PLATTSBURGH -- A rape conviction in Essex County Court has been affirmed by a state appeals court.

Jeremiah R. Hamms, 28, was convicted in April 2006 of second-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child.

Hamms, who was 23 at the time, was charged with having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl in June 2003.

Following a jury trial, Hamms was convicted of rape and endangering the welfare of a child.

His motion to have the verdict set aside was denied, and he was sentenced to 1.5 to 4.5 years in prison. Judge Richard Meyer also denied, without a hearing, a motion to vacate the conviction and set aside the sentence.

The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court said Judge Andrew Halloran was correct in refusing to instruct the jury about the voluntariness of Hamm's statement to police.

They pointed to the investigator's testimony that Hamm was contacted by phone and was picked up in an unmarked car and taken to the police station. There, he first denied the allegations but later admitted having sex with the girl.

After being given his rights, he agreed to continue to talk with police and gave a written statement. The officer said Hamms did not ask for an attorney, did not say the statement was inaccurate nor was he coerced or promised anything in exchange for his statement.

Therefore, there was nothing to dispute that his statement was voluntary, the justices decided.

The appeals court also rejected his claim of ineffective assistance by his attorney.

The court wrote that his not agreeing with the attorney's tactics and the way he questioned witnesses was not grounds to say his representation was ineffective.

They also rejected other unspecified contentions.

According to Department of Corrections records, Hamms is serving his sentence at Gouverneur Correctional Facility. His earliest release date is April 10, 2009.

botsford@westelcom.com

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