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COURT

After original conviction reversed on appeal, Auburn man sentenced on drug charges again

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AUBURN — Following a Cayuga County Court jury trial conviction getting reversed by an appeals court last year, an Auburn man has been sentenced again.

Sid Shabazz Harrison, 42, who had a previously listed address of 11 Cady St., was in front of Judge Thomas Leone in court Thursday for sentencing. Harrison was facing charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony; fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony; and two counts of second-degree using drug paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor.

He was originally convicted of all of those counts in a jury trial in February 2020 and was sentenced that September. However, the state Appellate Division-Fourth Department reversed the conviction in a December 2021 decision, granting Harrison a new trial.

After jury selection at the end of the first day of his new trial in March, Harrison pleaded guilty.

In court Thursday, Harrison requested an adjournment to his sentencing, saying he has a relative who is dying.

"I just need some time," he said. 

Leone acknowledged the request but ultimately denied it, sentencing Harrison to five years in state prison and three years of post-release supervision for both possession charges. He was also sentenced to 364 days in Cayuga County Jail for both paraphernalia counts, with all of the sentences running concurrently. 

Each of the charges are connected to when the Auburn Police Department executed a state parole warrant in the Grant Avenue area in September 2019. Over 1/8th of an ounce of cocaine, a digital scale and a cutting agent were discovered in the search.

The appellate court ruled that a statement from a prospective juror regarding the credibility of police officers' testimony during the jury selection process for Harrison's original trial "cast serious doubt on his ability to render an impartial verdict," saying the judge in the case should have allowed that juror to be removed for cause. The appeals court said the defense for Harrison was improperly forced to use one of its peremptory challenges to have that prospective juror removed.

After the case Thursday, acting Cayuga County District Attorney Brittany Grome Antonacci said she respectfully disagreed with the appellate court's decision at the time. Regarding Harrison's request for a delay to his sentence starting, she added that Leone had already adjourned Harrison's sentence for a month back in May.

Also in court:

•  A Syracuse man received state prison time for drug charges in court Thursday.

Rondale L. Cooper, 34, faced charges of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was given a previously agreed-upon sentence of four years in state prison and three years of post-release supervision for the fourth-degree possession charge. 

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Education and City Reporter

Hello, my name is Kelly Rocheleau, and I cover the education and city beats for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. I've been writing for the paper since December 2016.

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