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Judge says ex-sergeant Coco must stay in jail while appealing ruling

MANCHESTER — Fired Manchester police Sgt. Stephen Coco can appeal his most recent ruling when it comes to his year-long jail sentence — he just has to stay behind bars while doing so, his trial judge said last week.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson said she would not issue a stay — basically an order to hold off on a ruling — while Coco appeals to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, Coco pleaded guilty to hitting two Bedford teenagers with his undercover police vehicle and taking off. With the plea bargain, he avoided a prison term and was sentenced to a year in jail. He served 72 days behind bars before he was released to home confinement.

On July 10, Abramson nixed the home confinement and ordered Coco returned to the Valley Street Jail.

Within days, Coco’s lawyer, Mark Howard, asked Abramson to stay that order while he appeals to the Supreme Court. Without the stay, Howard said, Coco would serve most if not all of the sentence before the Supreme Court hears his case.

“The strength of this argument is also its fatal flaw,” Abramson wrote. “Granting the defendant’s request will not merely stay the July 10, 2014, order, but effectively voids it, as defendant would continue to accrue time served while released from confinement.”

At issue is a new law that governs the procedures and notifications to follow when a jail inmate leaves for home confinement or work release.

Howard has said he plans to seek an expedited appeal, but no such appeal had been filed with the Supreme Court as of Monday.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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