Mr. Ingrassia received a reversal of a decision from an Orange County Court Judge which denied without a hearing, a motion to vacate a conviction based upon an actual innocence claim as well as an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
The decision held that Mr. Ingrassia’s client had made a sufficient showing in the original motion papers to raise a factual issue on both issues which warranted a hearing.
The decision is the first appellate decision in New York recognizing an individual’s right to bring a free standing actual innocence claim to vacate a conviction after having pleaded guilty.
Mr. Ingrassia persuaded the appellate court that his client’s original attorney’s conduct in failing to obtain a pathology report from skin biopsies taken of the victim warranted a hearing on the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The missing pathology report confirmed a diagnosis of a potentially fatal skin condition which resembles thermal scald burns. The injuries surfaced after Mr. Ingrassia’s client, who was an LPN, bathed a special needs child and was thereafter accused with having recklessly scalding her with excessively hot bath water.
His client was sentenced to 4 months in jail and 5 years probation. She also lost her nurses license as a result of the felony conviction.
She will now be entitled to an evidentiary hearing to establish her actual innocence as well as whether she was denied effective assistance of counsel.