Corasanti juror ordered to wear monitoring device in latest DWI case - The Buffalo News

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Corasanti juror ordered to wear monitoring device in latest DWI case

A juror from the Dr. James G. Corasanti fatal hit-and-run DWI trial, who was stopped last month for suspected drunken driving for the second time this year, has been ordered to wear an alcohol-monitoring device, a rare step in a misdemeanor DWI case, according to his attorney.

At his arraignment Tuesday, John F. Jankowiak was ordered by Orchard Park Town Justice Lynn W. Keane to wear the ankle bracelet at all times after directing him not to drink and not to drive as he awaits a Jan. 23 trial on the misdemeanor charge.

She also allowed him to remain free on the $100 cash bail that he posted after his arrest Oct. 19 on the Route 219 entrance ramp at Milestrip Road, just hours after a Buffalo City Court judge acquitted him of misdemeanor DWI in the first case and instead convicted him of the lesser charge of driving while impaired.

At the time, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Jankowiak, 38, of South Buffalo, had apparently been celebrating the City Court verdict before an Orchard Park police officer stopped his car at 4 a.m. after noticing that it was weaving and had failed to signal.

Jankowiak refused to be tested for blood alcohol content during his Oct. 19 arrest, just as he did when he was arrested at 2:15 a.m. April 10 in Buffalo after a property-damage crash.

During his first arrest, Jankowiak cited his experience as a juror, telling Buffalo police that he was a Corasanti juror and didn’t trust police.

Jankowiak did not mention the Corasanti trial when he was pulled over in Orchard Park. But he did mention he had been on trial in Buffalo for DWI and had been convicted of a lesser charge, according to Orchard Park police.

At Jankowiak’s arraignment Tuesday in Orchard Park, Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek told the judge about his prior DWI arrest in Buffalo and his celebration after City Judge Diane W. Wray acquitted him of misdemeanor DWI and convicted him of driving while impaired, a violation, and gave him a conditional discharge and suspended his driver’s license for 90 days.

Solek said Jankowiak is due to appear today before Wray in City Court on charges that his Orchard Park arrest violated his conditional discharge.

Defense attorney Michael Bly Santa-Maria told the Orchard Park judge that Jankowiak works full time and has stopped drinking since his most recent arrest.

Outside the courtroom, Santa-Maria said that in his 15 years of legal practice, he has never had a misdemeanor DWI case in which a judge ordered the defendant to wear an alcohol monitor. He said that such an order is more common in felony DWI cases.

“But given the circumstances of this case, I understand” why the judge issued the order, he said.

Jurors acquitted Corasanti last year of felony manslaughter, leaving the scene and evidence tampering.

Corasanti was convicted of driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor.

Corasanti had faced charges that he was drunk, speeding, driving partly on the shoulder, texting and fled the scene after his car fatally struck Alexandria “Alix” Rice, 18, on July 8, 2011, on Heim Road in Amherst.

In a public statement explaining the verdict, Jankowiak cited concerns about Corasanti’s blood draw.


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