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Hoskins’ sentencing delay upsets district attorney

It’s been like leading a horse to water.

Beth Lynne Hoskins’ animal cruelty case, which started in March 2010 with the SPCA raiding her Aurora horse farm and included an on-again, off-again criminal trial that lasted more than a year, has been delayed again.

Even after her conviction on 52 counts of animal cruelty in July.

She was supposed to learn her fate today at her sentencing before Aurora Town Justice Douglas W. Marky

But that sentencing has been postponed, at the request of Hoskins’ defense attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III is upset but not surprised.

“In my opinion, there have been far too many frivolous adjournment requests by the defense in this case,” Sedita said.

Sedita last summer predicted there would likely be an eleventh-hour attempt to delay the sentencing. “One does not need a crystal ball to predict that Beth Hoskins and her defense team will seek to delay this matter, as much as possible,” he said. “She has a demonstrated history of adjournment requests by the defense attorney.”

Sedita was angry Wednesday about the delay – and even more agitated that the court said Tuesday that the adjournment requested by the defense team had been agreed to by the District Attorney’s Office.

Simply not true, said Sedita, who was out of town Tuesday and wasn’t available to comment until Wednesday.

Sedita insisted his office never agreed to the adjournment and intended Wednesday to formally communicate to the court about its opposition to the delay. He also said that the court notified his office of a letter from Eoannou requesting an adjournment but that the defense attorney “never advised us of his request for an adjournment, nor sought our consent.”

“We will not consent to the adjournment in this case,” Sedita said Wednesday. “We have not agreed to those adjournments, and we aren’t to this one.”

Hoskins was found guilty of 52 of 74 misdemeanor counts under the state’s Agriculture & Markets Law. Town Justice Douglas W. Marky found her not guilty on the other 22 charges.

Hoskins faces a range of punishment possibilities – from probation and fines, to up to two years behind bars – depending on what Marky decides to do.

Details of a presentencing report to the court are not known. The prosecution, however, said in court in August that it will seek the forfeiture of an unspecified number of her horses when Hoskins is sentenced.

Sedita would not even hint at what the prosecution will ask for when Hoskins is sentenced, saying that will be disclosed at the time of sentencing. “She was convicted of 52 crimes” is all Sedita would say.

Neither Eoannou, nor her other attorney, John P. Bartolomei, returned phone calls seeking comment about the reasons behind the adjournment.

As the case and trial have played out, Hoskins has maintained her innocence. The day the verdict was announced she said she would be planning an appeal.