Five Mistaken Days in Jail

    A Center Moriches woman was cleared of all charges against her in East Hampton Town Justice Court last Thursday. Leila Saguto had lost control of her car on Montauk Highway near Georgica Road in East Hampton Village in the early evening of Aug. 26. A witness told village police that Ms. Saguto had been in convulsions.

    When police arrived at the accident, they reported a smell of alcohol coming from Ms. Saguto. Police said she told them she had had a couple of vodka-and-orange-juice drinks at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.

    Unable to perform roadside sobriety tests because she was in convulsions, Ms. Saguto was arrested and taken to Southampton Hospital, where she was treated and released back to the police. While at the hospital, she consented to have her blood drawn, the only test of sobriety that was given.

    The drunken driving charge was at the felony level because of a prior conviction. Bail was set the next morning at $5,000.

    Unable to make bail, she was taken to Suffolk County jail in Riverside, where she spent the next five days. She was then taken back to court, as required by law. She was wearing a jailhouse-issued olive green uniform and was shackled at her ankles and handcuffed. The blood test results were not in yet, so she could not be indicted, and she was returned to the county jail, given her own clothes, and released.

    However, at the same time that County Sheriff’s Department officers were taking her to court in East Hampton, her father, who had raised the $5,000, and who didn’t realize that his daughter was about to be released, went to Riverside and posted the bail.

    Last Thursday, in an otherwise empty courtroom, Dan Cronin, an assistant district attorney, announced that all charges against her were being dropped. Although he did not specify what the reading was, her blood test had come back indicating that she was not intoxicated at the time of the test.

    “They didn’t give me a breath test,” Ms. Saguto said as she left the courthouse. “I spent five days in jail because they said I smelled like alcohol.”