Friday, September 7, 2007

He's only gotten older

When the six year-old died at a hospital, she weighed 43 pounds and her body was covered in bruises, her feet were caked with layers of dirt and she smelled of vomit and urine. Her death in 1987, stunned even her New York City neighbors.

What was discovered after her death, chilled and horrified not only a city, but it seems, a nation. It was discovered that Joel Steinberg had abused his daughter, Lisa for weeks leading up to the "staggering blow" that killed her. He freebased cocaine and ate dinner during the eight hours that she lay unconscious in the bathroom of his Greenwich Village apartment before anyone sought help for her. The medical examiner stated that she had lingered for 8-10 before she died.

It was later found that Steinberg had systematically beaten Hetta for years and the two children they had adopted, had not been legally adopted at all. He had used his position as an attorney to lead the birth mothers to believe that their children would be placed in good homes. Instead, Steinberg kept Lisa and her younger "brother" Mitchell in what was found to be a life "in hell."

Steinberg was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Lisa and sentenced to 8 1/3 to25 years in prison. Hetta was finally free of the monster who had beaten her so severely for years that few recognised who she was. Mitchell was placed with his birth mother, after she sued for custody of him.

Joel Steinberg finally walked free from prison after being turned down numerous times for parole and finally "maxed-out." He spent 17 years in prison and never admitted any part in Lisa's death. He is now back in court trying to persuade the stae's highest court to set aside the $15 million in damages he has been ordered to pay.
Steinberg, 66, states that the judgement against him was unfair. In 2004, Manhatten Supreme Court Justice Louis York ordered him to pay the money to Michele Launders, Lisa's birth mother, after she had sued Steinberg as executor of her daughter's estate.

When he was interviewed at his Harlem apartment, Steinberg stated that he had waived his right to argue his case at the state Court of Appeals and had submitted written arguments instead. He stated that the tabloid media would have turned his court appearance into a circus. Evidently, Steinberg must think life is a circus because he felt that he has a good chance of winning. He feels that the quality of his legal briefs and the medical reports that showed Lisa had no serious injuries would help him.

Steinberg continues in his fantasy by claiming in his court papers that he was a "doting, responsible parent," with a very happy child. He still feels that he had been unfairly made to look like the bad guy by newspaper stories that detailed Lisa's death.

In January 2007, the Appellate Division panel upheld York's judgement but because two of the five thought Steinberg should not pay for past abuse of Lisa, he is allowed to take his case to Albany. That same panel wrote that Steinberg is "as devoid of any empathy or human emotion" now, as he was the night Lisa died.

"I'll continue to labor and live in poverty. I'll have my salary garnished at 10%. But maybe I'll go to another court," stated Steinberg in response to the question of losing.

Steinberg has been disbarred and now has to labor like a "common man" to pay his bills. It is still obvious that he is taking no responsibilty for the death of Lisa, at his hands and like O J Simpson, should be hounded to his last day for every penny that can be gotten from him for her death.

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