Friday, March 15, 2019

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Appellate court upholds Sullivan County weapon possession conviction

MONTICELLO – The Sullivan County Court conviction of a former Patterson, New Jersey man for the crime of criminal possession of a weapon has been affirmed by the Appellate Division, Third Department, of State Supreme Court.

Dahmir Bethea pled guilty before County Court Judge Frank LaBuda to the November 2016 crime that occurred on Route 97 in the Town of Tusten.

As part of his plea agreement, he waived the right to appeal and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison and five years of post-release supervision.

Bethea appealed, contending his waiver was invalid, but the appellate court said he was advised that “an appeal waiver was a condition of the plea agreement and county court adequately separated the right to appeal from the highs forfeited by a guilty plea.”

The appellate court also confirmed Bethea had discussed the wavier with his lawyer and understood its ramifications. The appeals court also noted Bethea and his legal counsel “executed a detailed written waiver that described the scope of the appellate rights waived and included an acknowledgement that defendant was voluntarily relinquishing those rights.”

Bethea was a passenger in a car stopped by State Police for a vehicle and traffic violation. Police located a loaded, operational .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun in his waistband and after a trooper secured the weapon, Bethea ran into a wooded area and shouted to another occupant to “get the strap and smoke” the trooper.

The other person took no action and remained in the car as directed by the officer.

Bethea was caught after a brief pursuit.

A search of the vehicle turned up another loaded handgun under the front seat.


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