Graffiti cases all but settled
By Michael Turton
Ray DiFrancesco, operator of Whistling Willie’s American Grill, made a brief appearance in Cold Spring Justice Court on Wednesday, April 8, accompanied by his attorney Laurence Silverman. DiFrancesco is scheduled to go on trial on May 18, charged with three misdemeanors — assault, reckless endangerment and making a false statement — each related to an incident that took place near Cold Spring’s main intersection early on the morning of Jan. 1, 2014.
On Wednesday, Silverman told the court that he intends to file a notice of motion to have the charges dismissed “in the interests of justice.” Judge Thomas Costello gave Silverman until April 22 to file the necessary papers, pointing out to him and Assistant Putnam County District Attorney David Bishop that the May trial date still applies. A regular session of the Justice Court is also scheduled for May 13.
At the court’s March session, Costello reported that two motions filed by Silverman, one to have the case dismissed and another to disqualify Costello, had been rejected by the Putnam County Supreme Court.
The trial date for Cold Spring resident Richard Weissbrod, who faces a charge of harassment in the second degree, was adjourned until April 30. The trial had been set for April 16, however Bishop requested the delay. Weissbrod is alleged to have harassed a resident of Cold Spring at a polling station in the village on Election Day in March 2014.
Connecticut resident Jillian Salcido was back in court again. The 29-year-old is charged with grand larceny and is alleged to have stolen a wallet at Whistling Willie’s in January of this year. Costello hesitated to grant her lawyer’s request for an adjournment until May because Salcido had not specified to the court where she is living. When her attorney Christopher Maher said he was puzzled as to why that was an issue since his client has never failed to appear in court, Costello was clearly not amused.
“I have a right to know where she is living, and a contact number,” he said. Maher explained that his client is living with her parents. Costello remained unconvinced, responding, “I want a handwritten (note) today, to be signed by her parents,” confirming her residency. Maher and Salcido returned to the courtroom later with the note. The case was then adjourned until May 13. The note signed by the parents must be submitted to the court prior to that date. If found guilty, Salcido could face up to four years in prison.
Anthony Alvarado, 44, was shackled as he was ushered into court by officers from the Putnam County Jail. He faces charges of forgery and possession of marijuana stemming from an incident at Drug World in Cold Spring in January. Alvarado has accepted an offer from Bishop to enter a court-run diversion program as an alternative to incarceration. If he enters the program but fails to complete it, Alvarado could face two to seven years in jail. The case was adjourned until May.
The court is all but finished dealing with Cold Spring’s graffiti vandals. The last of three minors charged in connection with a widespread graffiti spree in the village in August 2014 appeared in court accompanied by his attorney. The youth recently completed 75 hours of court-ordered community service at Our Lady of Loretto Church and had previously paid restitution of $244. The other two defendants have paid similar amounts and also completed community service.
Costello accepted Bishop’s recommendation, granting an adjournment on contemplation of dismissal (ACD). Assuming the youth maintains a clean record, the charges against him will be dismissed on Oct. 8. The judge commented that he had received “sterling reports” regarding the defendant’s community service work and congratulated him, before offering some stern advice. “The next time it’s two in the morning and you’re bored, stick to the Xbox!”
Another minor, one of two charged with trespass at Haldane School last August, was also granted an ACD and will have charges against him dismissed in October, assuming no other issues arise. The defendant had completed 50 hours of community service and, like the previous young offender, was praised by the judge for having done the work in a satisfactory manner. “Congratulations,” Costello said, “but let’s not have a repeat.” The response was a simple, “No, sir.”
The second defendant in the Haldane trespass case also appeared in court, having completed 50 hours of community service at St. Basil Academy in Garrison. The case was adjourned until May to allow time for necessary paperwork to be completed.