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Lawyer eyes lesser sentence for client

October 9, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The lawyer representing a Gloversville woman convicted by a Fulton County Court jury last month of driving while ability impaired is trying to get a lesser sentence for his client.

Robin A. Curtin, 54, of Saratoga Boulevard, will be sentenced Nov. 1 by County Court Judge Polly A. Hoye.

After trial, Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said DWAI is considered a misdemeanor and due to the defendant's at least three prior drinking and driving-related convictions, she faces up to 180 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

But Michael Viscosi, one of Curtin's attorneys, said last week: "I believe the DA's office is wrong and that Robin will ultimately be sentenced based upon a traffic infraction and not a misdemeanor."

He wrote a Sept. 28 memo to Hoye to get a lesser sentence for Curtin. He conferenced with the judge and the prosecutor in the case - Kelli P. McCoski - on Wednesday.

"I don't think the judge made a decision," Sira said today.

In the memo, Viscosi wrote that: "In order for the trial court to elevate DWAI from traffic offense to misdemeanor, the people must first express an intention to prosecute the defendant for that crime. This never occurred in the instant case."

The memo added that Curtin was "never offered an opportunity to accept or refute those prior convictions that could potentially raise her conviction from traffic offense to unclassified misdemeanor. Due process of law requires that a defendant be given notice of the offenses of which she is charged before a trial is conducted."

Following a four-day trial, a jury on Sept. 17 found Curtin not guilty of a felony count of driving while intoxicated, but convicted her of a lesser driving while ability impaired count. Hoye had given the jury the lesser offense of DWAI to consider.

Curtin was arrested at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 by state police. Troopers said her car veered into the opposite lane on Route 29A in the town of Caroga and hit a state Department of Transportation snowplow.

Curtin was charged with felony DWI because she had a previous conviction within the past 10 years. She also was charged with refusal to take a breath test, and failure to keep right. She suffered minor bleeding to her head and was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, where she was treated and released.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at johnstown@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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