Franklin County conviction upheld PDF Print E-mail
Written by SUE BOTSFORD, Contributing Writer   
Monday, April 09, 2007

PLATTSBURGH — A state appeals court has upheld a conviction in Franklin County Court.
Bruce D. Davenport was convicted in September 2005 of second-degree aggravated harassment.
According to the decision by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, he threatened his girlfriend and their child during a telephone conversation.
He contends he was denied a fair trial because of a court ruling and "caustic remarks" by Judge Robert Main.
During the hearing in question, Main had been presented with Davenport's numerous past arrests, convictions and violations of probation.
The judge did not permit inquiry at trial into many of them, but he did rule to permit questioning into three: attempted sexual misconduct, criminal mischief and unlawfully dealing with a child.
In addition, after concerns were raised by the defense, Main requested written memoranda from both sides of the issue.
Following this, the judge adhered to his original ruling, giving a more detailed explanation.
He said he was permitting inquiry into those convictions because none was too similar to the charged crime, none involved spontaneous violence on Davenport's part and each showed his willingness to place his own interests above those of society.
Thus, the ruling was well thought out and proper, the appeals court ruled.
Before opening statements, Main had briefly excused the jurors after saying that "an issue arose, which has me upset to a considerable extent."
He said he was "not going to say anything more about it than that" and that he "need(ed) to give (the matter) some attention" before going on.
The "issue" concerned certain evidence from the defense.
The appeals court said the judge's remarks were not objected to at the time and therefore were not preserved for appeal. However, the remarks were not caustic and were, in fact, innocuous, the justices said.



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