To the People of Chenango County,
I am writing this letter in response to the editorial that the managing editor published in The Evening Sun yesterday. I am more than a little shocked on her take of what happened with Nathaniel Jenkins' case. I was even more shocked that before she put that article in the paper, she never spoke to me or anyone from my office after Mr. Jenkins was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced for what happened on that day. On November 27 2015, Mr. Jenkins came up to this community from the Binghamton area with another associate, and relative, for the purpose of selling narcotic drugs. They all gathered at 88 East Main Street in the City of Norwich. The Norwich City Police Department received a complaint of trespass at that location and responded thereto. The managing editor happened to be on a ride-along at that time. When they went to the location, one of the individuals ran out and in the process threw the drugs that he and Mr. Jenkins were selling on the ground. The other individuals were subsequently arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, but once it was established that they were just users, their charges were reduced accordingly, based, not on favor, but on the facts from the investigation. During the course of the investigation, it became clear that the defendant came to our area with another to deal narcotic drugs to our residents. For those reasons and the evidence that we had, he was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree with Intent to Sell. Further, he was charged with acting in concert with the other gentleman he was with in the garage located at 88 East Main Street. Acting in concert means that they both possessed the same guilty mental state, so even though Mr. Jenkins did not have the drugs on his person, he is still guilty for possess- ing with his co-defendant. Just for example, if I am a drug dealer and I have drugs that I keep at a stash house or someone else's location, just because they are not on my physical body does not negate that they are under my dominion and control. The defendant was accused of possessing those drugs with another individual with the intent to sell them to members of our community. The defendant pled guilty on August 1,2016 to those charges and therefore admit- ted the fact that he possessed those drugs with the intent to sell. The defendant was given an appropriate state prison sentence for someone who had a record of being involved in the illegal drug business including felony drug convictions. The facts of this case, the defendant's criminal background and the defendant's attitude as to what happened in this case are all factors that are taken into account in making a determination as to what the appropriate sentence was. The defense counsel, the Court and my office came to the conclusion that due to this defendant's particular conduct along with the evidence we had against him in this particular case, that the appropriate sentence was 2 years in state prison, with 1 and a half years post-release supervision. At no time prior to the defendant's plea or prior to the defendant being sentenced, did the managing editor contact me to ask why Mr. Jenkins' case was handled the way it was. In fact, the managing editor was present in Court at one of the defendants initial appearances when the Court was told the defendant came to our county to sell drugs which she failed to disclose in yesterday's editorial. At no time did she ask what the definition is of acting in con- cert. At no time did she ask how someone can be charged with possession if in fact the drugs are not actually on their person. I speak with reporters from the paper regularly to explain what happened in Court. For some reason, she did not call me about this matter at my office.
So, to reiterate, Mr. Jenkins received an appropriate sentence for being involved in the sale of narcotic drugs in our community. Mr. Jenkins was arrested, prosecuted and convicted based solely on the evidence against him. The sentence that was given was based on his current conviction and his extensive criminal history. It is a slap in the face to
everyone involved in the criminal justice system to infer that anything besides the facts dictated what happened in this particular case. No reporter should advocate for their friend or acquaintance. To do so without get- ting both sides to any story, is reprehensible.
The criminal justice system in Chenango County is beyond fair to each and every individual that comes before it. If someone feels they have any information that someone is being treat- ed unfairly, please contact my office.
Justice prevails when the whole truth is presented and considered when decisions are made. Leaving out pertinent facts to persuade people to your viewpoint is irresponsible and gives people an unjustified fear of their local criminal justice system. Thank you for your time. Please feel free to con- tact my office if you have any further questions.
Sincerely, Joseph A. McBride Chenango County District Attorney