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Judge shortens man’s drug and DWI sentence

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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— A city man who challenged the length of his sentences on drunken-driving and drug convictions has won his challenge and will be released earlier, his attorney said this week.

Fred D. Clark, 41, filed papers in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County in August challenging his total sentence. Clark argued time he spent in jail on two separate cases prior to sentencing should have been credited to both sentences, even though the overall sentences were meant to run consecutively.

The difference between the calculations was 78 days, meaning release at the end of this month or in January. After arguments last week, Justice Barry Kramer sided with Clark, his attorney, Steve Kouray, said.

Kouray said Kramer focused on the court transcript where acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino told Clark he would receive credit for both cases.

“That’s what swung it my way,” Kouray said.

Clark was arrested in Schenectady in February 2011 and charged with driving while intoxicated. He posted bail and was released after three days in jail.

Nearly two years later, in January 2013, with the drunken-driving case still unresolved, Clark was arrested again, this time on a drug possession charged, and was again ordered held in jail.

Soon after, Kouray requested his client’s bail in the drunken-driving case be revoked, a common move by attorneys for clients facing new crimes. The move allows the defendant to accrue time served on both cases, which is useful if they are later convicted of both.

Clark soon pleaded guilty in both cases and was sentenced in April to one year in jail in the drunken-driving case and six months in the drug possession case. The sentences were to run consecutively.

The issue came down to whether those 78 days in custody from February to April counted once, per the consecutive sentences, or toward both sentences.

With credit for “good time,” Clark should now be released Oct. 25.

Arguing the case on the other side was the Schenectady County Attorney’s Office. Officials there could not be reached Tuesday.

 
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