A 24-year-old lifetime resident of East Hampton Town has been sentenced to a year and a half in jail, the result of a long string of arrests, going back years, that ended with two guilty pleas to felonies in county court.
Christopher Scott Verity has been arrested, most often by East Hampton Town police, numerous times over the past few years. Earlier this year, he was arrested on a felony charge following a domestic violence case. Unable to make bail, he spent five days in jail,.
Less than two weeks later, he was under arrest again on a felony charge, this time driving while intoxicated, following a three-vehicle accident on Springs-Fireplace Road in Springs, after which he allegedly left the scene. “I was scared. I knew what would happen. I knew I was going to jail,” he told police.
He was right. The arrest caused the probation department to issue a violation charge. Verity has been in jail since February 21.
He was brought to East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday, June 7, from the county jail in Riverside by deputy sheriffs. He was wearing an olive-green county-issued jump suit and was shackled at the ankles.
He had nine open cases for East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana to unravel, working with Rudy Migliore, assistant district attorney, and Matt D’Amato, Verity’s attorney. The charges varied, stemming from traffic infractions, to charges such as reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, assault, drunken driving, a violation of probation, and criminal tampering.
Verity had previously pleaded guilty in county court to two felony drunken driving charges. He was sentenced to one year on one of the cases, and six months on the other, to run consecutively.
After a 20-minute conference, the lawyers and Justice Rana had their ducks in a row. The felony drunken driving charge, at the local level, and the accompanying six charges on that docket, including leaving the scene of an accident and felony unlicensed driving were dismissed, since they had been dealt with in county court. Four separate dockets for traffic infractions were dismissed.
The misdemeanor assault charge and the felony criminal mischief charge were reduced all the way to a simple violation of harassment, to which Verity pleaded guilty. It was unlikely there would have been a conviction on those charges. The victim in that case, for whom an order of protection had been issued, was sitting next to Verity when he was arrested on the drunken driving charge two weeks after the domestic incident.
Verity entered an admission of guilt to the violation of probation. He was sentenced to another four months on that charge, to run concurrently with the county time, and 15 days for the harassment violation, also to run concurrently.
Then Justice Rana spoke. “You are eventually going to get out. I hope we are not going to have a repeat performance,” she said. She told Verity that, at one point, he had appeared to have cleaned himself up. Then came another string of arrests. “This was a total meltdown,” she added.
Felony Charges Dropped
A Smithtown attorney was cleared of three felony drug possession charges in East Hampton Town Justice Court May 31. Daniel Wasp, 50, had been pulled over in downtown Montauk early morning April 11 for “insufficient taillights” while driving at night. Because he had a suspended license, East Hampton Town police reported, he was placed under arrest, leading to a search of his car.
Inside a knapsack in the car, police allegedly found various illegal drugs, including more than a half gram of what tested positive as cocaine, and five milligrams of what police said was methamphetamine, along with various packaging materials and a scale. He was charged with several misdemeanors, along with three felonies, which included possession of the methamphetamine and possession of cocaine, along with possession with intent to sell. All these charges were based on the alleged weight the police recorded of the drugs involved.
However, after the narcotics were sent to the Suffolk County crime lab, the district attorney’s office agreed with the application by Matthew D’Amato, Wasp’s attorney from the Legal Aid Society, to reduce the felony possession charges to the misdemeanor level and drop the intent to sell altogether.
Carl Irace, a local attorney who was a prosecutor in the Bronx district attorney’s office, recently explained the process involved when the police hand off illegal drugs to the county crime lab. Police file charges based on the actual weight of the drugs the seize.
When the crime lab examines the drug, they take samples, and test its purity. Because narcotics are frequently cut when they change hands by adding, say, milk powder to cocaine, allowing the buyer to keep some of the narcotic for himself, the potency of the seized drug can vary greatly. It is the total weight of the actual drug in the powder the lab is testing for.
What starts off as over half a gram of cocaine, which would trigger a felony charge, could easily end up testing as under a half gram of pure cocaine, which would be a misdemeanor. Such was the case with the drugs allegedly seized from Wasp, according to remarks made in court by Migliore who agreed to lower the charges to the misdemeanor level May 31.
Jailed Greenport Man Slated for Deportation
The Greenport man who was remanded to county jail May 17 for allegedly eluding, over a period of many months, the probation department’s attempts to conduct an interview before his criminal case in East Hampton Town Justice Court could be adjudicated, remains behind bars, with deportation proceedings looming over him.
According to a memo sent to the justice court from the probation department, Jignesh Patel, who had been working as a manager at American Beech Restaurant on Main Street in Greenport before he was remanded May 17, had finally been interviewed by the probation department. “The defendant was remorseful and apologized for being deceitful, and evading both the probation department and the court,” the memo reads.
“He reasoned that, due to his illegal immigration status, he feared deportation and wanted to remain in the United States,” the memo continues. “On May 21, an immigration detainer was placed on Mr. Patel,” the memo states.
The memo concludes that, due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the probation department hadn’t had time to complete his assessment, which is needed in order for him to enter a guilty plea on a drunken driving charge in East Hampton. He will be brought to East Hampton’s Justice Court on June 14. The court had not received the probation department’s report as of Monday, but it likely will be in hand for Thursday’s date.