Convicted drug dealer Christopher Clemente was jailed yesterday after a New York Supreme Court judge reversed his decision to allow the Wharton junior to remain free on bail until his sentencing on drug and weapons charges next month. Clemente and a co-defendant, Bronx resident Leah Bundy, were found guilty of nine drug and weapons charges by a jury Wednesday night. They face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison at their sentencing February 28. Ronald Kuby, one of two attorneys for Clemente, said Wednesday that they will appeal the verdict. Judge Richard Lowe decided yesterday morning to jail Clemente -- despite his earlier statement that Clemente could remain free -- after Assistant District Attorney Maxwell Wiley made an application for Clemente's imprisonment, court officials said yesterday. According to New York District Attorney's office spokesperson Gloria Montealegre, the application cited a statute in the Criminal Procedure Law requiring that those convicted of a class A felony must be jailed. Clemente and Bundy, who were not aware of Wiley's application, were immediately taken into custody at the New York Criminal Court Building where they had come to fulfill other court procedures, court officials said. The Wharton junior was released Wednesday night after the jury's verdict was delivered due to a procedural error, according to Montealegre. A court official, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday that Clemente and Bundy were released because Judge Lowe "was trying to be nice to the defendants by letting them be released on bail," and that the release was made "kind of inadvertently." Wiley also "neglected" to remind Lowe that the statute requiring imprisonment immediately after the verdict was rendered, the court official said. Clemente's other attorney William Kunstler, a renowned civil liberties lawyer, said yesterday that imprisoning Clemente was unnecessary and reflected a lack of compassion on the part of the court system. He added that the DA's presentation of the statute yesterday morning was an attempt to "get the last pound of flesh out of these two young people." "The judge didn't know about [the statute], and the DA did not have to call it to his attention," said Kunstler. "That is the law, but the judge didn't have to do it." "We are sick at heart," Kunstler said of the Clemente's treatment throughout the trial. "It shows that young black lives are absolutely worthless to the general society." Kunstler also stressed the importance of winning an appeal, saying a long prison term would "ruin the rest of their lives."Comments powered by Disqus
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