Section: CAPITAL REGION Page: B7 Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
TATTOOS, BALD HEAD HELP SUSPECT GO FREE
A 43-year-old city man facing possible life imprisonment for allegedly selling drugs to an undercover officer was acquitted on all charges Monday by a Schenectady County jury. Carmine Miller, a parolee who lived at the local YMCA at the time of his arrest last year, was ordered set free after a jury returned its not-guilty verdict following nearly seven hours of deliberation.
His court-appointed defense attorney, Randall Kehoe, said discrepancies in a police officer's description of the alleged drug dealer was a weak link in the prosecution's case. According to Kehoe, police alleged the man who sold drugs to them at a State Street address on Nov. 23 and Nov. 30, 1999, was 6 foot 3 with no tattoos on his forearms and a full head of hair. Miller is 5 foot 9, heavily tattooed and always has his head shaved because he is balding, Kehoe noted. ``A key part of this case was identity,'' Kehoe said, adding that an undercover state trooper who accused Miller of selling drugs identified him from a file photograph -- not from a police lineup. The trooper was working with the Schenectady Police Vice Squad as a member of the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, he said. The jury acquitted Miller of all six counts, which included third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony. He also had been charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a felony, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. Kehoe said Miller was facing up to life imprisonment on the criminal sale counts because he is on parole for a prior felony conviction. ``This is a slam-dunk victory for this man, who was a rehabilitated man on parole earning $380 a week. This is a guy who didn't need to sell crack to make 20 bucks,'' an elated Kehoe said.
Miller was working at Price Chopper at the time of his arrest. During the trial, officials of Golub Corporation, his employer, testified that he was in good standing with the company and always had a shaved head. During its deliberation, the jury asked for readbacks on what the definition of reasonable doubt is. Alan L. Gebell prosecuted the case. County Judge Michael C. Eidens presided.