Limping and using a walking staff to enter Kenmore Village Court Tuesday, former television newsman Henry Simon pleaded not guilty to charges of driving while intoxicated, having an open liquor bottle in a vehicle, failure to use a seat belt, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.
Village Justice J. Mark Gruber confiscated Simon's license pending trial, which will be sometime this fall, saying that the state motor vehicle law required him to do so until the matter is settled.
Simon's attorney, Glenn Edward Murray, a recognized expert on DWI law, instructed his client not to talk to the media. Murray said he, too, would not comment on the case while it was pending but would "have plenty to say when it was over."
Simon, 56, was arrested Sept. 15 on Kenmore Avenue, where Kenmore police officers had an afternoon roadblock to check for seat belt use. Simon said that he was not wearing his seat belt because he does not believe in them but that Kenmore police pulled him from his car, slammed him to the sidewalk and, when he identified himself as the editor of the Jewish Review, mocked him with ethnic slurs.
Police Chief Samuel Camilleri said that his men neither used racial or ethnic epithets nor abused Simon. Rather, police said, Simon was belligerent, seemingly drunk and had open liquor bottles in his car and, when stopped, tried to drive away, brushing an officer with his car. That's when they pulled him from the vehicle and arrested him.
His attorney called for pretrial arguments to be heard in Village Court on Oct. 24, with a trial to follow later this year.
Because Simon refused to allow a blood test at Kenmore Mercy Hospital -- which the village has used for years, saying it is far more accurate than a Breathalyzer -- state law mandates that his license be lifted pending a trial.
"That's a little like Alice in Wonderland," his attorney said. "First the punishment, then the trial."