Ex-Auburn cop guilty on all 29 counts

2011-03-02T03:30:00Z 2011-03-04T16:01:29Z Ex-Auburn cop guilty on all 29 countsNate Robson The Citizen Auburn Citizen
March 02, 2011 3:30 am  • 

AUBURN — A former Auburn police officer could face up to seven years in prison after a Cayuga County jury found him guilty of accepting bribes in exchange for releasing confidential police information.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for nearly five hours Tuesday before returning a guilty verdict on five felonies, 23 misdemeanors and one violation. Sentencing is scheduled for May 3.

The jury found that Brian Hutchings received free or reduced prices for work done on his 72 Metcalf Drive home in Auburn in exchange for disclosing the location of state Department of Transportation commercial truck stops to two local contractors from Upstate Paving and Vitale Construction.

The jury also found that Hutchings threatened, pepper sprayed and struck Rizzo Construction driver Brian Walsh with a police baton after the driver’s company refused to dismiss an $1,800 bill for work done on Hutchings’ driveway. Rizzo Construction is a sister company of Upstate Paving.

Hutchings charged Walsh with several misdemeanors and traffic violations as a result of the May 14, 2008, incident, but also asked for felony charges too, which could have sent Walsh to prison.

All of Walsh’s charges were eventually dismissed after the state police finished their investigation into Hutchings.

“Most seriously, (Hutchings) put someone in danger of prison for his own ends,” District Attorney Jon Budelmann said after the verdict was read. “Fortunately the jury saw that.”

During deliberations, the jury repeatedly asked the judge to re-read directions related to what elements needed to be proven to convict Hutchings on several of the charges.

With 29 charges to examine, the jurors said they had problems remembering the criteria for each count.

Nearly 30 minutes before releasing the guilty verdict, the jurors asked for the criteria for finding Hutchings guilty of submitting a false written report in order to get charges filed against Walsh

Nearly 10 minutes later the jury asked for one of Hutchings’ written police statements and then quickly returned with a guilty verdict at 6:06 p.m.

The jury did not ask to review any other pieces of evidence or to review any of the testimony that included witnesses to the Walsh traffic stop and the two contractors, one of whom testified he was afraid to bill Hutchings for work because of his position as a police officer.

Defense attorney Emil Rossi said he was disappointed with the verdict and said his client maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

With the trial entering its third week, Rossi said there are likely issues that need to be examined by an appeals court, but it was too early to know what those are.

Rossi said he will ask Judge Mark Fandrich to consider several mitigating factors when Hutchings returns to court for sentencing on May 3.

“His life is defined by a lot more than the periods in this case,” Rossi said. “He is a 20-year veteran, a good, respected cop, a good father, a good husband and a good son.”

Budelmann said Hutchings faces up to seven years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence on the top felony counts if all the charges are run concurrently, but added he has not looked into the possibility of asking for consecutive sentences yet.

Budelmann said he has not considered a specific sentence recommendation, but has considered asking for prison.

Hutchings will remain in the Wayne County Jail without bail until sentencing.

Cayuga County Sheriff David Gould said Hutchings was processed at the Cayuga County Jail and then transferred to the Wayne County Jail Tuesday night as a safety precaution to keep Hutchings separated from inmates who might know him.

Cayuga County often transfers inmates with a law enforcement background to Wayne County for their own protection and vice-versa, Gould said.

Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta said that the investigation and trial has been rough on the department and its relationship with the public.

“I appreciate the people who came forward and initiated this complaint,” Giannotta said. “I know it was difficult for them and I really appreciate it. There were other people who advised us that there were other inappropriate things going on, but they were never willing to go on the record and file a complaint.

“I just hope the community realizes you can’t paint all of us with one brush. Overall we are a good department, and these actions do not reflect on everyone.”

Hutchings still faces separate charges that he stole money from the Auburn Police Benevolent Association while working as the organization’s treasurer.

The PBA is not associated with the department’s union.

Budelmann said that case is ready for trial, but hoped it could be resolved beforehand.

Rossi declined to comment on the PBA charges and Hutchings, who did not testify, declined to comment as he was taken to jail.

The jury found Hutchings guilty of two counts each of third-degree receiving a bribe, second-degree receiving an award for official misconduct and one count of falsifying business records, all felonies; 14 counts of official misconduct, three counts of third-degree coercion, three counts of offering to file or filing false information or statements and one count of second-degree obstructing governmental administration and falsely reporting an incident, all misdemeanors. The jury also found Hutchings guilty of second-degree harassment, a violation, for attacking Walsh.

Staff writer Nate Robson can be reached at 282-2248 or nathan.robson@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at CitizenRobson.

