By Don Lehmandlehman@poststar.com
Published: Saturday, June 28, 2008
Erin Reid Cokerfirstname.lastname@example.org
Alicia C. Lewie appears in Warren County Court on Friday morning for a re-sentencing. To order copies of staff-produced photos from The Post-Star, please visit http://reprints.poststar.com/.
QUEENSBURY - Alicia C. Lewie's prison sentence for her role in the death of her infant son was reduced Friday after a judge found that he erroneously stacked prison terms Thursday.Instead of the 10- to 30-year sentence that Warren County Judge John Hall imposed Thursday, the sentence was modified so Lewie will serve 7-1/3 to 22 years.
QUEENSBURY - Alicia C. Lewie's prison sentence for her role in the death of her infant son was reduced Friday after a judge found that he erroneously stacked prison terms Thursday.
Instead of the 10- to 30-year sentence that Warren County Judge John Hall imposed Thursday, the sentence was modified so Lewie will serve 7-1/3 to 22 years.
Hall's decision came after a spirited debate about the law regarding consecutive and concurrent sentences, whether Lewie has shown remorse, and an accusation by the judge that she perjured herself when testifying at trial.
Lewie's lawyer, Michael Keenan, accused Hall and the Warren County District Attorney's Office of "trying to bend the law to go above what the law allows" when imposing consecutive sentences.
"There seems to be a zeal to punish this lady beyond what the law allows," Keenan said.
Hall had imposed the 10- to 30-year sentence under the belief that the two second-degree manslaughter counts of which Lewie was convicted were separate acts.
One alleged she failed to get prompt medical treatment for her 7-month-old son, Cobi Bullock, while the other accused her of improperly leaving him in the care of Michael D. Flint Jr., the man who beat, bit and choked the child to death. Flint has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 22-years-to-life in prison.
Consecutive sentences can generally be imposed when a defendant's charges arise from separate acts, which is the law cited by Hall when he initially decided to stack the manslaughter sentences.
But in the case of a homicide where there is only one victim, it appeared the sentences could not be stacked, though the judge said there was a dearth of case law on the issue.
He said there was case law to show that Lewie's conviction for first-degree reckless endangerment could be treated as a separate act because it preceded Colbi's death. So he decided Lewie will serve that sentence consecutively -- after the 5- to 15-year term for the manslaughter charges.
"She knew the pain of this child; she knew Michael Flint was hurting this child," Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said after she asked for a consecutive sentence on the reckless endangerment count.
Hall's decision to do so seemed to anger Keenan, who questioned why the judge showed "lenience" to Flint and gave him less than the maximum despite the fact he physically killed Colbi.
The judge pointed out that Flint showed remorse from the first day of the case and pleaded guilty.
"At least he had the conscience to say, 'I did a terrible thing,' " the judge said of Flint.
Lewie, on the other hand, told Warren County Probation Officer Michelle Rodriguez during a pre-sentence interview that the prosecution was "ludicrous," and she had not shown any remorse publicly, Hall said.
The judge said Lewie also told a "bold-faced lie" when testifying at her trial, though he did not elaborate on which part of her testimony he deemed false.
Much of her testimony was in direct conflict with that of her friends and acquaintances who testified about what she knew and said about the abuse of Colbi before his death.
Keenan said Lewie has often shown remorse when he's met with her, and her comment about the situation being "ludicrous" was directed at the decision to prosecute her.
"She thought it was overcharged; she never should have been charged with manslaughter, and she never should have gone to trial," Keenan said.
As with Thursday's sentencing, Lewie did not speak during Friday's hearing, and she had no comment as she left court.
Keenan has said the conviction and sentence will be appealed.
Lewie will have to serve at least 7-1/3 years before becoming eligible for parole.
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