Defense Lawyer Paints Scooter Thief as Victim of Circumstance While Casting Aspersions on 6 Year Old Chasidic Boy  


BROOKLYN (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – During an arraignment today in Brooklyn Criminal Court, the lawyer for the man accused of cold-heartedly stealing an electric scooter out from under a young Chasidic boy displayed her own shocking depth of character in an offhanded comment.


According to the New York Post ( Sarah Burleson, a senior trial attorney with Brooklyn Public Services which represents needy clients, allegedly made a snide remark about the victim in her defense of 59 year old Daniel Ufares.


“I don’t know why a seven year old is on an electric scooter,” grumbled Burleson, a graduate of the New York University School of Law who also has a masters in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School. 


The boy, Simcha Rothenberg, had been riding a scooter belonging to his older brother who has special needs.  As previously reported on VIN News, the incident left Rothenberg, who was just days shy of his seventh birthday, traumatized.


Ufares was out on parole and under supervised released for a 2010 robbery in Queens at the time of the July 9th incident and according to prosecutor Wilfred Cotto, his checkered history includes two parole violations and a pair of violent felonies, including a 1991 manslaughter case.  While seemingly displaying no compassion for Rothenberg, Burleson appeared to have considerable sympathy for Ufares, attempting to paint him as a victim of mental health issues.


“He is not doing harm to anyone but himself, your honor,” said Burleson. “Mr. Ufares has addiction issues which need to be addressed. He needs greater assistance.”


Just one day earlier, reporters who gathered outside the 66th Precinct Monday night as Ufares was led away in handcuffs showed far more empathy than Burleson, with one asking “What were you thinking Daniel? Come on. A six year old kid?”


Ufares was charged with second degree attempted robbery, third degree robbery, fourth degree grand larceny, petty larceny and menacing. Judge Quynda Santacroce set his bail at $50,000 and issued an order of protection that would keep Ufares away from Rothenberg.

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