GLOVERSVILLE — A Gloversville man will get a new opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea in a sex abuse case, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
Michael Oliver, 51, pleaded guilty in Fulton County Court in December 2015 to one count of first-degree sexual abuse. He was accused of having inappropriate contact with a girl younger than 11 in Oppenheim and Gloversville.
At his sentencing, Oliver attempted to take back his plea and press his case to trial. The judge in the case denied his request and sentenced him to five years in state prison.
Oliver appealed, and the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court found that Oliver's attorney at sentencing made comments that could have been seen as undermining Oliver's arguments to take back his plea. The appeals court found that, after those comments, the judge should have appointed a different attorney to represent Oliver on his motion to withdraw his plea.
The court essentially reset the case to the point where Oliver sought to take back his plea and ordered a new attorney be assigned so he could explore that request further. If he chooses to pursue it again, a judge would hear arguments and then decide whether to allow him to take back his plea. If he is allowed, the case would be set back on course for trial. If he is not, he would be sentenced again under the original plea deal.