Former Judge: Reverse Racism Kept Me From Giving A White Man A Fair Trial

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A retired Brooklyn Supreme Court judge wants a verdict thrown out and a white Brooklyn man set free after he convicted of him of murder in 1999.

Former judge Frank Barbaro, 86, says his judgment was skewed by his own reverse racism.

Donald Kagan, 39, was convicted of shooting a 22-year-old African American man, Wavell Wint, outside a movie theater in East New York in 1998.

Kagan shot Wint after the two struggled over Kagan’s chain. He was convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Wint left behind a 4-year-old son, Wavel Wint, Jr.

“Mr. Kagan had no intent to kill that man,” Barbaro told Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice ShawnDya Simpson. “I believe now that I was seeing this young white fellow as a bigot, as someone who assassinated an African-American.”

He said he was unable to stop thinking about the trial. He contacted Kagan’s attorney, Jeff Adler, once he came to realize he had denied him a fair trial.

“I never took it out of my mind. I started reading in the papers that lots of defendants were sent to death or life in prison but were subsequently exonerated. Reading those stories began to affect me,” Barbaro said. “I was prejudiced during the trial. I realized I made a terrible mistake and there was a man in jail because of my mistake.”

Adler filed a motion to overturn the conviction in 2011.

“I shouldn’t be back here reliving the past. I thought everything was over with,” Wint Jr. told The Post.

“He should be ashamed of himself as a judge,” Wint Jr.’s mom, Carmen De Jesus, said of the former judge.

Sources: New York Post, Daily Mail