Share this article

print logo

Law clerk who tried to prevent daughter's DWI arrest gets talking-to

Ronald J. Winter, a veteran Niagara County attorney who was taped last year allegedly trying to talk a Niagara County deputy sheriff out of arresting his daughter on a drunken driving charge, faced little in the way of consequences.

A spokesman for the state court system said Friday that Winter, confidential law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., met in the late fall with Western New York's top judge, Justice Paula L. Feroleto, for a discussion about the case.

"The individual, Ronald Winter, was referred to the administrative judge for the 8th Judicial District," said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration. "He was counseled by her and I'm told a letter was placed in his permanent employment file."

Chalfen said the matter was investigated by the OCA Inspector General's Office, and the report was referred to Justice Michael V. Coccoma, deputy chief administrative judge for the courts outside New York City.

Coccoma reviewed the matter and decided on the penalty.

Winter and Sheriff James R. Voutour declined to comment on the matter Friday.

Winter had allegedly tried to use his connections to prevent Deputy Timothy Caughel from arresting Rachel J. Winter, then 21, after she was pulled over in Lockport about 3 a.m. on Nov. 24, 2016.

After asking Caughel three times not to arrest his daughter, Winter asked who his supervisors were that night. Caughel identified them as Lt. Steve Broderick and Capt. Jill Herrington.

When the woman was taken to Sheriff's Headquarters, Broderick allegedly convinced Caughel not to charge her with DWI. A reckless driving charge was filed instead.

The DWI charge was reinstated in March after an internal investigation that resulted in unspecified disciplinary action against Broderick, who is the Lewiston town supervisor, and Herrington.

Because of connections between Ronald Winter and judges and prosecutors, Rachel Winter's case was transferred to Niagara Falls City Court with Orleans County DA Joseph V. Cardone as prosecutor.

On May 16, Judge Robert P. Merino granted a defense motion to dismiss the DWI and reckless driving charges.

Rachel Winter pleaded guilty to failure to keep right and an equipment violation. She received a conditional discharge and paid $146 in surcharges.

There are no comments - be the first to comment