William Hodges, 32, of 128-14 Mars Place, bit Officer Benedict Vitale on his right thigh during a July 26, 2003, altercation with police outside Jamaica Hospital Medical Center along the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica, Brown said.Hodges had an unrelated trial against him for allegedly shooting a police officer thrown out by controversial Queens Supreme Court Justice Laura Blackburne in 2002. On Friday, Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman sentenced Hodges to one year in jail after he was convicted of assault, resisting arrest and harassment in June."The defendant was convicted by a jury of intentionally causing physical injury to a uniformed New York City police officer who was lawfully performing his duty after shouting threats and then resisting arrest," Brown said in a statement. "The jail term imposed punishes the defendant for his violent and dangerous conduct."Hodges apparently became agitated inside the hospital after deciding that his family was not receiving prompt medical attention for a car accident. During the June trial he was acquitted of a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge.He could have faced a seven-year sentence if he had been convicted on all counts.The July 2003 incident, in which Hodges kicked and shoved several officers, was not his first brush with the law.In 1999 he was accused of shooting Officer David Gonzalez in the leg after the police responded to a domestic dispute call.At the time, Hodges was charged with attempted murder and a host of other criminal counts but was freed when Blackburne ruled in December 2002 he had been denied his right to a speedy trial.Hodges recently praised the judge's decision, according to the Daily News and the New York Post.Blackburne is facing an investigation of her judicial conduct after allowing convicted drug dealer Derek Sterling in June to slip out of her courtroom through a side door to avoid arrest on another charge.At the time, Blackburne was a judge in Queens Treatment Court in Kew Gardens for drug cases. She has accepted reassignment to Civil Court in Jamaica until the investigation is completed, a process that could take up to one year.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2004 Community News Group
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