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Daily News: Hitting 'em where they live

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Posted by GET NY on 16:31:58 04/18/05

Hitting 'em where they live

Daily News
April 18, 2005

Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes took a hard line on residency laws when he prosecuted Brooklyn political gadfly John O'Hara for voting in city elections using an address that Hynes said was not O'Hara's real domicile. But the DA is a lot more relaxed on residency rules where his staff is concerned.

Today's case in point: First Assistant District Attorney Dino Amoroso. State law requires most city prosecutors to live in the five boroughs. Amoroso is covered by that statute, yet he has lived on Long Island since before joining Hynes' staff in 1990. Amoroso, who is paid $149,000 a year, is not alone in living outside the city. About a third of Hynes' staff lives in the suburbs.

The DA defends ignoring the law on the grounds that, in his view, the statute is unconstitutional because Manhattan assistant district attorneys are exempt. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown takes the same position regarding his many staff members who reside elsewhere. Even if they're both right, Amoroso deserves special comment.

He owns a home in Nassau County, where he has long lived with his wife and children. He registers his car there and lists the address on his driver's license. He pays local taxes and claims nonresident status to avoid paying the city income tax. Yet Amoroso votes in Queens using as his address a home occupied by his parents.

Hmmm. Living in one place and voting in another. Sounds like the crime for which Hynes convicted O'Hara after three trials. We're not arguing that Hynes should put Amoroso in the dock. We cite the facts only to show how wrong Hynes and the state Court of Appeals were to make a felony of the hazy concept of defining a primary residence.

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