Inmate takes stand in trial of Corrections Officer

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A local corrections officer could become an inmate as C.O. Michael Wehby stands trial for the assault and attempted assault of an inmate at Midstate Correctional Facility in Marcy in January of 2010.

Testimony got underway Tuesday morning in Oneida County Court in Utica, with roughly 20 Corrections Officers in the courtroom, showing their support for Wehby. During opening arguments, the prosecution met the obvious head-on, saying that it's always tough to prosecute anyone in law enforcement, but that everyone, regardless of what they do, should be held accountable for their actions.

Inmate/victim Jose Rivera took the witness stand and said that Corrections Officer Wehby started teasing him about a protective helmet he wore for seizures, asking him what kind of stickers he wanted for his helmet. Rivera says that when he indicated he wanted the teasing to stop, Wehby pulled Rivera from the main food line in the mess hall, pulled him into a more private vestibule, and started beating him to the point where he had a seizure.

Hameline acknowledged that Rivera was a violent man who needed to serve his time the crimes he committed, but said that Rivera did not leave all his human rights at the door when he entered prison.

Defense Attorney Michael Daley stated that Wehby is a model CO and Frankfort Police Officer without a single disciplinary action in his 24 years on the job. By contrast, Defense Attorney Daley says that Rivera, who was a violent man in and out of prison had a long list of disciplinary action against him while incarcerated. Daley says that it was Rivera who started the fight and that it was not a "beat down," but a case where a violent inmate needed to be controlled, and that the COs involved used the force necessary to do so. Court wrapped up Tuesday afternoon before Daley had a chance to question Rivera. He'll get that chance Wednesday morning.

Judge Michael Dwyer told the jury that he expected the trial to wrap up on Thursday.

Wehby is on unpaid, administrative leave from both his jobs as a Frankfort police officer and state corrections officer.

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