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JAMESTOWN MAN TO START JAIL TERM IN BOATING ACCIDENT

A Jamestown man who pleaded guilty a year ago to several charges stemming from a Chautauqua Lake boating accident has been asked to surrender to start serving a jail term.

Joseph M. Liuzzo, 32, entered a guilty plea to attempted intimidation of a witness, fourth-degree criminal mischief, operating a boat while intoxicated and reckless operation of a boat.

He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years' probation by Chautauqua County Judge Lee Towne Adams.

But he had served only seven hours when he was freed on $2,500 bail pending appeal.

District Attorney John T. Ward said Monday the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court unanimously had rejected his appeal.

The court ruling said, "The record fully supports the conclusion the defendant's plea was knowing and voluntary, and the defendant understood the nature of the charges against him."

The court found the sentence was neither harsh nor excessive and that remaining issues were "lacking in merit," Ward said.

Liuzzo had argued grand jury proceedings were impaired, that Judge Adams should have allowed the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea and the court did not conduct a sufficient plea colloquy.

Chautauqua County deputies said Liuzzo's boat struck a small craft operated by Bennett Weintraub, 19, on July 23, 1988.

Weintraub's craft, which was not moving at the time, took on water and sank.

Liuzzo's boat returned, pulled seven occupants of the Weintraub boat from the water and took them to the Chautauqua Institution dock.

Witnesses at the time told police Liuzzo had threatened to "throw them back" if they reported the accident.

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