MALONE — A veteran correction officer cried in Franklin County Court Wednesday as he was sentenced to state prison for trying to smuggle heroin into Bare Hill Correctional Facility.Michael Bradish, 43, of Route 190, Plattsburgh was sentenced to concurrent terms of 11/3 to 4 years in prison after pleading guilty in February to first-degree attempted promotion of prison contraband and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr. also sentenced him to a concurrent one-year term in County Jail on a charge of official misconduct.Bradish, who worked as a correction officer with the State Department of Corrections for 16 years, admitted he smuggled small packets of heroin into the prison and gave it to inmates in exchange for money and gifts.He would receive the drugs and the gifts through packages sent through the U.S. Postal Service.Two other people have faced charges in connection with the case, which got its start when the Franklin County District Attorney's Office initiated a four-month investigation through the Inspector General's Office to learn why there were so many prison-contraband arrests being made at Bare Hill.Bradish was arrested in September while in uniform.Wednesday, he was dressed in a jail-issued, two-piece orange outfit and chained about the waist and ankles and then handcuffed in front.About 15 people crowded together in the gallery behind the defendant's table to witness the sentencing. All were warned by a court officer not to talk to or attempt to communicate with Bradish during the court appearance.
Defense attorney Gregory LaDuke asked Main to have his client's handcuffs removed, a request that was denied.Then he asked the court to consider placing his client on probation for five years and have him serve the first year in County Jail because he has two small children and a wife at home.When told he could address the court if he wanted to, Bradish apologized for his actions, saying he was ashamed of himself."I wanted to say how remorseful I am and how sorry I am. I have a wife and two children, my mom and dad, brothers and sisters, and I have humiliated them."Bradish also offered an apology to the Department of Correctional Services officers with whom he worked, "for all I did to them," calling the agency "a good organization."He told the judge the whole thing "was my mistake. It was my mess-up and my problem."Calling himself "a good person," Bradish asked Main not to punish his wife and family "for what was my responsibility."
When Bradish finished, the judge remained quiet for a length of time, then spoke, choosing his words carefully and barely containing his anger."Courts such as this routinely entrust defendants to the care and custody of both sheriffs and Department of Correctional Services," he said, with hopes that the deputies and correction officers who carry out those day-to-day responsibilities treat inmates well and look out for their welfare.But, Main said, Bradish ignored that responsibility to the courts, the correction supervisors, his co-workers and the inmates when he brought drugs into the facility."He has brought shame onto the department and, more tragically, embarrassment to the thousands of correction officers who every day and night put themselves on the line to appropriately exercise their responsibility to the care and custody of inmates."Main said Bradish endangered not only the inmates receiving the drugs but the officers responsible for supervising them in that drug-addled condition.He said he was incredulous that Bradish would claim in a pre-sentencing report to the County Probation Department that he didn't realize what he was doing, "as an explanation for this sordid affair."I find it impossible to believe that a correction officer with 16 years of experience could be as naive as he professes in the report," the judge said."This is not a case for probation. This case cries out for a strong response for conduct of a nefarious nature."
A softly whispered "Oh, my God," followed by loud sobbing came from the gallery as the judge began sentencing Bradish to prison and ordered him to pay $320 in court surcharges and fees.A crying woman hurried from the courtroom after the first prison term was announced and did not return.As the case concluded and he was being prepared to leave the room, Bradish looked at the crowd of people who came to support him.Still visible were the paths that tears took as they streamed down his face. But he could not wipe them away because his movements were restricted by the shackles.
Two other people involved in the smuggling case were Scott Monroe of Brasher Falls and Lt. Timothy Flint.Flint, a 15-year veteran of the Corrections Department, was charged with official misconduct and second-degree obstructing governmental administration for allegedly alerting Bradish that he was the focus of the internal investigation by the Inspector General's Office.Attempts to reach Malone Town Court Wednesday to learn the disposition on the case were not successful.Monroe was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree conspiracy for allegedly accepting the mailed packages and then turning them over to Bradish.His case is pending in St. Lawrence County Court, but a disposition of his case was not available Wednesday.