Case of Alleged Assault Again Adjourned

In other cases, judge calls for more community service venues

By Michael Turton

The case involving a local restaurateur was adjourned once again at the Jan. 14 (Wednesday) session of the Cold Spring Justice Court. Ray DiFrancesco, who operates Whistling Willie’s American Grill, faces two charges of assault and one charge of giving a false statement, class A misdemeanors. The charges are related to an incident in Cold Spring in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2014.

On Wednesday, Judge Thomas Costello adjourned the case until March 11 after acknowledging that a motion by Laurence Silverman, DiFrancesco’s attorney, had been “fully submitted” for the court’s consideration. DiFrancesco was arrested and arraigned on Feb. 12, 2014. The Cold Spring Police Department issued a press release regarding the incident on Feb. 25. The case has been marked by a series of adjournments since DiFrancesco’s first court appearance in April.

Community service, payment in graffiti case

A third youth charged in the August 2014 graffiti spree in Cold Spring also appeared in court. His lawyer told Judge Costello that the 17 year-old has performed 75 hours of community service at a local animal shelter and that staff there had described him as having done “a terrific job.”

The judge was not impressed. “That’s all very nice but he did it before discussing it with the court,” Costello said. “I want to know what he did.” The shelter will now be asked to provide a letter to the court detailing the dates that the youth worked and the tasks he performed. The case was adjourned until Feb. 11.

As part of Wednesday’s proceedings the youth also submitted a check for $244.23 as restitution for the damage done by the graffiti that defaced property in several village locales. The other two defendants, also both minors, paid similar restitution at their court appearance in December and were also sentenced to perform community service.

Judge calls for additional community service venues

Two male co-defendants, both minors charged with criminal trespass at Haldane School last August, appeared separately in court on Wednesday. The first has begun performing 50 hours of community service at St. Basil Academy in Garrison. Judge Costello again asked that staff there submit a letter to the court detailing the schedule and work being completed.

Legal counsel for the second defendant asked that his client’s community service, also 50 hours, be performed in Cold Spring through the Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) program administered through Putnam County in Carmel. As has been pointed out in court a number of times, the only institution in Philipstown that offers supervised community service through ATI is the sheriff’s substation in Nelsonville. “We need to broaden ATI’s resources over here,” Judge Costello commented.

The second youth, also charged with possession of marijuana, is performing an additional 30 hours of community service at Haldane. The marijuana charge was not dealt with during Wednesday’s proceedings.

Both cases were adjourned until Feb. 11 and it appears likely that after community service is complete, trespass charges against both defendants will be dismissed.


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2 thoughts on “Case of Alleged Assault Again Adjourned

  1. What is the logic for community service and arrest for possession of marijuana? It is my belief that drinking is much more destructive, contributes to domestic violence, depression and violence in general. Weed is also known to have many health benefits, the least of which is pain control and appetite increase for cancer patients as well as decrease of anxiety.

  2. Thank you, Mr. Turton, for trying to keep us informed about the painfully slow turning of Cold Spring’s wheels of justice in the case of the Whistling Willie adjournments. It’s nice that the eminent judge and the lawyers know what’s going on. It would be even nicer if the distinguished but tight-lipped legal brethren shared their secrets with us.