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Sentence fragment: Coco's cuckoo release

Fired Manchester police officer Stephen Coco was supposed to serve a year behind bars for felony hit and run. He went home after 72 days, one fifth of his sentence. What an outrage.

Coco, who pleaded guilty to hitting two teenage boys with his car while driving home from a party one night, gets to work and enjoy the comforts of his home thanks to Hillsborough County Corrections Superintendent David Dionne. Superintendents are authorized under state law to modify the terms under which jail sentences are served. Dionne released Coco so he could serve out his term at home. Coco has a curfew and must report to authorities daily.

Under the law, prosecutors can object to the modified sentences, and Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway, who prosecuted this case, says he objected. On Monday Judge Gillian Abramson took his objection under advisement. She was the same judge who rejected Hathaway’s earlier attempt to accept a plea deal in which Coco agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanors rather than felonies. We expect she will take Hathaway’s objection seriously, as she should.

“I just think Mr. Coco is wiggling out of everything,” Ray Drukker, father of one of the victims, said last fall. That fear appears to have been realized.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Dionne has some explaining to do. Does he really think this is a just punishment for felony hit and run?


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