Wharton junior Christopher Clemente is scheduled to stand trial on felony drugs and weapons charges January 7, almost one year to the day after he was arrested in a Harlem apartment. At a hearing on Friday, New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe also stood by his earlier decision to disqualify only one item of evidence against Clemente. Last month, Clemente's attorneys, Ronald Kuby and William Kunstler, asked that the judge reconsider their motion for suppression of a total of six items which are key to the prosection's case. They said the judge's September ruling was filled with inaccuracies about undisputed facts. The decision stated that a 14-ounce bag of cocaine, the largest single quantity of drugs found by police in the apartment, was seized illegally because it was not in plain view. Kuby criticized Lowe for not changing his decision, saying that the ruling failed to deal with the issues raised. "It's like litigating in front of a moron," Kuby said. "It's like talking to a wall." He added that he would consider using the ruling to support an appeal if Clemente is convicted on any of the nine felony drug and weapons charges he faces. The New York lawyer added that he believes even District Attorney Max Wiley was uncomfortable with the way Lowe has handled the evidence, but a New York DA's office spokesperson said Friday that she had not spoken to Wiley about the hearing and could not comment on it. At the January trial, which attorneys said will probably last less than a week, Clemente will face nine felony drug and weapons charges and one misdemeanor drug charge. Three of the charges carry a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment. The charges stem from Clemente's January 9 arrest in a Harlem apartment. Other than the 14 ounces of powdered cocaine, police say they confiscated over 200 vials of crack cocaine, a loaded M-11 gun and a drug ledger in the apartment. An additional 2000 vials of crack and a loaded semi-automatic machine pistol were thrown out of an apartment window just after officers surrounded the building, police said. The defense attorneys have argued that these six pieces of evidence are inadmissible, charging that they were seized illegally. They said that since police were originally responding to a report of a shooting, the emergency condition under which they searched the apartment only allowed officers to conduct a "quick sweep" to ensure that no gunman or shooting victim were in the rooms. Kuby has said that despite the evidence against Clemente, he is confident that the Wharton junior will be cleared of all charges.Comments powered by Disqus
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