Sarah Salem set free from slammer – six hours after sentencing

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Judge refuses to send Salem back to county jail for DWI conviction.

CARMEL – Former Poughkeepsie Common Council Chair Sarah Salem was set free from the Dutchess County Jail on Monday evening, less than seven hours after being sent to the jail on a 60-day sentence for a 2022 DWI conviction.  Poughkeepsie City Court Judge Scott Volkman handed down the sentence shortly after 12:00 p.m. on Monday.  The account of Monday’s sentencing can be found here.

As the 38-year-old Salem was being handcuffed for transportation to the jail to begin her sentence, her attorney, Steven Patterson rushed out of city court to find a judge that would sign a “stay” of the sentence.  Salem was taken into the custody of the jail at 1:38 p.m.  Minutes later, her attorney was in Carmel asking Putnam County Acting Supreme Court Justice Joseph Spofford for a “stay of the execution of the judgment of conviction,” and asking the judge to release Salem on her own recognizance until Patterson and the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office make their arguments before him on February 2, 2023.  Judge Spofford agreed and signed the documents ordering Salem to be set free.

Salem was released from the Dutchess County Jail just before 7:00 p.m. on Monday night.

Mr. Patterson told Mid-Hudson News that the Putnam County judge’s decision was appropriate.  “We believe that Judge Spofford’s granting of the stay of the sentence is the right thing to do under the circumstances. The sentence handed down by Judge Volkman goes beyond what’s necessary to satisfy justice, especially considering that both the Dutchess County District Attorney’s office and the probation department recommended a straight probationary sentence with no jail time.”

Dutchess County Senior Assistant District Attorney Ryan LeGrady, Salem’s prosecutor that did not ask for her to serve time in jail, was made aware of the stay on Monday afternoon.  “Mr. Patterson made an application to an NYS Supreme Court Judge in Putnam County who granted the stay.  In order to be successful at the hearing, which is scheduled for February 2, 2023, at 9:30 a.m., Mr. Patterson will need to show that he would be “likely to succeed” at an appeal such that staying the current sentence would be in the interest of justice.”  LeGrady told Mid-Hudson News that he plans to oppose the application and will be in court on February 2nd to argue that “Salem is not likely to succeed on an appeal and the sentence should proceed.”

To the dismay of LeGrady, Judge Spofford ordered Salem to be released without hearing arguments from both sides.

In addition to the 60-day jail sentence, Salem was also sentenced to the following:

  • Vehicle & Traffic violation for running a red light:  $150 fine and an $88 surcharge.
  • On the DWI conviction:  $750 fine and $395 surcharge.
  • Any vehicle operated by Salem is required to have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • Loss of driver’s license for six months.
  • Attendance to various programs including the Victim Impact Panel.
  • Three years of probation administered through the Dutchess County Probation Department.