But O’Hara said that he would now take his legal battle to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. This despite the decision by federal Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern district court in Brooklyn to back the conviction of O’Hara in a case brought by the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes.
Judge Gleeson, in a decision read from the bench on Friday, March 7, said that he did not think that there had been a substantial showing of a denial of O’Hara’s constitutional rights in the case. He said he was denying the appeal on its merits.
O’Hara has been banned from voting in his native Brooklyn because he voted from his girlfriend’s address and not his own home some distance away, during several elections in 1992 and ’93.
He is the first New Yorker to be convicted of voting fraud since suffragette Susan B. Anthony in 1876.
O’Hara has charged that the case against him was generated by a Democratic Party leadership in King’s County angered by his maverick political activity over the years.
O’Hara ran for various offices as a Democrat in opposition to the party leadership’s choice. He has also managed campaigns for others not on the party’s official slate.
The most powerful figure in the Brooklyn Democratic Party is District Attorney Hynes. The DA’s office finally made a conviction against O’Hara stick after a third trial of the case concluded in State Supreme Court 1999. That conviction was upheld by a state appeals court.
Normally, it would not be possible to appeal to federal court after such a conclusion, but O’Hara was able to do so because the 1,500 hours of community service he received as part of his sentence was viewed by the federal court as a form of incarceration.
“I was convicted for registering and voting out of an address that was not my permanent residence,