A court hearing — one of the first of its kind in the state — held Thursday in an Albany County child sex crimes case is allowing defense attorneys the ability to visit the alleged crime scene. This comes following the implementation of new law outlining discovery rules in investigations.
Brian Angelo, also known as DJ IROC, is accused of child sex crimes. Police say Angelo abused a 12-year-old girl in 2009. He was arrested and charged in January of last year on similar charges.
Under new criminal justice reforms passed in 2019, attorneys are able to hold a hearing to ask to visit where a crime is alleged to have happened. In this case, that’s the Jamz 96.3 radio station in Latham where Angelo worked.
"This wasn't somebody's home residence. This is a place of business. There's no real privacy interests that are implicated here so it was the result we hoped for," said Defense Attorney Joel Abelove.
Abelove says this will better allow him to understand where the crime is alleged to have happened. And while Abelove is praising the judge’s decision, Albany County District Attorney David Soares says the law needs to be fixed.
Soares says he worries about the burden a site visit can have on a victim. He says while this instance does not involve someone's home, another case may.
Soares says in rape and domestic violence cases, in particular, having a defense attorney visit somewhere like the victim's home or place of business could re-traumatize someone trying to heal from abuse.
"When you talk about traumatizing a rape victim the first time, the criminal justice process is the second time that you're traumatizing them. But now, we have yet a third opportunity to traumatize," Soares said.
Albany Law Professor Mary Lynch was inside the courtroom on Thursday. She views this as a learning experience, saying rulings like these will help determine where the law goes from here.
"We're going to be together saying how did Judge Lynch decide this? How did some judge in Buffalo decide this? What is the legislature going to do?" Lynch said.
Abelove will be able to visit the scene Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.