AUBURN — Judge Mark Fandrich denied a motion in Cayuga County Court Tuesday to dismiss the case against an Auburn man charged with assaulting a police officer last year.
Jason Murphy, of 81 Bradford St., was arrested July 16 in the Mavis Discount Tire parking lot downtown by Auburn Police Officer Nicholas Atkins, who was responding to a call around 1:03 a.m. about suspicious activity.
APD Deputy Chief Roger Anthony said Murphy pulled away from Atkins while being arrested for violating a city weapons ordinance, bringing them both to the ground. Police said a knife was later recovered from the scene.
The 37-year-old was charged with the misdemeanors of resisting arrest and second-degree obstructing governmental administration, as well as second-degree assault with intent to physically injure, a class D felony.
"The facts of this case, frankly, are disturbing," she said in her opening statement Tuesday morning, when she argued a motion for dismissal "in the interest of justice," citing the prosecution's handling of an inquiry into a grand juror and Murphy's right to a speedy trial.
A member of the Cayuga County Grand Jury that indicted Murphy said he was familiar with the defendant from high school. Porter said it was legally required for the prosecution's inquiry into the matter be private, but it instead happened in front of other jurors.
Porter also claimed Murphy's right to a speedy trial was violated because the district attorney's office did not announce readiness under the timelines that went into effect Jan. 1 along with bail reform.
She said the prosecution's timeframe to announce readiness for trial lapsed, and there was no reason for "non-compliance."
District Attorney Jon Budelmann disputed both claims. He said a valid declaration of readiness was submitted in compliance with the law and there was no requirement to conduct a private inquiry into the juror — who Budelmann said recognized Murphy only after seeing and hearing his testimony.
The lawyers also went back and forth about the alleged facts of the incident. Budelmann stated there was nothing "inappropriate or illegal" about the officer's investigation and that Atkins responded reasonably when Murphy allegedly repeatedly ignored his requests. Budelmann also said a knife was clipped to Murphy's pocket.
In response, Porter again called the facts of the case "disturbing" and noted that Atkins himself stated Murphy gave an explanation of what he was doing. She said in the beginning of her motions she believed there were enough factual errors to warrant dismissal.
Fandrich said the set of circumstances surrounding Murphy's case were "troubling," but he ultimately sided with Budelmann's assessment of speedy trial and grand jury sufficiency, denying the motion to dismiss.
Murphy's case was scheduled for trial Dec. 17.
Also in court:
• A registered sex offender residing in Sodus was sentenced to five years of probation for failing to report a change of address.
Jeffrey Richmond, 47, currently of 6688 Maxwell Road, admitted on Feb. 25 to not reporting his change of address in April 2018 to the Division of Criminal Justice Services within the 10-day period required by law. He received the probation sentence in exchange for previously pleading guilty to the class E felony.
Budelmann recommended the agreed-upon sentence but asked Fandrich to address what he said was Richmond's denial in the pre-sentence report. Fandrich proceeded with the original offer after Richmond confirmed that the alleged facts were correct and that he knew his actions were illegal.
• An Auburn man was taken into custody of the Cayuga County Jail Tuesday after being sentenced for two attempted sex crimes.
Ronald Capone, 49, of 7670 State St. Road, admitted Feb. 25 to attempting to engage in oral and anal sexual conduct with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old boy but was actually a member of the FBI.
He received a promised sentence of 10 years probation and six months in jail for pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree attempted criminal sex acts, class E felonies.
Fandrich denied a tearful request from Capone to postpone his period of incarceration in order to make arrangements for his elderly parents. He cited that Capone had an extra month to make plans. His sentencing was originally scheduled for May 19 but was pushed back when New York state courts shut down physical proceedings and adjourned almost all legal matters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Capone will also have to pay a $50 DNA testing fee, $325 crime victim assistance fee and a $1,000 supplemental fee after he is released from jail.
• A 31-year-old Auburn man was sentenced to five years of probation for possessing marijuana. Budelmann said Daniel Lisano, of 17 Canoga St., Apt. 1, pleaded guilty Feb. 25 to second-degree criminal possession of marijuana for possessing about 4 pounds of the drug.
Staff writer Mary Catalfamo can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on Twitter @mrycatalfamo.
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