FONDA - The state Supreme Court Appellate Division has reversed a May 31, 2011, decision by Montgomery County Court that revoked a man's probation and sentenced him to prison.
Frank Bartlett Jr., 33, in March 2010 pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation, court papers say.
A violation of probation petition later was filed against Bartlett in January 2011, alleging he had violated the terms of his probation by, among other things, committing the crimes of first-degree criminal contempt and fourth-degree criminal mischief in November 2010, court papers show.
Bartlett appeared in County Court and admitted to the probation violations with the understanding his probation would be revoked and he would be sentenced to two years in prison and one year of post-release supervision. But at the time of sentencing, Bartlett asked to withdraw his plea, contending he misunderstood when the criminal contempt and criminal mischief were alleged to have occurred and that those crimes had not actually been charged in any court, the appellate decision says. However, County Court denied Bartlett's motion to withdraw the plea and sentenced him.
Bartlett had argued that at the time of his guilty plea, he understood he was alleged to have violated an order of protection in December 2010, but his mother learned from the court that the charges were dropped because the order of protection had expired earlier in December 2010, the appellate ruling stated. Schenectady City Court reported Bartlett actually never was arrested on the charges.
"It is possible that defendant misunderstood and that the actions he admitted to did not constitute a violation of the law or of his probation,"?the appellate court stated in its Dec. 20 ruling. "County Court abused its discretion by denying defendant's motion to withdraw his plea without holding a hearing."
The appellate court sent the case back to County Court for further proceedings "not inconsistent with this court's decision," the ruling stated.