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Justice parole attorney allowed to argue case

The man who killed his parents, brother and a fellow Kenmore resident in 1985 has agreed to allow his parole attorney to represent him in his effort either to be returned to prison or released from custody.

John Justice has raised complaints about his dual-custody status with the state prison system and the state Office of Mental Health.

State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia on Wednesday assigned attorney Barry S. Dolgoff to the custody case, which was adjourned to 11 a.m. April 25.

Buscaglia refused to hear arguments, including what Justice, 39, told the judge was a handwritten "opening statement" he had prepared in his Erie County Holding Center cell.

The shackled Justice told the judge he "would need help" on the motion he personally filed over a week ago to get released from the Holding Center, where he has been since August.

State parole officers arrested Justice last Aug. 7 and accused him of threatening the staff at a Buffalo halfway house where he had been sent for mental and anger-management counseling two years ago.

After his arrest on the threat allegations, Justice told parole officers he would rather return to prison to complete the remaining eight years of his sentence than continue with halfway house counseling, which he found useless.

Justice was convicted in 1992 of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the deaths of his mother, Mary, 37, and Kenmore neighbor Wayne Haun, 22, in September 1985.

Because an earlier Buffalo jury in 1986 found him not guilty by reason of insanity in the murders of his father, John W., 37, and brother, Mark, 13, also on that same September day, he has been under the joint control of state prison officials and state mental health officials because of his schizophrenia.

Buscaglia turned down efforts by Buffalo television stations to film the court session.

After confirming that Dolgoff already had been assigned to be Justice's attorney at a May 16 hearing before a state parole panel concerning the 30-year prison term he was given, the judge obtained Justice's consent for Dolgoff also to handle his jail custody case.

As Justice began to speak about the "opening statement" he had prepared, the judge told him he didn't want to hear anything until Dolgoff was notified and appears in court in two weeks.

James L. Tuppen, an assistant Erie County attorney representing the Erie County Sheriff's Office, which operates the Holding Center, confirmed that Justice is there under a state parole detainer lodged last August.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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