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September 20, 2014
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Ten-year-old DWI plea reversed; local resident files own appeal


Ten years went by, Veronica graduated from New York University, and Kearney figured she would be safe now, regardless of whether he went to jail.

According to Kearney, part of the plea agreement was that Kearney would receive a “certificate of relief,” which meant he would suffer none of the civil ramifications of pleading guilty to a felony, such as not being able to vote. When in 2009 LaBuda ruled that Kearney would not be granted a certificate of relief, Kearney himself filed an appeal in the NYS Appellate Court. According to court documents, the court essentially sided with Kearney, and LaBuda scheduled a new trial.

Glenn Kroll, the new court-appointed attorney, said the most unusual part of the case was that Kearney filed his own appeal and won.

The new trial was held in August of this year, and the jury found Kearney not guilty of felony DWI. They found him guilty of Driving While Ability Impaired, which is essentially the equivalent of a traffic ticket, and the ticket for the light being out.

Kearney said that he would fight this verdict also, because, he claims, in closing arguments the prosecution falsely claimed that his mother, now suffering from Alzheimer’s, had forged a document from a Sam’s Service Station in Liberty, which was serving as the police impound, that showed that the light on the vehicle, which was supposed to be out when he was originally stopped 10 years earlier, was actually working.
Also, he claims that a police officer perjured himself on the stand.

This story is being printed now partly because Kearney is circulating a “public complaint” around the county criticizing some news outlets for reporting on the initial guilty plea, but not reporting that the case was overturned in August. This is the first story about this matter to run in The River Reporter.