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Appeals Judges Uphold Plea Deal in Plattsburgh Heist | Local News

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PLATSBURGH – Appeals judges on Thursday upheld a plea deal for a burglary misdemeanor in Clinton County Court after the accused was sentenced to six years in prison in 2019.

Jennifer Grainger was arrested on September 31, 2018 along with another woman after police said they stole the purse of an 87-year-old woman as she got out of her car on Bushey Boulevard in the city of Plattsburgh.

The elderly woman suffered hip and leg injuries after being dragged to the ground in a fight over the purse, police said in 2018.

Grainger was convicted of second-degree burglary, a felony, on January 2, 2019 after agreeing to a plea deal in county court. She was sentenced to six years as the second offender with five years of post-release supervision, according to the decision of Albany’s Third Judicial Department.

Grainger waived his right to appeal the conviction under the plea deal.

But Grainger appealed the waiver of the right to appeal, saying it was invalid.

“We agree,” Associate Judge Michael Lynch wrote in the decision. “During the plea colloquium, the county court informed the defendant that, as part of the plea agreement, she” should also waive [her] right of appeal or waiver [her] right to seek remedies after conviction ”, without further clarification. “

Subsequently, Grainger and her attorney signed the waiver of appeal which stated that she was waiving her “right of appeal, as well as all post-conviction remedies” and waiving her right to appeal. ‘appeal, the guilty plea and sentence’ would conclude [her] Case.”

“This excessive language wrongly speaks of an absolute bar of potential appeal and collateral remedies,” Lynch wrote. “The county court asked whether the defendant had reviewed the written waiver with her attorney and understood the document, eliciting a one-word response to each question, but made no attempt to signal that the defendant retained the right to appeal certain basic issues and request collateral relief. “

The judges also highlighted the waiver by saying that Grainger was not under the influence of any drugs or medication when accepting the deal, even though she had said earlier that she had taken three prescribed medications.

“Although the defendant and her lawyer have duly confirmed to the court that she has a clear mind, this discrepancy raises a concern as to the adequacy of the review and understanding of the written waiver by the defendant,” said decision. “In view of the limited colloquium, the court’s inaccurate statement of the post-conviction remedies, and the overly broad written waiver, we are not convinced that the defendant knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived her right to appeal.”

Still, the judges did not rescind the deal, saying Grainger did not question his guilty plea.

“Further, we decline the accused’s request to take corrective action and quash the plea in the interests of justice,” the ruling reads. “We also do not find the agreed sentence imposed severe or excessive. “

Email to Fernando Alba:

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Twitter: @byfernandoalba


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