anna Throne-Holst and Sally Pope wanted the audits immediately!!! Anna Throne-Holst asked for audits a month into her term because things were not adding up. Your candidate blocked it.
Why was Linda on the board for all those years and never asked for an audit? Either she went along with the “financial ...more
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Sep 19, 09 11:13 PM
I'm still asking...how could Guild run for legistlature??? We have more comments about a town Supervisor than someone running for suffolk Legistlature??? People where the heck are your minds at???!!!???
By the way ...although drunk driving is reckless and a horrible possibly deadly thing to do..".Deliberate" 8mil. and counting on mortgage fraud...ruining countless communities and properties in doing so...and now add on insurance fraud! People again WHERE ARE YOUR MINDS AT???!!!! WHO WILL STEP ...more
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Sep 20, 09 7:12 AM
WRONG !! The arresting officer is a very moral, man , and is currently a US Army reservist, who was on active duty in Iraq .... he also currently doesnt even live in SHT, ( Brookhaven ). No Political afilliations.
By T.J. (29), WHB on Sep 20, 09 2:31 PM
SHNative
What does Kabot being assistant to Cannuscio have to due with anything?
No one blocked the request for an audit (thats just not true). ATH and Pope did request it and all the board members voted to approve. They did not do any of the work that it took to find were the money was spent. The audit firm that was hired did all the work.
So if you want to give them any credit for asking, that would be correct. Let me ask what else have any of them done besides ask for an audit? Did ...more
By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Sep 20, 09 7:24 PM
Will Linda do the honerable thing and resign and spend time with her family and legal council,maby Patrick Heaney could could fill in the remainder of her term,after all he got us into this financial mess and with his abelity to balance a budget we will have a surplus in no time,just a suggestion to the grand old party
By Etians rd (414), Southampton on Sep 20, 09 9:08 PM
Golfbuddy
The Democrats never had a majority under Heaney.....
Linda was on the board for all of the mismanagement and the spending explosion in Southampton Town.
Why didn't Linda Kabot request audits when she was councilwoman?
Please explain why??
She could have saved the taxpayers millions...but she didn't.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Sep 21, 09 12:07 PM
golfbuddy, The democrats had a majority? No. They did not. As usual, you will not allow facts to get in your way.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Sep 21, 09 12:46 PM
SHNative & people first
Are you positive the democrats never held the majority under Heaney?
Heaney took office in 1/2002, the democrat majority was Zenk, Kenny & Suskind in 02 & 03. In 03 to 05 it was Suskind and Kenny. Then Kenny in 06 & 07.
Please explain why none of the democrats asked for an audit in those years of the spending explosion? Where were they? Please explain why?


By golfbuddy (180), hampton bays on Sep 21, 09 2:09 PM
Golf Buddy is correct. Democrats had majority 2002-2003 during Heaney's first term when Suskind joined Zenk and Kenny on the board. From 2004 thru 2007 both Kabot and Graboski swung over often enough to to provide a third vote against Heaney on numerous occaisions.

One of the myths of Southampton town politics is the idea of some sort of iron fisted lock step Republican rule. While Republicans have clearly controlled the Supervisor's seat for much of the 30+ years rarely have they had ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Sep 21, 09 2:28 PM
This is to Joseph Shaw: I know it was in California but not New York but wasn't the Rodney King video shown extensively before, during and after the trial? That's why the riots started--the verdict clearly contradicted the video.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Sep 21, 09 6:17 PM
???
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 23, 09 10:25 AM
Inexperienced drinker Party=taxi
By equogue (1), southampton on Sep 22, 09 4:40 PM
i wonder, if the police were over zealous in this one case, woud that not call for review of all dwi charges in whb. we all know that aint gonna happen. but it would be fun to watch.
By ratboy (17), sousd-hampton on Sep 23, 09 8:24 AM
Remnants, area rugs, rolls in stock