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Hoskins’ lawyer plans another appeal over animal-cruelty convictions

Beth Lynne Hoskins’ attorney will ask the state’s highest court to review the animal cruelty section of the state law she was convicted of violating at her Aurora horse farm.

Thomas J. Eoannou said the section of the state Agriculture and Markets Law that defines animal cruelty is vague and needs to be clarified.

Eoannou said he will ask the state Court of Appeals to hear his appeal of Hoskins’ 52 misdemeanor convictions for animal cruelty. Her initial appeal was denied earlier this week in Erie County Court.

County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka affirmed Aurora Town Justice Douglas W. Marky’s guilty verdicts, which followed a 14-month non-jury trial that ended in 2013. Marky found that Hoskins failed to provide proper care for 52 horses.

Marky also found Hoskins not guilty of 22 other counts of animal cruelty.

The charges stemmed from the SPCA’s March 2010 raid on Hoskins’ farm on Emery Road and seizure of more than 70 horses.

Marky sentenced Hoskins to three years’ probation, but after she violated the terms of probation, he sentenced her last December to three months in jail. She started serving her sentence Dec. 12 and was released in early February after getting time off for good behavior.

In affirming the convictions, Pietruszka said the defense claim that the state law’s section on animal cruelty is vague and needs clarification was not raised in the trial court.

Nevertheless, the judge said the language in that section of the 1851 law and the interpretation of that section by case law ”clearly and unambiguously set forth the nature of the conduct to which the section applies in the context of this case.”

He also rejected several others grounds in the appeal, including that the guilty verdicts were inconsistent with the not-guilty verdicts, were not supported by legally sufficient evidence and that the prosecution violated pre-trial disclosure requirements and harmed Hoskins’ rights to due process and a fair trial.

email: jstaas@buffnews.com