Judge in Schoharie limo case says plea deal was ‘fundamentally flawed’
The judge in the Schoharie limousine case says the plea deal he rejected was fundamentally flawed and not based on truth.
The information was contained in a court filing obtained on Thursday by NewsChannel 13.
Hussain, the operator of the limo company in the deadly crash, has asked an appeals court to force the judge to reinstate his guilty plea and honor the terms of the deal – probation and no jail time.
Judge Peter Lynch is responding. Lynch stunned Hussain back in August, ruling he wouldn’t accept a plea deal that would sentence him to five years’ probation, and not go to jail.
Hussain withdrew his guilty plea to 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide and the judge ruled the case was headed to trial.
However, in November, Hussain’s attorneys filed what’s known as an Article 78, asking a higher court to compel Lynch to honor the original deal, arguing that Lynch abused his discretion by not abiding by the agreement.
In the 50-page response, Lynch spells out his case why he didn’t honor the deal and why the case should proceed without involvement from a higher court.
The judge’s attorney wrote:
“The plea agreement misrepresented the facts relating to Hussain’s culpability…”
The judge said the plea and sentence of probation didn’t take into account that Hussain removed the out of service sticker from the limo just days before the crash.
“…the plea agreement was “disingenuous” in how it portrayed certain facts, was “fundamentally flawed” and “not based on truth,” wrote the judge’s attorney.
Attorneys for Hussain and the judge will make oral arguments to the appellate division of the Supreme Court next month.