The state's highest court will consider Michael and Ellen Marie Lococo's contention that a Cheektowaga judge was too harsh in sentencing them to a year in jail for endangering their children.
Associate Judge Carmen B. Ciparick of the Court of Appeals in Albany granted a motion by David G. Jay and Kevin J. Bauer, the Lococos' attorneys, to have the full court review the case.
Jay and Bauer said Ciparick, who in July indefinitely postponed the jail terms, has given them four months to prepare arguments. Cheektowaga Town Justice Ronald E. Kmiotek imposed the sentences May 29 after the couple pleaded guilty.
The full court will hear the case early next year. Jay and Bauer said the couple; their eldest child, Sabrina, 16; and their infant son, the youngest of their 13 children, live in a Buffalo rental home.
The couple's 11 other sons and daughters remain in foster homes, pending the completion of child-neglect proceedings before Family Court Judge Margaret Olszewski-Szczur that will determine when they can get custody of all their children again.
The Lococos spent 24 hours in jail before Erie County Judge Timothy J. Drury released them for their appeal. On July 2, Drury upheld the sentence, but Ciparick granted them an extended stay and agreed to review their case for a further appeal before they were taken back into custody.
On April 2, 1996, the Lococos were arrested for leaving their children in what Cheektowaga police described as deplorable conditions in a rental home at 50 Olcott Place. The home was heated by a kitchen oven and lacked a working toilet.