Court up­holds Wawars­ing man’s con­vic­tion, sen­tence

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Diane Pineiro-Zucker dpzucker@free­manon­ di­aneat­free­man on Twit­ter

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.

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