Appeals court hears arguments over Schoharie limo crash plea deal

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Oral arguments were heard Wednesday afternoon in the Appellate Division, 3rd Department, to determine if State Supreme Court Justice Peter Lynch overreached his legal authority by ripping up a plea agreement between Nauman Hussain and Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery.

That plea deal enabled Hussain to avoid any jail time, even though he pleaded guilty to 20 counts of vehicular manslaughter.

The original judge who signed off on that deal retired. When Lynch replaced him on the bench, Lynch called the agreement “fundamentally flawed,” “completely disingenuous,” and “unacceptable to him.”

In doing so last August, Lynch offered Hussain’s attorneys the choice of accepting a sentence of 1 1/3 to four years in prison or withdrawing his guilty plea. They chose the latter.

Hussain’s attorney Lee Kindlon argues that Lynch doesn’t have the authority to toss out the plea bargain, especially since Hussain has already begun to serve his sentence by doing community service.

Lynch is represented by attorney Angela Kelley, who is expected to argue that if Hussain wants to challenge Lynch’s decision, the time to do it would be after the conclusion of the case, pointing out there is always the possibility that Hussain could be found “not” guilty if the case goes to trial.