Former County Legislator David Dale remains in the Erie County Correctional Facility after his latest effort to overturn convictions for fraud and illegally practicing law was denied by the Appellate Division in Rochester.
District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Thursday that the appeals panel last week denied Dale’s claim that he was poorly represented by defense attorney Thomas Eoannou and that he had been “bullied” by prosecutors.
The former legislator, a Buffalo Democrat, was disbarred from practicing law in 2005 and convicted of criminal contempt in 2011 for disobeying court orders prohibiting him from practicing law.
A grand jury indicted Dale on charges of collecting more than $10,000 in illegal fees from seven unsuspecting clients for estate and real estate work between August 2008 and January 2011.
When Dale pleaded guilty last June, he admitted stealing money from clients by pretending he was still permitted to provide legal services, several years after his 2005 disbarment.
Sedita said Dale’s latest legal maneuver involved a suit against him and State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns, who sentenced him to a year in jail last October.
But the district attorney said the appellate judges unanimously rejected Dale’s suit and refused to set aside his conviction.
Sedita noted that Dale, acting as his own attorney, also has filed a motion in U.S. District Court to be released from jail. But he said he doubted the effort would be heard on the federal level since
Dale has not exhausted all appeals in New York State courts.
“Before federal courts get involved, the person submitting the petition must first demonstrate that,” Sedita said Thursday. “I don’t think Mr. Dale has exhausted all his [state] remedies.”
When he was sentenced by Burns last year, Dale cited his past community service and the special medical needs of his young daughter as reasons against a jail sentence.
But Burns called Dale’s actions an affront against not just those whose money he took, but also against the legal profession.