 

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(21) Comments

  1. Farmer's Gal
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    Farmer's Gal - March 04, 2011 8:11 am
    The Truth said: "Continued ...So if I were Vitale or Rizzo ... I would have sold my trucks to an out of state company, taken in the net millions for myself, liquidated my business via Chapter 7 and screwed creditors. Laid off ALL the employees and taken my gains and moved to Florida to save on the 9% NYS income tax plus all the business hassles!Why is NYS shrinking? Why do New Yorkers move to Florida?Vitale and Rizzo employ people, Hutchings just took advantage of a law that the genius in Albany never gave a second of thought to "cause and effect."So what is the problem with Vitale and Rizzo in this Hutchings and NYS shake-down?It's all in the testimony - look it up."


    No question the laws here are often stupid & totally business unfriendly. But that's still no excuse for corruption.

  2. Farmer's Gal
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    Farmer's Gal - March 04, 2011 8:09 am
    ExAubrnian said: "favors between city employees & private enterprise have been going on for decades in Auburn.The real issue here is Hutchings beat an innocent man & was willing to let that innocent man go to State Prison for his own personal gain. This is about as low an act a human being can commit....especially a police officer who's duty is to protect & help the public. Corruption is rampant in this small town...I am glad there are alot of new young police officers who are dedicated to their jobs.Alot of the old corruption have been put out to pasture...glad they're gone & most living out of state."


    Agree 100% -- hope you are right, and hope the clean-up seeps out into the countryside where the good ole boy system runs everything (into the ground).

  3. Farmer's Gal
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    Farmer's Gal - March 04, 2011 8:07 am
    independentwoman said: "I don't agree with any of the wrong doing that went on between the construction companies or the officer involved however years ago it was called a barter system (you scratch my back i will scratch yours).I feel terrible for his family (suffering yet another loss)."

    When both "items" being traded are illegal (overweight trucks traded for info on checkpoints) that's called "corruption," not "barter."

  4. The Truth
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    The Truth - March 03, 2011 11:06 am
    Continued ...

    So if I were Vitale or Rizzo ... I would have sold my trucks to an out of state company, taken in the net millions for myself, liquidated my business via Chapter 7 and screwed creditors. Laid off ALL the employees and taken my gains and moved to Florida to save on the 9% NYS income tax plus all the business hassles!

    Why is NYS shrinking? Why do New Yorkers move to Florida?

    Vitale and Rizzo employ people, Hutchings just took advantage of a law that the genius in Albany never gave a second of thought to "cause and effect."

    So what is the problem with Vitale and Rizzo in this Hutchings and NYS shake-down?

    It's all in the testimony - look it up.
  5. fishy1
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    fishy1 - March 03, 2011 11:03 am
    Well to all the people that want to see him hang just remember, when you see those lights in your rear view mirror for speeding or that late night drink you have had. I know you all be hoping for than cop to give you a break.
  6. The Truth
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    The Truth - March 03, 2011 10:59 am

    If you were at the trial you would have learned the the State of NY changed the law on the size of trucks and weights which Hutchings took ADVANTAGE of. Sorry for the facts but ...

    For whatever reason the genius we keep electing in Albany magically changed a law requiring cement trucks to be longer.

    If you are Vitale (or Rizzo)and have, say 80 trucks, you can either buy 80 new trucks at $200k each ($16 million) or retrofit existing trucks at $20,000 each or $1.6mm. Perhaps if the genius in Albany grandfathered exiting trucks until they are sold to someone outside of NYS not subject to the new law, Hutchings would not have had this extra tool so to speak to use.

    So, another example why NYS is NOT business friendly, how Hutchings used the law to extort ... but those are the facts.

    Try for one second to put yourself into the business shoes of Vitale or Rizzo with vulture Hutchings and the State of New York genius in Albany. To be continued ...
  7. ExAubrnian
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    ExAubrnian - March 03, 2011 10:01 am
    favors between city employees & private enterprise have been going on for decades in Auburn.

    The real issue here is Hutchings beat an innocent man & was willing to let that innocent man go to State Prison for his own personal gain. This is about as low an act a human being can commit....especially a police officer who's duty is to protect & help the public.

    Corruption is rampant in this small town...I am glad there are alot of new young police officers who are dedicated to their jobs.

    Alot of the old corruption have been put out to pasture...glad they're gone & most living out of state.
  8. fishy1
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    fishy1 - March 03, 2011 8:04 am
    Well you are right farmers gal about it doesnt make it right. He served the city of auburn for 19yrs and not all of those yrs were being a bad cop. What really gets me that those 2 companys used him for along time and they didnt do nothing wrong. WRONGFarmer's Gal said: ""Everybody else is doing it" doesn't make it right or OK."

  9. Auburn0004
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    Auburn0004 - March 02, 2011 10:55 pm
    independantwoman is right this whole situation from all parties is wrong, but I also feel so bad for his family you would think that hutch would of wanted to be that support for his family the strong father figure who's shoulder your supposed to cry on, but instead he decided to be a selfish man and think of himself I hope his wife and kids handle this okay
  10. Blisterfish
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    Blisterfish - March 02, 2011 8:31 pm
    daydreamer said: "So, this say's to me, that it is legal & o.k., for 2 businesses to give a bribe, and enjoy the benefits with no repercussions? I agree this cop went to far, but bribes involve 2 parties, that benefits everyone involved. It's illegal to accept a bribe, but not to give one, now?"

