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Driver released pending appeal of 6th DWI Appellate judge frees Amherst man but orders twice weekly alcohol testing

An Amherst man jailed earlier this week after his sixth drunken-driving conviction was released from custody Thursday pending his appeal.

David J. Morrison, 59, who owns H&M Plumbing of Kenmore, was released hours after State Appellate Justice Samuel L. Green of Buffalo granted the request from his attorneys, Kevin W. Spitler and Charles J. Marchese.

Erie County Judge Timothy J. Drury Wednesday had ordered Morrison to begin the prison term on his sixth conviction and for violating the probation he received from another judge in an earlier driving while intoxicated case.

Green ordered Morrison to submit to testing for alcohol consumption twice a week until his appeal is heard by a Rochester appellate court sometime next year. He backed off from ordering Morrison to spend weekends in jail after prosecutors protested.

Prosecutor Gary Hackbush told the judge that weekends in jail would mean Morrison would be credited by state prison officials with a full week of custody for each of his limited weekend stays.

Neither Morrison nor his attorneys could be reached to comment.

Drury, who had ordered Morrison to spend weekends in jail and wear an electronic bracelet pending sentencing, imposed the prison term after noting that lenience from other judges had done nothing to correct his drinking problem.

Morrison had been on house arrest after Drury forced him to spend two weeks in jail immediately following his Aug. 28 jury conviction for his Aug. 16, 2005, drunken-driving arrest. That arrest followed a high speed police chase from Lockport to Morrison's Amherst home.

Since mid-September, under Drury's orders, Morrison returned to the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden every Friday at 7 p.m. and remained behind bars until 7 p.m. Sunday. He also had to remain at his Eagle Terrace home in Amherst from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Mondays through Fridays.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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