A New York Supreme Court Judge will sentence former Wharton junior Christopher Clemente today to a minimum sentence of life in prison for several drug and weapons violations. Colleen Roche, a spokesperson for the New York District Attorney's office, said yesterday that Clemente's conviction on two counts of first degree criminal possession of a controlled substance carry a minimum sentence of life imprisonment. The earliest Clemente would be eligible for parole is in 15 years, according to Roche. One of Clemente's two lawyers, famed civil liberties attorney William Kunstler, said yesterday Judge Richard Lowe will "definitely" announce a sentence which would allow Clemente to be eligible for parole after 15 years. Kunstler said yesterday he and Clemente's other lawyer, Ronald Kuby, will appeal the guilty verdicts immediately, adding that they feel they have good grounds for the appeal. Kunstler said he plans to bar Clemente's two earlier arrests from evidence in the appeal so Clemente can testify on his own behalf. The former Wharton student did not testify at his trial last month. Because these arrests occurred when Clemente was a minor, prosecutors were unable to present them as evidence on their own. If Clemente had taken the stand during the trial, prosecutors could have questioned him about them, however. Clemente and his lawyers chose to keep him off the stand during the trial rather than let jurors learn of the arrests. Both Clemente and co-defendant Leah Bundy were convicted of nine drug and weapons charges Jan. 17. Clemente and Bundy were arrested on the night of January 9, 1990 in a Harlem apartment by Police responding to a call of a man shot. In the apartment, police found 214 vials of crack cocaine, several large chunks of crack, and a loaded MAC-11 machine pistol. Police testified that 2000 vials of crack, a 9mm pistol and a scale were dropped out of the apartment window. Kunstler, who has been characteristically outspoken throughout the case, said Clemente's predicament was a "terrible tragedy".Comments powered by Disqus
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