County court hears high number of guilty pleas

NORWICH A number of defendants pleaded guilty to wide variety of felony level crimes in Chenango County Court Monday, including an admitted marijuana dealer asking for leniency without any plea bargain.

Michael F. Dibbell, 51, New Berlin, pleaded guilty to second degree criminal possession of marijuana, a D class felony. Just prior to his plea, Dibbell had his attorney, Public Defender Alan Gordon, request additional time to prepare for trial. The case was set to go before a jury this week. Gordon asked Chenango County Court Judge W. Howard Sullivan to grant an adjournment so Dibbell could hire private counsel and prepare for trial.

Sullivan denied the request, saying the defendant had been aware his trial was scheduled for more than a month. Immediately following the denial, Dibbell told the judge he would be willing to plead guilty to the only count against him Monday and seek judicial diversion, a program that allows leniency for those suffering from substance abuse.

Sullivan accepted the plea, but told Dibbell he would have to apply for the program without any guarantees if he was denied he could face a maximum of four years in prison.

District Attorney Joseph McBride said Dibbell had similar past felony convictions involving drugs.

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