Appellate court tosses drug conviction of Middletown man

GOSHEN – The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court Second Department has vacated the guilty plea of a man on a drug charge because former Orange County Court Judge Nicholas DeRosa failed to specify the period of post-release supervision to be imposed.

Aramis Cabrera entered the guilty plea to a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, but the appeals court reversed the county court judgment and vacated his guilty plea.

“It is not enough for a court to generally inform a defendant that a term of post-release supervision will be imposed as part of a sentence,” the court wrote in a December 3, 2020 decision. “Rather, for a plea of guilty to be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary, the court must inform the defendant of either the specific period of post-release supervision that will be imposed or, at the least, the maximum potential duration of post-release supervision that may be imposed.”

But, the appellate court said at Cabrera’s plea proceeding, “the county curt did not specify the period of post-release supervision to be imposed or, alternatively, the maximum potential duration of post-release supervision that could be imposed.”

As a result, the appeals court said the county court’s “failure to so advise the defendant prevented his plea from being knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Accordingly, the judgment must be reversed, the plea of guilty vacated, and the matter remitted to the County Court, Orange County, for further proceedings on the indictment.”



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