New Cascino trial delayed but not by him
COPAKE—The jury trial of Salvatore Cascino in Town Court on a charge of operating a solid waste facility without a permit has been postponed for lack of someone to write it all down.
A convicted felon and serial scofflaw, Mr. Cascino, 76, of Larchmont in Westchester County, has spent the past 18 years racking up violations of federal, state and town laws for illegal dumping, building and excavating at a place he calls Copake Valley Farm.
Mr. Cascino, who is currently residing in the Columbia County Jail, was cited by a state Department of Environmental Conservation officer July 15, 2015 after he allegedly trucked in loads of leaves from downstate, then dumped and spread them on his property.
The charge is a misdemeanor with a penalty ranging between $3,750 and $37,500.
The trial was set to start with jury selection Wednesday, September 14 at 9 a.m. But when a reporter arrived for court, Town Justice Glenn Schermerhorn, who is presiding over the case, said the trial was postponed due to the lack of a court stenographer. Justice Schermerhorn said the court has a digital recording system but requires the services of a stenographer to provide transcripts and read-backs of testimony.
He said his court has been working to get a stenographer through the state Office of Court Administration but has not yet succeeded in enlisting someone to come to Copake.
He said the case may be postponed for two weeks but that he would know more by the end of the day. The jury, when it is finally selected, will consist of six people and one alternate.
A short time later at Town Hall, a Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle arrived transporting Mr. Cascino from jail to for a pre-trial conference. Mr. Cascino’s attorney, Bob Trotta of the Millerton law firm of Davis and Trotta, was on hand as well as Assistant District Attorney Trevor O. Flike, who is prosecuting the case for the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.
Also on the same July 2015 date, the DEC issued two tickets to Nick Maiorano, a truck driver working for Mr. Cascino, for the unlawful operation of a tractor trailer while license suspended (a violation with a fine of up to $900) and the illegal disposal of solid waste at an unauthorized location (a misdemeanor with a fine between $200 and $500). All the alleged offenses occurred on April 6, 2015. Mr. Maiorano’s tickets are still pending.
In a separate State Supreme Court matter, Mr. Cascino was sent to jail for a second time August 25 by Acting State Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols after he failed to provide required proof that he had complied with court orders to remove 9,650 cubic yards of illegally dumped solid waste from his property.
The order to remove the material was part of a February decision by Judge Nichols which found Mr. Cascino guilty of criminal and civil contempt in connection with two outstanding orders to show cause dating back to 2013. The actions were brought by the Town of Copake based on Mr. Cascino’s failure to comply with numerous orders previously issued by the court for illegal dumping and building in Copake.
The judge did not set a time limit on Mr. Cascino’s current incarceration.
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