Former Suffolk County police chief of department James Burke is...

Former Suffolk County police chief of department James Burke is escorted to a vehicle by FBI personnel outside an FBI office in Melville on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Credit: Steve Pfost

A federal judge has set Nov. 2 for the sentencing of former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke on charges of a civil rights violation and obstruction of justice.

In addition, U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler in Central Islip on Wednesday approved Burke’s request to replace his current attorney, Joseph Conway of Mineola, with John Meringolo of Manhattan.

Both Meringolo and Conway declined to comment.

Burke faces between 41 to 51 months in prison when sentenced under the terms of a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to the two charges in February. The terms of the plea also call for Burke to serve three years of supervised release and pay a fine up to $250,000. The plea does not require him to cooperate with federal authorities continuing a political corruption investigation on Long Island.

If Burke had gone to trial and been convicted, he could have theoretically faced up to 20 years in prison.

Wexler could depart from the terms of the plea bargain, but judges rarely do so.

The charges grew out of a situation in which Burke admitted beating a Smithtown man, Christopher Loeb, who had broken into the chief’s departmental SUV and stolen a duffle bag.

Burke was arrested in December on the charges, more than a month after he had resigned from the department.

He has been held in a federal detention center since his arrest as a danger to the community by Wexler, who after the hearing ordered him to be continued in confinement.

Burke had been scheduled to be sentenced to August, but attorneys requested a delay because of unspecified objections to a sentencing report by federal probation officers. Probation officers frequently give the judge a confidential report with a sentencing recommendation.

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