UTICA, NY - Kaitlyn Conley's second murder trial, in the fall of 2017, took about three weeks. The jury deliberated for two whole days, before finding Conley guilty of first-degree manslaughter. But Conley's appeal, happening Wednesday, December 2nd in Rochester, will likely be finished in about 30 minutes.
Assistant Oneida County District Attorney Steve Cox will argue against the appeal. For the defense, Attorney Christopher Pelli, who argued Conley's first trial, which ended with a hung jury, and Conley walking away, still under indictment.
Oneida County District Attorney, Scott McNamara, says Pelli will argue eight points. McNamara expects one to get most of the defense's - and the judges' - energy.
"They're arguing that the court shouldn't have charged the lesser-included offense of manslaughter in the first degree. That's probably the argument they'll spend the most time on, because if they're successful, that would mean she would get out and there would be no second trial," says McNamara.
While any appeal presents potential vulnerability to a conviction, McNamara says he isn't overly concerned
"I don't have any glaring concerns. I don't think their arguments are based on the law as it is now. Obviously the court could change the law. Right now, either side could ask for a lesser included, if there's a reasonable view of the evidence that would support that request," says McNamara.
McNamara says Pelli will argue other, standard grounds, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, and harsh and excessive sentence. The trial judge gave Conley 23 years, which she's currently serving at Bedford Hills. It's not the maximum she could have received.
McNamara expects the judges' decision will come in January, at the earliest. Pelli declined to be interviewed.