Court upholds Wawarsing man’s conviction, sentence
A state appeals court on Thursday upheld the conviction and sentence of a Wawarsing man who was arrested during a 2012 drug sweep in the Ellenville area.
A ruling Thursday by the state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, upholds Vincent Giammichele’s conviction in Ulster County Court on June 21, 2013, on one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, in satisfaction of a 10-count indictment.
According to the appellate court ruling, Ulster County Judge Donald A. Williams promised Giammichele, age unavailable, a seven-year prison sentence if he committed no further offenses prior to sentencing.
Giammichele had been arrested on Dec. 7, 2012, after a yearlong investigation into drug sales and possession in the village of Ellenville and town of Wawarsing ended with 21 arrests. He was initially charged with five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and five counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, all felonies.
The early-morning drug sweep, a combined effort by the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, the Ellenville Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service, among others, resulted in 21 arrests and the confiscation of crack cocaine, marijuana and various prescription painkillers, authorities said at the time.
In a press release Thursday, Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright said Giammichele’s arrest followed a series of crack cocaine sales he made to a confidential informant in Napanoch.
Shortly before being sentenced on the June 2013 charges, Giammichele was charged with possession of marijuana and contraband in prison, according to Thursday’s ruling. At sentencing, he admitted to violating the condition imposed by the court and was sentenced by Williams to eight years in prison, to be followed by two years of post-release supervision, and was ordered to pay $500 in restitution, the appellate court said.
On appeal, Giammichele argued that his plea was invalid because the court “failed to sufficiently advise him that he would be giving up certain rights by pleading guilty,” the court wrote.
Court records leave “no doubt that defendant was aware of the rights he was giving up by pleading guilty and made a knowing, voluntary and intelligent decision to proceed. ... He was advised of the possible maximum term of imprisonment he could receive if he violated the terms and conditions of his plea,” according to the ruling.
In upholding the sentence, the court determined there is “no reason to take corrective action in the interest of justice.”
On appeal, Giammichele was represented by Brian M. Callahan of Schenectady. Joan Gudesblatt Lamb prosecuted the case on behalf of the Ulster County District Attorney’s office.