    He beat and pepper sprayed an innocent man in a shakedown, then tried to use his authority to imprison him. This bad cop needs to do serious time.
  11. independentwoman
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    independentwoman - March 02, 2011 6:51 pm
    I don't agree with any of the wrong doing that went on between the construction companies or the officer involved however years ago it was called a barter system (you scratch my back i will scratch yours).I feel terrible for his family (suffering yet another loss).
  12. resofsennett
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    resofsennett - March 02, 2011 6:37 pm

    Ok,this is what has bothered me since day one, why immunity to locastro and vitale? During reelect of the DA i will ask! AND HE WILL NOT GET MY VOTE! They did not come forward until the deal ran out. To me what was the bigger pie?the deal should have been to hutchings to incriminate two million dollar companys!Hutch would have been fired and still charged for the retirement fund. Whom had more to gain.I checked, just the torn mud flap,$250.00 fine.And this is basic, immagine how much they got away with.Both companys have inteligent people whom should have known from the beginning this is no good.Instead they chose to get the phone calls and use the info. Not worthy of Total Immunity!Vitale and Rizzo had way way more to gain and to me were more corrupt than hutch was. Whom remember did not complain until the"unspoken"deal ended.Both VITALE AND LOCASTRO SHOULD BE FIRED!And I know one thing I will never do business with these two companys.

  13. lookinggood
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    lookinggood - March 02, 2011 6:33 pm
    Hutch had a chip on his shoulder as big as an oak tree,Take a ride by his house looks like a used car lot.He took a shot and his greed got him why doesn't he cop to stealing the 75k from his buddies then you can maybe call him a good cop.After doing the time he will repent and that chip will disappear, and so will he...
  14. Caliblaster
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    Caliblaster - March 02, 2011 1:22 pm
    Why is the chief playing the hero when he left this cop on the road for 2 years? He put every citizen in danger. His cops rights were more important then the peoples safety.
  15. Auburn0004
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    Auburn0004 - March 02, 2011 12:54 pm
    no way he was a good cop this isn't the first time that he has been caught breaking the rules its just the first time he's gotten in trouble he deserves everything he gets im sure i am not the only one who is happy with the out come of this case. He has been taking advantage of his position for way to long now
  16. The Truth
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    The Truth - March 02, 2011 11:16 am

    Convicted Felon - Period.

    Let's see the sentencing for CONSECUTIVE not concurrent terms.

    If Felon Hutchings has learned anything ... he should cop a plea deal on the money he "allegedly" stole as a "good cop" from the PBA ...
  17. Farmer's Gal
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    Farmer's Gal - March 02, 2011 10:28 am
    fishy1 said: "To all that says brian hutchings was a bad cop. Yes he did something wrong but til he did, he was good officer. I watched for over 30 yrs working for the city see the give and take go on. We see it happen on the tv everyday with our government officals. That is called bribes, and that goes on everyday."

    "Everybody else is doing it" doesn't make it right or OK.

  18. Farmer's Gal
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    Farmer's Gal - March 02, 2011 9:03 am
    The companies almost have to have been given immmunity in return for testifying -- they admitted they knew their trucks were over the new weight limit and would have been ticketed if Hutchings hadn't tipped them off to avoid the checkpoints. There has to have been some kind of deal. It's your typical corruption and not acceptable, but it's not quite the same weight of someone purposely falsifying a police report to send an innocent person to jail.

    I have to wonder about all those "good" monikers too. The tragegy in which his son died was due to a bunch of underage drinking, was it not? Where was parental guidance in that case for any of the kids in that car? And fine example he sets for his kids in terms of honesty and decent treatment of others? Nope -- I just can't see it.

  19. fishy1
    Report Abuse
    fishy1 - March 02, 2011 8:40 am
    To all that says brian hutchings was a bad cop. Yes he did something wrong but til he did, he was good officer. I watched for over 30 yrs working for the city see the give and take go on. We see it happen on the tv everyday with our government officals. That is called bribes, and that goes on everyday.
  20. daydreamer
    Report Abuse
    daydreamer - March 02, 2011 8:18 am
    So, this say's to me, that it is legal & o.k., for 2 businesses to give a bribe, and enjoy the benefits with no repercussions? I agree this cop went to far, but bribes involve 2 parties, that benefits everyone involved. It's illegal to accept a bribe, but not to give one, now?
  21. irritated
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    irritated - March 02, 2011 6:45 am
    I dont understand how he was "a good cop" when he just got convicted of 29 ways he was "a bad cop". Idiotic statement. Police that abuse the position deserve all they get in prison!
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