As reported by The Buffalo News, Donald Lewinski was charged with criminally negligent homicide following a 2020 altercation with another patron at a restaurant in West Seneca, NY. During the confrontation, Mr. Lewinski pushed the other patron who fell, hit his head, and subsequently passed away.
The Buffalo News article states “Covert, who worked with fellow attorney Justin D. Ginter on the case, said his office wrote a long letter to the prosecution laying the grounds for a self-defense claim.”
In New York State Supreme Court, Justice Sheila A. DiTullio made a ruling to dismiss the indictment against Donald Lewinski, clearing him of criminally negligent homicide charges. The Buffalo News reports that in her decision, Judge DiTullo indicated that she didn’t believe Lewiniski was blameless in the whole ordeal, however she stated “the facts of the case don’t support such serious criminal charges.”
In an interview with WGRZ regarding his client’s dismissed indictment, Mr. Covert stated “the prosecutor has an obligation to instruct the grand jury that they can look at whether this was self-defense.” The Buffalo News reported that the judge in the case addressed this issue, stating “DiTullio said it was wrong for the prosecution to fail to instruct the grand jury on the issue of self defense.”
The Buffalo News’s story went on to detail Judge DiTullio’s ruling in the case, stating ‘”There was a risk apparent from the fact that a death occurred; however, it was not so substantial, or of such a nature or degree, that a reasonable person would be under a duty to perceive it,” DiTullio wrote in her decision. “Instead, it is more likely that a reasonable person would not expect any risk of death from a single push, and would be shocked by such a result.”’