Salem sentencing expected to be delayed

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Council Chair Sarah Salem, on right, being placed in handcuffs by a City of Poughkeepsie Police Officer on February 26, 2020. Mid-Hudson News file photo.

POUGHKEEPSIE – Former City of Poughkeepsie Common Council Chairperson Sarah Salem was scheduled to be sentenced in city court this Tuesday.  The misdemeanor DWI conviction stems from a February 2020 incident on Main Street where she allegedly drove drunk, ran a red light, and caused a motor vehicle accident.

Salem’s attorney, Steve Patterson told Mid-Hudson News on Monday that sentencing might be delayed because he is filing a post-conviction motion” on behalf of his client on Tuesday.

Patterson, a well-respected defense attorney in the Hudson Valley, said he will seek to have the verdict set aside.

Patterson’s motion seeks to have the court set aside the jury verdict.
“It is our position that, in light of the acquittal for Driving While Intoxicated under VTL 1192.2,  the proof of Driving While Intoxicated under VTL 1192.3 was legally insufficient,” Patterson said. “The jury determined that my client was not guilty of operating their motor vehicle with a BAC of over .08. The remaining proof was legally insufficient to establish that they operated a motor vehicle while being intoxicated.”
Dutchess County Senior Assistant District Attorney Ryan LeGrady prosecuted the case and expressed disappointment when learning of the plan to file the motion.  “For someone who claims to be remorseful and taking responsibility for their actions, it’s disappointing that they’re asking the judge to undo the work of the jury.”

After a jury trial in the City of Poughkeepsie Court in September, Salem was convicted of misdemeanor DWI along with the violation of running a red light for her actions on the night of February 26, 2020 incident that ended with her arrest.

Salem, as a result of the conviction, faces 364 days in the county jail, with additional punishment possible.  After the September verdict, LeGrady said the additional punishments could include “Two to three years of probation, a combination of jail and probation, or a conditional discharge with a fine, ignition interlock requirement, and some mandatory programs through the DMV.”  The traffic violation for the red light conviction carries a fine.

City Court Judge Scott Volkman will be presented with the motion to set aside the verdict on Tuesday, prior to Salem’s sentencing.