Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,


Wilson D. SERNA, Appellant.

March 16, 2000.

Randall E. Kehoe, Albany, for appellant.

Donald A. Williams, District Attorney (Joan Gudesblatt Lamb of counsel), Kingston, for respondent.



Appeal from a judgment of the County Court of Ulster County (Bruhn, J.), rendered August 5, 1998, convicting defendant upon his plea of guilty of the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree.

Defendant pleaded guilty to the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree in full satisfaction of a four-count indictment and thereafter was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 8 1/3 years to life in prison. Defendant now appeals contending that his guilty plea was not entered into knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently because he was not conversant with the English language. Alternatively, defendant contends that the sentence imposed was harsh and excessive.

[1][2][3] Initially, we note that upon a prior appeal to this court, we determined that despite defendant's failure to move to vacate the judgment or withdraw his guilty plea, the assignment of new counsel was warranted to address nonfrivolous appealable issues regarding the voluntariness of defendant's plea (see, **718People v. Serna, 262 A.D.2d 673, 692 N.Y.S.2d 481). Nevertheless, upon our review of the merits, we are unpersuaded that these issues require reversal as an exercise of our discretion in the interest of justice. A transcript of the plea proceedings reveals that defendant capably responded, in English, to the questions put to him, giving no indication that he was having difficulty understanding the proceedings such as would have alerted County Court to the need for an interpreter (see, People v. Ramos, 26 N.Y.2d 272, 275, 309 N.Y.S.2d 906, 258 N.E.2d 197). Indeed, inasmuch as defendant stated on the record that he had conferred with his attorney, that he understood the ramifications of his plea and that he was entering his guilty plea freely and voluntarily, we find no basis for vacating the guilty plea (see, People v. Espinal, 176 A.D.2d 417, 418, 574 N.Y.S.2d 406). Finally, defendant's lack of criminal history notwithstanding, we see no reason to disturb the imposition of the agreed-upon sentence (see, People v. O'Byrne, 262 A.D.2d 867, 868, 694 N.Y.S.2d 488,lv. denied93 N.Y.2d 1024, 697 N.Y.S.2d 583, 719 N.E.2d 944).

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed.


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