New York Daily News

November 18, 2004

Cop gets 2nd shot at perp

BY TONY SCLAFANI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

NYPD detective David Gonzalez was nearly silenced when a bullet came within an inch of killing him five years ago.

Gonzalez, 30, will finally get to talk about his brush with death - after a state appeals court reversed Queens Supreme Court Justice Laura Blackburne's decision to free his alleged attacker.

"All I ever wanted was to just have my day in court and to let everybody know what actually happened to me," Gonzalez said yesterday.

"This guy tried to kill me," Gonzalez continued. "Because of Judge Blackburne, he's walking in the streets."

Gonzalez, now assigned to the Intelligence Division, suffered a shattered leg bone in 1999 when William Hodges allegedly grabbed his gun in a Jamaica hallway and opened fire.

Blackburne released Hodges on Nov. 8, 2002, believing he was denied a speedy trial. But the appeals court ruled Monday that many of the case's delays were caused by the defense.

If convicted, Hodges faces up to 25 years in prison.

In June, Hodges was convicted of biting another cop in the leg at a Queens hospital and sentenced to a year in prison.

Yesterday, law enforcement union leaders called for the removal of Blackburne, who is being investigated for allowing a robbery suspect to walk out the back of a courthouse to avoid arrest in June.

"She obviously has a prejudice against New York City police officers and all law enforcement and we cannot allow that to continue," PBA President Patrick Lynch said.

"She is an incompetent judge," agreed Dennis Quirk, president of the New York State Court Officers union.

The unions are petitioning the state Commission on Judicial Conduct - the only body that can remove judges and the same panel that is investigating Blackburne's decision to release the robbery suspect.

Blackburne, who could not be reached yesterday, has been temporarily assigned to civil cases.