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Once again, the coverup was worse than the crime

   Some people never learn.

   It's always the coverup that sinks them in the end.

   Now, the careers of State Supreme Court Justice Joseph G. Makowski and former prosecutor Anne E. Adams are in ruins.

   Makowski resigned in disgrace Friday and Adams pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors for their roles in trying to clear her in a drunken-driving case.

   District Attorney Frank Sedita calls it a "pathetic episode."

   Actually, it has all the makings of a 'Law & Order' "Ripped From the Headlines" episode.

   On Friday, Adams pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving, offering a false instrument for filing and attempted tampering with physical evidence linked to her Sept. 2 drunken driving arrest in the Town of Hamburg.

   Adams' plea to attempted tampering stems from her actions in securing her own blood sample on Sept. 3 -- the day after her DWI arrest -- and getting her physician to lie about when he drew the blood so she could fool authorities into believing she was not drunk the previous evening.

   Had Adams just pleaded guilty to a DWI charge last September, she wouldn't be in the mess she's in today.

   Sure, she probably would have lost her shot at becoming a judge -- she was eying an open seat on the State Supreme Court late last summer -- had she pleaded to the drunken-driving charge as entitled under the law.

   "A DWI would have screwed that up," Sedita said of her judicial ambition.

   But at least she would have kept her law license.

   Now, keeping her law license seems unlikely, Sedita said.

   And she may lose her University at Buffalo Law School job, too.

   As for Makowski, if he hadn't submitted a false affidavit on her behalf, he would have five more years on the bench, making $136,700 a year.

   Instead, his forced resignation takes effect March 5.

   Sedita didn't file charges against the judge, in return for his recanting the false affidavit, cooperating with prosecutors and resigning his judgeship.

   Some might question letting the judge walk away without any criminal charges.

   What do you think?

  -- Patrick Lakamp

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Crime & Courts
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