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Appellate court to consider three Jefferson County court decisions

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The state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, this week will consider the appeals of three decisions rendered in Jefferson County courts.

The court in Rochester will hear appeals on the County Court manslaughter conviction of Krista M. Goley, the predatory sexual assault conviction of Joseph M. Bowman, also rendered in County Court, and a state Supreme Court ruling that determined IBC Sales Corp. could not file a late notice of claim against the village of Black River in a dispute over zoning for a vacant West Remington Street warehouse.

Goley, 28, a former Fort Drum soldier, is serving an at least 26-year sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for fatally stabbing her boyfriend, Timothy C. Rolland, 21, in 2010. A County Court jury found her guilty in January 2012 of first-degree manslaughter and several other charges, determining that she acted in a way that could cause physical harm or death to Mr. Rolland, a former Fort Drum soldier whom she stabbed Sept. 1, 2010, at their residence at 111 E. Lynde St., Apt. 3. The jury found Goley not guilty of second-degree murder.

At trial, Goley’s defense attorney maintained that she was protecting herself against an intoxicated Mr. Rolland, stabbing him with a butcher knife as he raised his hand to strike her. However, witnesses testified that Mr. Rolland was not acting aggressively when he was stabbed. He also suffered eight superficial stab wounds before suffering a 5-inch-deep wound in his chest that proved fatal. Her appeal is due to be heard today.

Also today, the appellate court will take up the matter of IBC Sales Corp., Kansas City., Mo., which is trying to sue Black River over a building it is trying to sell, but has been unable to find a buyer for, allegedly because of zoning restrictions on the property.

A potential buyer of the property, United Realty & Development LLC, was told it was not going to be allowed to use the building for commercial purposes, even though IBC Sales had used it as a Wonder Bread and Hostess distribution center for decades. Stephen A. Gilbert, principal of United Realty and operations manager for Git R Done automotive repair shop on Route 3, wants to buy the property as an adjunct to his repair business, which has outgrown its present location. However, without a zoning change or variance, he cannot operate the business in the warehouse, a restriction he claims in court documents has cost him more than $500,000 in potential revenue.

When the building was erected in the 1930s, there was no zoning in the village. In 1985, an ordinance was enacted that put the building in the Residential A zone, creating a nonconforming use for the commercial property, which IBC Sales stopped using in 2006. The Zoning Board of Appeals has maintained that while the building’s nonconforming commercial use was “grandfathered” in when zoning regulations were adopted, IBC Sales lost that status when the building sat vacant or “abandoned” for more than a year. IBC Sales has countered that the building was never abandoned and its nonconforming use allowance never lapsed, alleging that the village Department of Public Works and Mayor Leland J. Carpenter used the building for storage, which IBC Sales contends was essentially what the company used it for until 2006.

Judge Hugh A. Gilbert denied the zoning change request in February 2012, agreeing that IBC Sales had abandoned the property and stating that the board properly denied variances that would have allowed the company to use the building for purposes that no longer conformed with village zoning law. That matter also has been appealed to the Appellate Division, although the appeal has not been heard.

Judge Gilbert also ruled in August that IBC Sales could not bring a late notice of claim, essentially stating that the matter has been decided and that IBC Sales’s delay in bringing a new action, which would include claims of “tortious interference with prospective business advantage,” did not rise to the level of granting the late filing. That decision is the subject of the appeal to be heard today.

On Thursday, the appellate court will hear arguments on the appeal of Mr. Bowman, 35, who is serving a 17 years to life sentence at Attica Correctional Facility for a March 2012 conviction after trial of predatory sexual assault of a child. He had been accused in a grand jury indictment handed up in September of engaging in numerous sexual acts with a 7-year-old girl from October 2009 to June 2010.

Mr. Bowman repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and pleaded with Judge Kim H. Martusewicz at his May 2012 sentencing to sentence him to the minimum sentence allowed, 10 years to life. While Mr. Bowman faces a minimum 17-year sentence on the state charges, he still faces a minimum term of incarceration of 23 years after a guilty plea in June 2012 in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to a charge that he possessed child pornography on his computer. He also was ordered to undergo supervision for the remainder of his life in that matter.

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