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State Appellate Division affirms sentence of Gloversville man

ALBANY — The state Appellate Division recently affirmed the 2017 Fulton County Court jury trial conviction of a Gloversville crack cocaine dealer, which landed him in state prison for 12 years.

The case involved the October 2017 guilty verdict and sentencing two months later of Shamar J. Sumpter of Fifth Avenue.

The decision upheld the prosecution of his case by Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown.

Among its findings, the Appellate Division rejected “defendant’s contention that the sentence is harsh and excessive. The fact that defendant was offered a plea deal that would have secured a more favorable sentence than the one ultimately imposed after trial does not establish that he was penalized for exercising his right to trial.”

Sumpter was convicted of two felonies: third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

In November 2016, he was charged by indictment. He was arrested in connection with several controlled buys in 2016 and 2017.

The decision said Sumpter contended the verdict is “against the weight of the evidence” because no witness actually observed him sell or possess narcotics, but appellate judges disagreed.

In the trial, a Gloversville police sergeant testified he worked with a confidential informant on a buy.

“People also elicited testimony from Michal Calbet, a retired police detective, who confirmed that defendant was the subject of the August 2016 operation,” court papers said. “Calbet, who parked across the street from the Cumberland Farms, used a camera with a telephoto lens to view the transaction, testifying that he saw CI No. 1 and defendant walk into the store together. Calbet also watched the surveillance video from the transaction …”

The decision stated: “CI No. 1 also testified, confirming that she was thoroughly searched prior to the transaction and was given money for the purchase. She testified that, upon entering the Cumberland Farms with defendant, he went to the coffee section and then passed her a Styrofoam cup in exchange for money. She then exited the store, entered her vehicle, placed the coffee cup on the passenger seat, proceeded back to the designated meet-up spot and handed the cup to the detectives. On crossexamination, CI No. 1 acknowledged that she has struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine and that she had used crack “once or twice” while working for the police. However, she maintained that she was in rehab at the time of her testimony and was not currently using crack. The surveillance footage from the August 2016 Cumberland Farms transaction was also entered into evidence, which corroborated CI No. 1’s testimony.”

Appellate judges ruled, “We are also unpersuaded by [Sumpter’s] contention that County Court abused its discretion in consolidating the indictment for trial.”

The court also rejected the defendant’s contention that the Cumberland Farms surveillance video was not properly authenticated and, therefore, should not have been admitted into evidence.

“The store manager of the subject Cumberland Farms explained that the store maintains a video surveillance system called ‘Raven’ that stores surveillance footage for up to six months,” the ruling said. “The manager testified that, when she was contacted by police about the August 2016 controlled buy, she typed the relevant date and time into the Raven database, obtained the surveillance video pertaining to the transaction and downloaded it onto a DVD.”

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