Police say a local convict set free last year pending retrial on an assault conviction usedthat newfound freedom to sell drugs.
Alfonso Dukes, 27, of Frank Street, appeared in Schenectady County Court this week on new drug charges. Judge Karen Drago set bail at $150,000, officials said.
Dukes was originally sentenced in 2004 to 15 years in state prison for attempted assault; he was released last year on $60,000 bail after an appellate court overturned his conviction.
The jury found that Dukes shot at Marcel Davis on Jan. 13, 2004, at 1053 Barrett St. Davis was not hurt. Dukes ultimately pleaded guilty in March to a weapons count and was sentenced to five years in state prison, a sentence that is about to expire.
But it was while he was out, in February, that prosecutors say Dukes sold heroin and cocaine near the corner of Frank and State streets.
Dukes is accused of making sales Feb. 13, Feb. 15 and Feb. 26, according to deputy chief assistant district attorney Ed Moynihan. The indictment was unsealed last month.
Dukes attorney Kent Gebert suspected this week that the drug charges were held until Dukes’ weapons sentence neared completion.
Dukes is expected to be released on that conviction in mid to late December.
Dukes has pleaded not guilty to the new charges.
In the older case, the appellate court threw out the conviction, agreeing with the defense that a juror was improperly dismissed. At issue in the appeal was a juror who believed that she and the victim may have worked at the same nursing center and vaguely recalled an incident there involving him.
Nonetheless, the juror said she was “100 percent sure” she could remain impartial and said she didn’t know the man very well, according to the ruling. The prosecutor sought the juror’s dismissal, but the defense objected. Then-County Court Judge Michael C. Eidens dismissed the juror.
The appellate court found that dismissal improper, saying sworn jurors can only be dismissed if they are found to be “grossly unqualified,” a standard not met in the Dukes case.