An open letter to Justice Edward Lehner on denying 9/11 justice

An open letter to Justice Edward Lehner on denying 9/11 justice
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Oct 14, 2009

Justice Lehner of the New York State Supreme Court: When did the call come to decide against this ballot initiative, or was it simply your own thought to rubberstamp Referee Louis Crespo’s recommendation that the decision to establish a local commission to investigate the events of September 11, 2001, not be put before the voters? This is despite the fact that 80,000 New Yorkers have already signed and submitted a petition to do so via NYC CAN. Obviously, now it can’t, at least not for a while.

After showing what, in retrospect, seems to have been perhaps a feigned interest in weighing both sides’ arguments in the hearing, your somewhat short decision gives no indication that you seriously considered the petitioners’ memorandum of law or the “will of the people” it represented. You did not acknowledge the need for a new investigation, knowing full well New York City has never had, in any way, shape or form, its own independent investigation of the events of that awful day, that catastrophic day, on which the greatest crime on American soil was committed, right here in New York City, in fact not far from your courtroom.

Moreover, your rejection of the ballot initiative in effect agrees with and supports the City of New York’s callous dismissal of this investigation request as “irrelevant.” Irrelevant to what: the interests of the victims’ families and their quest for answers and justice; the citizenry as a whole’s interest in who and how a massive US intelligence organization, the military’s NORAD system, the multiple warnings from nations around the world to the Oval Office of a precipitous event like 9/11 were about to occur? All were ignored, dismissed, and somehow everyone was found asleep at the wheel in New York City and Washington, D.C., when and where the principal damage occurred.

Is this truly “irrelevant” to you or is it “undesirable” to certain voices that may have asked you to dismiss, not to embrace this chance to set a new level of justice, to reach a new level of thoroughness of information and/or of impartiality above and beyond the original 9/11 Commission, often referred to as the Commission of Omission? This, seeing how all of its members were tied to the Bush administration in one way or the other, and were neither impartial, fully informed of the events, and by their own admission, “doomed to failure.”

Were you, too, “doomed to failure” by any visible or invisible “arm twisting,” the phone call, the voice in the night whispering “no,” the threat of a curtailed career? Could that possibly be? Or do you from the bottom of your heart agree that the 3,000 souls that perished at the World Trade Center did not merit another investigation, that their lives were expendable, the fatalities of an unpleasant inciting incident for a War on Terror very much like Pearl Harbor, which all of America had to suck up in 1941, in order to facilitate a late entry into a World War against the Axis?

Of course, there was nothing but a military investigation then which made scapegoats of the Pearl Harbor’s Naval Commanders’ Kimmel and Short, who, according to military law were not present at their trial, the same which helped to dismiss them for dereliction of duty, an albatross which hung about their necks until they died. The fact that critical information about the attack was never passed to them from FDR was not mentioned. Is this the kind of justice we are talking about for 9/11/2001’s perpetrators, handpicking 19 photos from an FBI file in a matter of days, without further investigation, and presenting those images to the world, fait accomplis, as the culprits? Is that the kind of kangaroo court and justice we hand to the Republic of America, not to mention the people of New York City?

Can you live with that, Justice Lehner, knowing that literally volumes of new information have been discovered by scientists, engineers, pilots, architects, journalists around the world concerning the veracity of the 9/11 cataclysm? Are you willing to go to sleep at night thinking that you missed the greatest opportunity of a lifetime to pursue an inquiry that could affect a war-torn world, the primary outcome of an improperly examined crime, including the destruction of its scene by an overly ambitious Mayor Giuliani, who had the “cleanup” performed in eight months when in fact he had a year and a half to do the job?

The second effect of the careless destruction of the crime scene left a second round of slaughter for first responders, 10,000 of them, who were pushed to work night and day at Ground Zero, and mostly without even paper face masks. These are the same men and women now suffering life-threatening respiratory diseases, cancers of all kinds, severe psychological disorders, personal bankruptcies due to overwhelming medical bills, even the breakup of families that could not weather the emotional strain. And now these very people, those left standing, are petitioning for redress. Imagine what a new investigation would mean to them as well, and how it would impact on compensation for their ailing, waning lives.

This is a crisis of conscience that you are facing, Your Honor, whether you realize it or not. History is determined by men like you in important positions, who are called upon at some time to make extraordinary decisions -- in this case, whether or not to dismiss the notion of “irrelevancy” of this ballot initiative, and admit the possibility of a new investigation as totally relevant. This is no more “irrelevant” than justice itself. And yes, you can help take the blinders off of Justice and put some real weight on those scales she carries, those scales by which our lives, our times, and history are weighed by the future as they will be today. Do not pass on this opportunity history has handed you. It is in fact a gift.

Consider your own soul and inner being, your own well-being, and your family’s. How they, too, need for justice not to be delayed or denied, but to be granted by the one man who now stands as their head, and has the courage, the wisdom, the heart to expedite this new investigation, in spite of all the cynical voices surrounding him that wish to compromise the very meaning of justice.

Your ruling that modifying the petition to make it “legally permissible” would result in it being “inconsistent with the law sought by the signatories of the petition. This was despite the fact that all 80,000 signatories agreed by signing the petition that “If any provision of this law is held to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions shall be in manner affected thereby but shall remain in full force and effect.”

Therefore, I urge you, Your Honor, to reconsider, to make this not another dark day for democracy as the shining, blue-skied day of 9/11 was. Make this a brighter day for justice and yourself as a justice. And thus make it a brighter day for New York, America, and the peace of the world.

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Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at His new book, “State Of Shock: Poems from 9/11 on” is available at, Amazon or