Supreme Court denies appeals to four St. Lawrence County prison sentencings

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CANTON — A former Ogdensburg woman sentenced to prison in 2015 for drug possession was denied an appeal by the Third Department Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court earlier this month.

The State Appellate Court ruled that Jamie L. Nichols “knowingly, voluntarily and intelligent(ly)” waived her right to appeal prior to St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards accepting her guilty plea, in the Nov. 9 decision.

She claimed that her sentence was harsh and excessive.

On Aug. 13, 2015, Ms. Nichols had her probation sentence revoked for violations and she was sentenced to seven years in prison with three years of post-release supervision for her guilty plea of guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

While on probation for her conviction of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, Ms. Nichols was indicted on two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to the decision.

“In exchange for the opportunity to participate in the judicial diversion program, defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and to a violation of the terms of her probation and waived her right to appeal,” the decision stated. “Pursuant to the agreement, if defendant successfully completed the JDP, her plea to the two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree would be vacated, she would be permitted to plea to two counts of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and she would be resentenced to probation and continue probation in resolution of the violation of probation.”

Ms. Nichols was also informed that, if she failed to successfully complete the JDP, she faced a potential maximum prison term of 26½ years. Subsequently, after the defendant was terminated from the program, she was sentenced as a second-felony drug offender.

In other appellate rulings this month:

Mark A. Weir, 47, formerly of Gouverneur, had his appeal of his Feb. 24, 2016, conviction of second-degree burglary denied.

Mr. Weir was sentenced in St. Lawrence County Court to five years in prison with five years of post-release supervision.

According to the Appellate Court decision, “contrary to defendant’s contention, we find that his waiver of appeal was knowing, voluntary and intelligent …”

Kristopher G. Brothers, 24, formerly of Massena, had his appeal of his Feb. 24, 2016, conviction of third-degree attempted robbery denied.

Mr. Brothers was sentenced in St. Lawrence County Court to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

“We are unpersuaded by defendant’s contention that the appeal waiver is invalid,” the court ruled. “County Court ascertained that defendant understood the waiver and conveyed that the appeal waiver was separate and distinct from those rights automatically forfeited by his guilty plea.”

David A. Lawrence, 28, formerly of Massena, had his appeal of his May 9, 2016, conviction of third-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon denied. Mr. Lawrence was sentenced in St. Lawrence County Court to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

“The plea agreement required defendant to waive his right to appeal and did not include a sentencing commitment,” the court ruled. “Contrary to defendant’s assertion, we find that his combined oral and written waiver of the right to appeal was knowing, intelligent and voluntary …”

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