Dutchess County Court drug conviction reversed

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POUGHKEEPSIE – The appellate Division of State Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department, has reversed the September 4, 2020 conviction of Carlos Benitez, who was convicted by way of his guilty plea to a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance.

The appeals court sent the case back to county court for further proceedings on the indictment.

Benitez was sentenced to prison and post-release supervision, but county court failed to specify the period of post-release supervision to be imposed, or the maximum potential duration of post-release supervision that could be imposed, and that was a fatal flaw.

“As the People concede, the court’s failure to do advise the defendant prevented his plea from being knowing, voluntary, and intelligent,” the Appellate Court decision dated June 9 stated. “Accordingly, the judgment must be reversed, the lea of guilty vacated, and the matter remitted to the County Court, Dutchess County, for further proceedings on the indictment.”