Lawyer and Woman Guilty In Illegal Sale of Babies
Mrs. Bess Bernard, 44, of 925 West End Av., and Irwin Slater, 38, of 13 70th St., Brooklyn, were held today after a General Sessions jury found them guilty of operating a black market in babies.
At the same time, the jury, which returned its' verdict at 11:25 P.M., after deliberating eight hours and 35 minutes, cleared Harry Wolfson, 37, a lawyer.
Slater, who had been indicted on seven counts of violating the public health law on the placing of babies for adoption was declared guilty of health violations by the jury. Mrs. Bernard was found guilt on five public health counts.
Acquitted Lawyer Freed
General Sessions Judge Valente set Sept. 15 for sentencing and the two defendants were continued in bail. The face a possible sentence of six months to three and a fine of $500 each.
Wolfson, who lives at 260 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, and shared an office with Slater at 67 W. 44t St., was discharged immediately.
Judge Valente commended the jury's verdict, saying: "These defendants were probably motivated by some sort of humanitarian instincts, but the primary one was money. It is a sordid business, governed by the law of supply and demand.
"The state must regulate the means by which children find their way into foster homes."
"To permit such conditions to continue" Judge Valente said, "would mean that within a short time commercial facilities would be set up - if the demand for babies increases and the tariff is high enough for the rearing and production of babies, for their conception and birth to the end that they will ultimately be placed at a profit.
"There is certainly no place in our country, our state or our city for this."