Charges against a Levittown man in the 2001 robbery of a Farmingdale off-track betting parlor have been dismissed by a Nassau County Court judge and his case will not be retried, Assistant District Attorney Michael Walsh said this week.

John P. Daly, 51, was convicted of first-degree assault and six counts of first-degree robbery in the Jan. 14, 2001, incident. In a single trial, Daly was convicted in 2003 on the OTB charges; along with a second set of charges of assault and attempting to rob an attendant at a Mobil gas station in Hempstead in February 2001. In each incident, bystanders were shot in the stomach.

The May 19 dismissal came after years of appeals by Daly's lawyer, Thomas Liotti, of Garden City, to the Appellate Division, an intermediate level of the state court system; and to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.

In the end, Liotti succeeded in getting the courts to vacate the OTB conviction on the grounds that the prosecution failed to provide the defense with exculpatory evidence, or evidence that pointed to Daly's innocence, in the form of witness statements.

Daly had been sentenced to a 35-year prison term in the two cases, but the dismissal means that his sentence is capped at 12 1/2 years and he is eligible for release next year.

"I was delighted to save John Daly 22 1/2 years in prison," Liotti said this week.

Tuesday, Walsh could not provide a full explanation of the failure to turn over the statements. Liotti said he ultimately received them from Nassau police after filing a request under the Freedom of Information law.

But the Court of Appeals ruled that the Mobil gas station case was not tainted by the prosecution's error in the OTB case. The panel dismissed Liotti's argument that because the two cases were tried jointly, the failure to turn over evidence in one case affected the other.

"We reject the defendant's argument that there was a prejudicial 'spillover effect' which warrants reversal of the convictions stemming from the Mobil gas station robbery."

The result was that the Nassau County district attorney's office had to either retry the case or agree to dismissal.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"We elected not to retry" the OTB case, Walsh said this week. "The OTB case was significantly weaker than the Mobil case and with the passage of time it doesn't get any stronger," he said.

Nassau prosecutors recommended dismissal, and Nassau County Administrative Judge William Donnino granted that request in Mineola last week.

Liotti said he may file a federal appeal of the case.