Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg

Judge Neary Does Calendar
State Supreme Court, White Plains
Judge Robert Neary Presiding

Defendant With Prior Conviction Pleads Guilty to DWI

Manual Perez, who had been convicted on February 6th of this year, in Peekskill City Court of Misdemeanor Driving While Intoxicated, appeared before Judge Robert Neary, Wednesday August 16th to plead guilty to a second DWI incident, this time, as a felony, as well as to offering false information to the arresting officer, a misdemeanor.

A plea agreement had been arranged between Assistant District Attorney Morales and Defense Attorney Mr. C. Divin. Perez must undergo a pre-sentence investigation by the Westchester County Probation Department prior to sentencing in October.

Defendant Charged With Felony DWI Rejects Plea Offer

Defense Attorney Rocco D’Agostino appeared to surprise the Court, as well as ADA Morales, when he announced that his client, Defendant Michael Busick, charged with DWI as a felony, had decided to reject the District Attorney’s plea offer, opting instead to go to trial. Judge Neary, responded to Defense Counsel’s announcement asking, apparently for clarification, “Mr. Busick, you’re rejecting the plea offer?”

Neary then took the time to explain to the Defendant the possible sentence he risked if convicted of the E felony he is charged with, Section 1192.3-03 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, while, at the same time informing him that the plea offer he was rejecting might very well not be available should he change his mind.

Defendant Accused In String Of Robberies Pleads Guilty

A Mount Vernon man, Jamee Middleton, charged with First Degree Robbery, Second Degree Robbery, and Attempted Second Degree Robbery in connection with two incidents, involving the robbery of a deliveryman from a Mount Vernon Chinese restaurant, and the robbery of a gas station attendant in that city, in early October of last year, appeared before Judge Robert Neary to plead guilty to Second Degree Robbery and Attempted Second Degree Robbery, in full satisfaction.

Represented by Attorney Peter Davis, Middleton appeared to Judge Neary, to be not fully understanding of his situation. The Judge inquired as to how far the Defendant had gone in school. When Middleton responded that he had finished eleventh grade, Neary, still not totally convinced that the Defendant fully comprehended his circumstances, proceeded to explain in detail the charges against him and the potential consequences should he opt to go to trial, as well as the rights he would be waiving if he decided to accept a plea offer.

Neary then suggested, “If you’re so inclined, now is your opportunity to enter a plea to each of the Superior Court Informations.” He went on, “Do you want to change your plea from not guilty to guilty?”

Middleton responded, “No.”

Attorney Davis then turned to his client in an attempt to clarify his situation and advise him as to how he needed to proceed. Neary then asked, “Is anyone forcing you to plead guilty?” The Defendant then said, “No.”

Neary, apparently satisfied that Middleton was fully aware of his circumstances, and was making a voluntary decision to plead guilty, proceeded to outline the terms of the plea agreement, as the Court understood, and approved it, informing Middleton that he would be sentenced to two concurrent terms of two years in state prison, followed by three years of post-release supervision.

Assistant DA Morales then moved forward with the usual pleading protocols, followed by the Court’s acknowledgment and acceptance. Sentencing, pending an interview and report from the Probation Department, was set for October 11th.

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