Albright felony dropped to misdemeanor
BERNE — The district attorney’s office reduced a charge against teenager Harold Albright for strangulation from a second-degree felony to a misdemeanor.
Albright and his mother, Mary Miesowicz, both of Berne, were arrested in March when, returning from a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Albany, he punched and choked his 18-year-old girlfriend inside a car driven by Miesowicz, according to police.
Appearing in town court on Dec. 10, Albright, now 18, said he believes his attorney is dealing with jail time in Albany City Criminal Court for the teenager's violation of probation for a separate charge.
Albright was arrested in August 2011 for assault with intention to cause injury when he and another person kicked a male victim in the chest and rib cage, according to Albany City Police reports. Albright pleaded guilty. Albright — then 16 years old, 5 feet, seven inches tall, and weighing 140 pounds — was arrested again the same month for aggravated criminal contempt when he punched the same victim in the face, violating an order of protection, according to the reports.
“I can’t get a job because of the charges,” Albright said on Tuesday night when asked by Berne Town Judge Albert Raymond whether he was working.
Albright was charged in March with two misdemeanors — second-degree unlawful imprisonment and third-degree assault — in addition to the felony, now reduced to a misdemeanor, called criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.
Miesowicz was charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment and unlawfully dealing with a child, both misdemeanors.
Albright’s former attorney, Jeffrey Richards, an Albany County assistant public defender, said on Tuesday Lee Greenstein, a private attorney with offices in Delmar and Albany, is now representing Albright.
Raymond asked Richards, because Greenstein was late to court, to advise Albright and Miesowicz as their temporary orders of protection, to keep away and not communicate with the victim, were being extended for another month.
“It’s imperative that you abide by the judge’s orders and that you don’t have any contact,” including electronic communications, Richards told them. Raymond said the victim “could not instigate an incident to be used against you.”
Albright violated his order of protection and was charged with criminal contempt of court in June when he was found near the Fox Creek park in a car with the victim; she was in the driver’s seat.
Assistant District Attorney Brittany Grome spoke with Greenstein by phone as he was driving to the court Tuesday night and said she would have an offer for him by next week.
Albright asked the judge to remind him of the charges against him. Grome suggested he speak with his attorney.
“Will this show me how much jail time each charge carries?” Albright asked of the documents given to him. Raymond encouraged Albright to ask such questions of his attorney.
Albright asked whether his attorney could recommend jail time.
“I just want to get this over and done with,” Albright said.
The state’s Strangulation Prevention Act of 2010 made it a felony to cause injury or unconsciousness by choking someone, and a misdemeanor to do so without injury or unconsciousness. Before, choking without visible physical injury resulted in a harassment charge. The law added three new strangulation offenses: criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a misdemeanor, and second- and first-degree strangulation, both felonies.
The victim who accused Albright of punching and choking her had bruises on her neck and face consistent with being struck, Chief Deputy Matthew Campbell of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office told The Enterprise in March.
Albright’s family said at the time that the girl had been violent, had alcoholic drinks on her own at the parade, and was resisting Albright and Miesowicz as they were trying to take her to her home. Albright’s father told The Enterprise he had seen hickeys on both teens before the incident, referring to marks on the skin caused by kissing, sucking, or biting during love-making. The victim in the car caused a bruised eye visible in Miesowicz’s mug shot, the senior Albright said.
Albright’s grandmother, Josephine Pitcherale, Miesowicz’s mother, said that Miesowicz, Albright, and the victim had come to her apartment at St. Sophia apartments in Albany the afternoon of the parade, where she saw the victim intoxicated and violent. Albright, she said, was neither.