Kingston man loses bid to toss gun-sales conviction

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A state judicial panel has thrown out the appeal of an Ulster County man over his 2011 conviction for illegal gun dealing, officials said.

A four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled unanimously Thursday that Stacey Bean, 45, formerly of Orlando, Fla., and Kingston, must continue to serve his 3 1/2-year sentence for third-degree criminal weapons sale, a violent felony, Ulster County District Attorney D. Holley Carnright said Friday.

After agreeing to a plea deal, Bean, at sentencing in Ulster County Court on July 25, 2011, tried to withdraw his guilty plea, according to court papers. Judge Donald Williams denied Bean's bid and sentenced him, triggering the appeal.

Bean argued to the panel that he was denied effective counsel and that the sentence was "unduly harsh and excessive," officials said.

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The panel, citing Bean's "favorable plea agreement," rejected his first claim, court papers said. As to his sentence, the panel found "neither an abuse of discretion nor extraordinary circumstances warranting a reduction of the sentence" and upheld the conviction.

Bean's conviction stems from a Dec. 15, 2009, incident. Ulster County authorities got a tip that a man known as "Rafa" was running illegal handguns from Florida to Kingston, officials said. Undercover officers set up a meeting in Kingston and bought a loaded .25 caliber Beretta semiautomatic handgun from "Rafa," whom they would later identify as Bean, officials said.

The investigation continued but Bean fled back to Florida and was there in 2010 when an Ulster County grand jury indicted him on the weapons charge. In November of that year, Orlando police arrested Bean during a traffic stop, and he was subsequently extradited back to New York, officials said.

Bean is serving his time at the medium-security Fishkill Correctional Facility in Dutchess County, according to a state database. His sentence includes three years post-release supervision, according to court records.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Gudesblatt Lamb handled the appeal for the Ulster DA's office. Bean was represented by Danise April Stephens of Albany. Stephens said no decision has been made on pursuing the appeal in a higher court and would not comment further.

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