ITHACA, N.Y. — A man who shot an Ithaca police officer in 2012 while being pursued by police had his conviction upheld by an appellate court Thursday, despite his claims that he was wronged during his trial and sentencing.
Jamel A. Booker was convicted in a 2013 trial of first-degree criminal use of a firearm, aggravated assault on a police officer, first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and tampering with physical evidence.
According to the court, police officers said they tried to pull over Booker at about 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2012. After a police pursuit, he stopped the vehicle and and ran into nearby woods, with two IPD officers following him on foot. They ordered him on the ground while pointing a taser at him, at which point Booker pulled out a handgun and shot Officer Anthony Augustine.
The bullet managed to hit Augustine on a small portion of his body not covered by a bullet proof vest. He survived with injuries that ultimately resulted in him not being able to return to work. He retired last year.
Booker appealed his conviction on the following basis:
— The Tompkins County Court denied his motion to delay the trial until the gun used in the incident could be tested by an independent laboratory of his choosing.
— His second statement to police, when he admitted to shooting Augustine, should have been suppressed form the record because there was a 7.5 hour lapse between his confession and when he was read his Miranda Rights during a previous interview. He was in continuous custody the whole time.
— His sentence was “repugnant” — too lengthy.
The court denied all of those accusations in the appeal stating:
— The defendant had already admitted to shooting the officer and there was no theory of a second shooter. Therefore, the “defendant had failed to otherwise adequately demonstrate that the testing and potential testimony of his expert was material to his case.”
— The court cited a previous case that states, “Where a person in police custody has been issued Miranda warnings and voluntarily and intelligently waives those rights, it is not necessary to repeat the warnings -4- 106164 prior to subsequent questioning within a reasonable time thereafter, so long as the custody has remained continuous.” The court said it did not appear that Booker was coerced into making the confession, which he made to an officer he’s known for years.
–While the appellate court can modify sentences, it only does so under “extraordinary circumstances.” In this case, court officials determined that considering the severity of the crimes and injuries to Augustine, the sentence was just. Booker was sentenced to 25 years in prison.