MIDDLEFIELD – It was a day for reporting nightmares.
Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner reported his officers apprehended a possible shoplifter, but were unable to hold the suspect under New York State’s criminal justice reforms. “Even before we are done” with the paperwork, the store owners called again. “The shoplifter was back in their business,” the chief said.
All police agencies need informers to crack drug cases, said Schoharie County Sheriff Roy Brown. Now, under new discovery provisions, “your informants will be disclosed before suspects can come to trial.” Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, said an informer on the MS-13 Puerto Rican gang was identified through disclosures required under the state reforms, and was killed.
COOPERSTOWN – Even with $230,000 in emergency funding allocated by the Otsego County Board of Representatives to fix the leaking roof of the county’s Public Safety Building, it could still be six to eight weeks before inmates are returned to the jail.
“We have one estimate done and we’re waiting for another,” said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. “We’ve also asked the architect that’s working on some other projects at the jail to give us a price for expanding services.”
Delaware County, where I previously served as Delhi town justice, did not have the apparent problems as indicated in Otsego County concerning the arraignment of arrestee.
I was available for those early morning arraignments, sometimes covering for an unavailable justice court judge.
One such arraignment was for a burglary committed at a far end of this county. The arresting officer thought it was to his advantage to disregard calling perhaps five judges, called me at 3 a.m. in Delhi, have the arraignment, then dump the prisoner off at the Delaware County jail, which was a few minutes away, and then go to his home, and bed.
Needless to say, he was told, try that again, and see what happens.
Regarding your article, “ALL ARRAIGNMENTS NOW IN COUNTY JAIL LOBBY.”
The flaw with that is the problem within the meaning of our three branches of government. Years ago, the local town or village courts were called “police justice courts.” I like to think a local judge figured that one out, and had that name changed.
There are approximately 1,900 local justices in the states’ 62 counties.
That, along with ancillary costs, are funded by the local municipal governments, for which the state remits a small percentage of the total fines received.
Yes, system improvements need to be done, one of them might be called “district judges” similar to what I’ve witnessed while visiting Westchester, Pa., several years ago, funded by that state.
This state has superior control of the actions of the local justices, and the procedures within the courtroom, and yet, it only contributes that small percentage of fines monies, and let’s not forget a rather large New York State surcharge that the local judges must impose, whether the defendant is fined, or not.
Most importantly, we cannot have a courtroom in a police facility.
COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County jail has been temporarily closed and inmates relocated after leaks were discovered, putting inmates and staff at risk, according to a media release by Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.
Accordng to Devlin, the cause of the leaks has been identified and are in the process of being repaired, but all inmates have been transferred to facilities in nearby counties.
DECATUR – Kimberly Steeley’s infant twins, Bonde and Liam, both died from asphyxiation, according to District Attorney John Muehl.
“At first, everyone thought Bonde died of SIDS,” said Muehl. “Then 11 days later, Liam died of the same condition.”
Steeley, 27, Decatur, was indicted on two counts of second-degree manslaughter, one for each child, for recklessly causing the death of her children last June. The twins, born May 15, were barely a month old at the time of their deaths.
COOPERSTOWN – A Morris woman, Danielle J. Dunham, 36, was arrested after Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly found suboxone films on her during a search at the jail.
Deputies reported they were investigating reports that drugs were being brought into the county jail. Dunham, who had been in and out of jail an intermittent sentence, was found with two suboxone sublingual films on her person, the investigators said.