The Appellate Division, Third Department has unanimously affirmed judgments of convictions in three Ulster County cases according to the county's District Attorney, Holley Carnright.

Frederick Smith was convicted in the Ulster County Court of the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree following a jury trial and was sentenced on March 4, 2016, as a second violent felony offender, to a prison term of 15 years to be followed by five years of postrelease supervision.

Smith’s conviction stems from a shootout which occurred in a nightclub parking lot in the Town of Lloyd during the early morning hours of January 25, 2014.  When police responded, they were informed that the individuals involved had fled the scene in a red vehicle.  After a brief chase, the vehicle was stopped and Smith was observed tossing a handgun out of a rear window.

Among the arguments defendant raised on appeal were that the verdict was not supported by legally sufficient evidence and was against the weight of the evidence and that the Court’s Molineux ruling deprived him of a fair trial. Smith, through his attorney, Theodore Stein, also maintained that he was denied his constitutional and statutory right to a fair trial following the trial court’s substitution of an alternate juror after jury deliberations had commenced and denied his right to be present during in camera questioning of the sworn juror who was replaced. However, the appellate court rejected each of Smith’s claims.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Derohannesian, Esq. handled the appeal for the District Attorney’s Office.

The second upheld verdict involves Alfred May who was convicted of two counts of driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree following a jury trial. He was later sentenced by County Court Judge Donald A. Williams on February 9, 2016, to concurrent State prison terms of one to three years on each of his convictions.

On appeal to the Appellate Division, Third Department, May argued that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his Batson challenge made during jury selection to the only African American on the jury panel during the first round of jury selection.  The Appellate Division, Third Department, however, determined that County Court had acted properly given that the prosecution was able to provide a race-neutral explanation for his challenge to that juror.

On appeal, May was represented by Henry C. Meier, III, Esq. of Delmar, New York.  Assistant District Attorney Joan Gudesblatt Lamb, Esq. handled the appeal for the District Attorney’s Office.

A third appeal was brought by Mark Nugent who was convicted in the Ulster County Court on April 7, 2015, of the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree following the entry of his guilty plea.

In 2014, a drug task force obtained information that Nugent, a probationer being supervised by Orange County Probation, was actually residing and selling drugs in Ulster County.  During a home visit conducted by Ulster County Probation and other task force members, a gun and a quantity of drugs was recovered.

Following his arrest, Nugent pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree in full satisfaction of the indictment and waived his right to appeal.  While County Court agreed to impose a six-year State prison term to be followed by two years of postrelease supervision, Nugent was warned that the Court could impose a sentence of up to nine years if he was charged with any new offenses before sentencing.  When Nugent was subsequently arrested and charged with a new offense, while sentencing was pending, the County Court found, following a hearing, that he had violated the sentencing warnings and imposed an eight-year State prison term with two years of postrelease supervision.

On appeal, Nugent, through his attorney Theodore Stein, maintained that the gun and the drugs recovered during the search should have been suppressed.  However, as the Third Department concluded, by pleading guilty after the suppression hearing but before the decision was rendered, the defendant forfeited his right to appellate review of all claims related to that motion.  Assistant District Attorney Joan Gudesblatt Lamb, Esq. handled the appeal for the District Attorney’s Office.

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