There needs to be more legislation on cyber-bullying and harassment. This is the second case this year where harassment via the web has resulted in a young life being taken. To be blunt, I on’t have much sympathy for this case since he did go over to the guys house with the intent of violence.

As if the Megan Meiers case wasn’t bad enough… Now a man may go to jail because of shooting and killing a boy who had come to his house with a gang of teens to attack his son. Man awaiting trial for killing Daniel Ciccario Jr at his home

A Long Island courtroom defined by race


10:02 PM EST, December 18, 2007

For 16 days the grieving, the curious and the duty-bound have flocked to the criminal courthouse in Riverhead to see the trial of John White — the black Miller Place man charged with shooting and killing Daniel Cicciaro Jr., a white teen who had come to White’s home to confront his son one August night in 2006.

Regardless of whether the case centers on race, as many have said, it’s clear that the courtroom is defined by race. The Cicciaros and their supporters sit on the left, which has come to be known as the white side. And across the aisle, on what many observers call the black side, are White’s family and supporters.

Most have taken their seats in the gallery of Courtroom 10 on the second floor as if by assignment. Cicciaro’s father, Daniel Cicciaro Sr., is always in the second row, in clear view of the witness stand. The teen’s mother, Joanne Cicciaro, is always in the aisle seat on that row, rocking herself through difficult times and often scribbling in a spiral notebook, tissue box and Bible at her feet.

On the right side of the courtroom sits White’s wife, Sonia, their son, Aaron and a more mixed crowd. Among them, writer Calvin Trillin has been a constant with his yellow legal pad, as have NAACP officials — and for a few days, about a dozen members of the Nation of Islam’s Manhattan-based Mosque No. 7.

Trillin called the White and Cicciaro saga a “very human story … ordinary families caught up in extraordinary situations.”

Others said the trial has attracted so much attention because it exposes a reality of racial unease that is not often discussed so openly.

“Race is so pervasive in our society but African-Americans don’t often talk about the isolation and apprehension that comes with living in the suburbs,” said J. Stewart Moore of the Amistad Black Bar Association, a black lawyers’ group, who has watched most of the trial. “It’s an issue that people aren’t comfortable with.”

The Cicciaro family and their supporters have called the focus on race a distraction. They have tried to rehabilitate their boy’s public image from that of a flat stereotype.

“Daniel is half Puerto Rican,” his father said. “It’s unfortunate that they tried to portray my son as a racist.”

Outside court, in private family huddles, Cicciaro has urged the family to keep their composure — it’s about Dano Jr., who was 17, and justice, he reminded them. Inside, with White and his supporters a few feet away, it has been a difficult feat.

Between them, there have been tears and sighs and glances that turned into stares.

Even before one of the half dozen court officers announced that the Cicciaro family would leave before the White contingent — there are reasons, he said, without explaining — that was the unspoken arrangement between the two sides anyway.

And while there have been other moments when the two sides couldn’t help but meet, the gulf between the two sides has been steady and apparent.

That’s been particularly true when race came up, as it has both explicitly and implicitly every day of the trial.

On the Cicciaro side, mention of the N-word has been met with scoffs and sighs. The same when White called the group of teens a “lynch mob.”

But on the White side, mention of the racial slurd was met with responses of affirmation.

NAACP member Johnniemae Saunders, 66, of Coram, said White’s testimony reminded her of her family’s ordeals living on a farm in Moultrie, Ga. decades ago.

“They harassed them so bad … They wanted what they had,” she said about white people who made trouble for her family. “That’s why I’m up here; they were run out of town.”

“Every day it is getting bigger and bigger,” Aaron White, 20, said. “It was on CNN. They had a poll question: ‘Should John White go to jail?'”

There’s a reason the case has gotten national attention, and it’s because it is more than just another shooting in the suburbs, said Lucius Ware, 74, a longtime NAACP official from Southampton.

“It’s heightened because it’s about race,” he said. “All of the attempts to say it’s not are easily dismissed by all of us with knowledge of such things.”

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.