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What you need to know for 10/21/2017

Appellate judges throw out 2011 Schenectady rape conviction

Appellate judges throw out 2011 Schenectady rape conviction

A man convicted in 2011 of raping a prostitute won a new trial Thursday after an appeals court found

A man convicted in 2011 of raping a prostitute won a new trial Thursday after an appeals court found a juror should have been dismissed and the jury improperly deliberated in his case.

The issues are the same ones raised by the man’s attorney prior to sentencing.

Richard Cridelle, 44, was convicted after trial in April 2011 of raping the woman a year earlier at his Schenectady apartment.

Prosecutors alleged at trial Cridelle picked up the woman in May 2010 and took her back to his apartment and raped her. He chose her as a victim, prosecutors alleged, because she was a prostitute and addicted to drugs.

His defense attorney said the two had sex, but argued it was a consensual prostitution transaction. Cridelle’s trial attorney was Mark Gaylord, while Fred Ackerman represented Cridelle at sentencing.

The conviction came after issues arose with two jurors, both of whom were allowed to remain on the panel.

Ackerman raised those questions about the jury’s deliberations, asking the trial judge, Richard Giardino, to set aside the verdict and order a new trial. Giardino declined to do so and proceeded to sentencing.

The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court reversed that ruling, ordering a new trial.

Ackerman couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

The first problem came when Juror No. 4 indicated to the court after deliberations began that she felt she couldn’t decide someone’s guilt or innocence. She was given the night to think about it, came back in the morning and, after being given further instructions, felt she could continue.

In the meantime, though, Giardino found she was “grossly unqualified,” but allowed her to return to deliberations after she felt she could continue.

Then, as court officials tried to sort out the issues with Juror No. 4, the jury sent out another note, questioning the qualifications of Juror No. 12.

The Appellate Division found that had that been the sole issue it would have required a new trial as it was apparent the jury deliberated with fewer than 12 present.

Jessica Lorusso, who prosecuted the case for the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office, said Thursday she was reviewing the decision, but noted the decision had nothing to do with the quality of the proof in the case.

Lorusso said she hadn’t had an opportunity to contact the victim, but intended to retry the case.

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