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Kane comes to court, tracked by cameras

About an hour before Patrick Kane's 2 p.m. arraignment, news cameras were stationed on Delaware Avenue outside Buffalo City Court waiting for him to arrive.

   When the 20-year-old Chicago Blackhawk did, along with his attorney and parents, the cameras and reporters followed them through the metal detectors and up to the seventh floor of the courthouse. But they were stopped just outside Chief Judge Thomas P. Amodeo's courtroom door.

   Per the request of defense attorneys, cameras were kept out of the court proceeding.

   Both Patrick T. Kane and his cousin, James M. Kane, 21, pleaded not guilty to charges of third-degree assault and theft of services, both misdemeanors, and harassment, a violation, during a five-minute arraignment.

   After today's court appearance, Patrick Kane addressed reporters outside the courthouse. Listen to his statement here.

Kane arraignment FOR WEB

   Above: Kane is pictured after giving his statement to reporters. (Photo by Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

   An Erie County grand jury convened last week indicted the Kane cousins on the above charges, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita said Wednesday.

  -Here's the story on the latest developments.

   The Kanes are accused of beating 62-year-old cab driver Jan Radecki, leaving him with a broken nose and broken glasses.

   Patrick Kane, a South Buffalo native, participated in orientation camp for the U.S. Olympic team earlier this week.

   James Kane initially hired Daniel Barry Jr., an attorney who works in the Buffalo Legal Aid Bureau, shortly after his arrest. When he came to court today, he was represented by prominent Buffalo defense attorney Joel L. Daniels.

   Patrick Kane's attorney is Paul J. Cambria Jr., another high-profile Buffalo attorney.

   --Aaron Besecker

Why cab driver's license issue is important

I've gotten several e-mails and phone calls from outraged readers who think The Buffalo News was fed information about Jan Radecki's past by Patrick Kane's attorney in an attempt to discredit the Buffalo cab driver. Radecki has accused the 20-year-old National Hockey League star and his cousin, James M. Kane, 21, of robbing and assaulting him.

   The paper is "blaming the victim," critics say, and playing into the hand of Paul Cambria Jr., Patrick Kane's high-profile defense attorney.

   Andrew lotempio for web Radecki's attorney, Andrew C. LoTempio (pictured right, Derek Gee/Buffalo News), said this to me on Wednesday: "It sounds to me like the newspaper is trying to villainize my client."

   These claims are untrue. We await court proceedings, including today's session before a grand jury, that will reveal what really happened in the cab early Sunday morning. Meanwhile, The News is investigating all aspects of the case. The stories about the license are just the first pieces of information to come to light.

   The stories about the cabbie's license, while calling into question Radecki's character, are not an attempt to make excuses for what the Kanes may have done in that cab. Keep in mind, though, that those are only allegations.

   Here's how some stories, including this one, develop in the newsroom:

   The News has amassed an internal database of public records. All reporters, editors and newsroom Library Director David Valenzuela regularly use the database when researching stories. The database includes information from voter registration, property and public payroll records. When possible, we go to the agencies and offices who maintain that information to corroborate what we've found.

   A search of our database yielded court records of Jan Radecki's past convictions, including one in Buffalo City Court for drunk driving. (See image below)

Radecki screen shot for web

   The newspaper also has access to a state Department of Motor Vehicles database, which a few members of staff can search for more information based on search results of public records.

   The DMV audits our searches periodically, and we have to substantiate the searches we've done. We can't just "go fishing" for a person's driving record. If we can't prove we were searching for a good reason, we lose our access.

   So the background on the cab driver came from our own research, not from Kane's lawyer.Paul cambria for web

   I asked Cambria (pictured right, Bill Wippert/Buffalo News) when I spoke to him earlier this week whether he knew about the cabbie's past. He said he did, but did not want to be the source of any of that information.

   In a story published today, and as a result of days of research, The News has found the DMV investigating possible fraud since Radecki applied for a new license under a different name and address after a drunk driving conviction in 1999.

   That could be criminal, Chautauqua County District Attorney David W. Foley told The News.

   LoTempio, his attorney, said his client is willing to do "whatever he needs to do to straighten it out."

   Allegations about lying to the DMV are relevant in this situation because they speak to a portion of Radecki's character. They raise questions about whether what he said happened in his cab last weekend are completely true.

   Think about it this way -- what if you were accused of a crime by someone with Radecki's background? Would you think this information was worth knowing then?

  -- Aaron Besecker

Hockey without the sound of the slapshot

   I've watched hundreds of youth hockey games over the last dozen years, as an assistant coach dating back to my son's days as a Mite player.

   But I'm planning on attending another one this weekend, a game featuring the national youth deaf hockey team as part of the USA Hockey Disabled Festival at the Amherst Pepsi Center.

   I can't wait to see a game pitting the deaf team against a local hearing team.

   It's not just because of the white strobe lights that will flash every time the whistle blows, to alert the deaf skaters.

   What really sounds intriguing is the way they're going to play the second period of each game. No coaches or players on either team are allowed to talk. The punishment: a minute-and-a-half penalty for talking.

   That's a terrific concept. All of us who take hearing for granted will understand, perhaps for the first time, what it's like to be deaf — at least for a few minutes.

   And that's how you really raise awareness about a disability.

   -- Gene Warner

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