Appellate court upholds two separate drug convictions


KINGSTON – The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has affirmed two separate drug convictions.
Chad Richards was convicted in Ulster County Court in March 2013 of two counts of criminal sale and possession of cocaine.  The conviction was as the result of two controlled drug buys he made to a confidential informant working with police.
Richards, a second felony offender previously convicted of a violent felony, was sentenced to 20 years in state prison plus three years of parole.
On appeal, he argued undercover officers did not witness the actual handoff of the drug, but merely observed the transactions from a distance. The appeals court disagreed and also rejected Richards’ argument that he was deprived of a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct during the summation and that the 20 year sentence was harsh and excessive.
In the other case, Karlyle Wheeler was convicted in October 2012 of two counts each of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance following two separate sales of cocaine to an undercover police officer in the City of Kingston.
Wheeler, a second felony offender, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and three years of parole.
On appeal, Wheeler maintained during jury selection, the prosecutor exercised his peremptory challenges in a discriminatory manner and that the court erred in permitting the undercover officer to identify him at trial as part of the confirmatory identification.
The appeals court rejected both claims.

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