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JUDGE'S APOLOGY ENDS CASE OF SUBMERGED POLICE PAGER

A city court judge has apologized to a Buffalo police lieutenant, resolving a short-lived controversy stemming from the judge's decision to teach the officer a lesson about turning off all electronic devices before entering any local courtroom, court sources say.

City Judge David M. Manz dunked a pager belonging to Lt. Joseph Makowski into a glass of water May 15 when the pager went off in Manz's courtroom.

Chief City Judge Thomas P. Amodeo helped resolve the dispute between the two but declined further comment. Manz and Makowski also declined to comment.

But law enforcement and court sources familiar with the dispute confirmed that during a closed-door meeting Wednesday in Amodeo's chambers, Manz apologized -- orally and in writing -- to Makowski, who accepted the apologies.

Because Makowski's criminal complaint was withdrawn, Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark's office never got involved in the tempest-in-a-courtroom, sources said.

Clark and John J. DeFranks, first deputy district attorney, both declined comment on the matter.

On May 15, as Makowski was leaving Manz's courtroom at 50 Delaware Avenue, his pager, which court rules required to be turned off, went off, and the judge sent an Erie County sheriff's deputy into the hall to retrieve the device.

After ordering the reluctant deputy to throw the pager into a glass of water Manz dunked the device himself, shorting all its circuits.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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