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Asharoken homeowner's conviction overturned

A verdict of guilty against a former Asharoken woman accused of converting her home into separate apartments has been overturned, because of a prosecutorial misstep.

Selma Deniz, 55, then of 495 Asharoken Ave., was summoned about the alleged conversion on Aug. 20, 2010.

After several requests for dismissal were denied, Deniz, who lived in the village for about 40 years before renting out her home and moving to Amityville, was found guilty and fined $100 in May.

Northport-based attorney Laure Nolan, who is temporarily representing the village, said she motioned to have the case dismissed in Asharoken's village court last week because the former prosecutor, Kenneth Savin, failed to file amended information within the required 30 days.

She said the case, if not dropped, would have been appealed and the village would have lost and incurred a large expense.

Deniz withdrew her notice of claim against the village, but her lawyer, Ed Yule, said she can pursue a civil rights suit.

Deniz was charged after Kenneth Labrador, who was then living at Deniz's home, allegedlytold an Asharoken police officer that he was renting a room in her home.

The case went to trial in front of the late Judge Charles Brown on April 19 of this year -- about 20 months after the initial charge.

At the trial, Ray Mahdesian, police officer-in-charge, while on the stand, talked about a directive then-police Commissioner Peter Masterson gave to the department to have officers conduct surveillance of Deniz's house nightly, including writing down license plates of vehicles in her driveway.

According to court documents, on June 5, 2010, Mahdesian said that he "relayed the police commissioner's concern to the men regarding disturbances in the driveway during the midnight shift . . . and there could possibly be illegal renting taking place." Soon after, the surveillance began.

"I felt violated," Deniz said, when talking to Newsday by phone. "I am trying to figure out why?"

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