Wading in Deep Legal Waters

    A third time proved anything but a charm this week for an East Hampton man who has been charged with driving while intoxicated three times in less than two months.

    Raymond A. DeSalvo, who was charged in East Hampton on July 25 after allegedly driving a 2001 Cadillac onto a rock off Springs-Fireplace Road, stood before a clearly vexed East Hampton Town Justice Catherine Cahill on Tuesday morning. Around the same time as that arrest, he had been similarly charged in Southampton.

    Mr. DeSalvo might have been better served by following the justice’s instructions to remain silent. Suffolk County Legal Aid does not send an attorney to East Hampton for arraignments, even in felony cases, except on Wednesdays and Thursdays, when drunken-driving charges are handled in the court.


    Mr. DeSalvo, speaking for himself, may have bailed water into his leaking legal boat during a prolonged exchange with the bench. Justice Cahill had cautioned him about speaking in court, as anything said by a defendant during an arraignment is part of the legal record, which can be used by the prosecution going forward.

    The justice explained that in addition to the new misdemeanor D.W.I. charge, Mr. DeSalvo now faced a felony charge of unlicensed driving. Driving without a license becomes a felony when one’s license has been suspended for alcohol-related reasons and the driver is then arrested for D.W.I.

    Justice Cahill asked Mr. DeSalvo if he had hired a lawyer since his last court appearance here. He said he had retained Colin Astarita of Southampton on Aug. 28.

    “Your license is suspended two times over for D.W.I.,” the justice said.

    “I made some bad choices,” Mr. DeSalvo answered, attempting to explain his string of arrests. “I had a hardship license from Southampton.” Hardship licenses can be issued after a D.W.I. arrest to allow someone to drive to work and other essential destinations.

    “It was the second one,” Justice Cahill said, referring to Mr. DeSalvo’s arraignment in July. “I revoked your privileges. It was gone. And I have your signature on a document” to that effect.

    “You were picked up, when?” she asked.

    “About 5, 6, in the afternoon,” he answered. “I got in my car to get something to eat, and I got pulled over.”

    East Hampton Town police stopped him, according to the arrest report, for driving erratically while pulling out of the Oakview Highway trailer park at 6:15 p. m.

    The justice asked Tom Strong, the police officer guarding the defendant, if the district’s attorney’s office had requested a bail amount. Officer Strong raised five fingers, saying quietly, “Five grand.”

    “The bail is going to be $10,000, cash,” Justice Cahill said. “You will be taken to Riverhead unless you can post it . . . you will be brought back on Friday. That is your 180-80 day. Mr. Astarita will explain what that means.”

    One-eighty-eighty is the New York Penal Code section mandating that anyone charged with a felony and unable to post bail must either be indicted or released within 120 hours of being jailed.

    “I had a piece of paper,” Mr. DeSalvo said of the provisional license he was issued in Southampton Justice Court.

    “As I told you, after I arraigned you, that privilege was revoked,” Justice Cahill responded.

    “I don’t understand.”

    “Oh, come on.”

    “If I could ask you one question,” said Mr. DeSalvo. “Will I go back to jail on Friday?”

    “It depends on whether or not the D.A.’s office indicts you,” Justice Cahill answered. “I’ll see you on Friday.”
    Officer Strong led Mr. DeSalvo, shaking his head, away.

    Another local man in potentially deep legal waters after a drunken-driving arrest was Galo B. Guanga-Tacuri, 31, of Montauk, whose family was in the courtroom as he was arraigned on Labor Day morning. He had been arrested the night before in Amagansett after a traffic stop, and had refused to take a breath test at town police headquarters.

    Police found that he had a number of license suspensions, one of which followed an alcohol-related conviction. Like Mr. DeSalvo, he faced a felony charge of unlicensed driving, in addition to the misdemeanor D.W.I. charge.

    There were several men and women and a couple of children seated in the courtroom, all relatives of the defendant. When she asked whether the D.A.’s office had recommended bail, Justice Cahill was told that the police had been unable thus far to reach the office.

    Making matters more difficult was the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement had put a detainment order on Mr. Guanga-Tacuri.

    The justice set bail at $5,000. Mr. Guanga-Tacuri’s brother, who said his name was George, asked if it could be lowered. “They have $2,500,” the brother said of the group gathered in the courtroom.

    The brother, who said he himself had been in the United States since 1997 and has resident status, added that he believed his brother was protected under current immigration regulations.

    “This order came through saying he is to be held for deportation,” Justice Cahill replied. She could not set lower bail, she said, explaining that “this is a felony. There is a high flight risk.”

    Mr. Guanga-Tacuri sat on the prisoners’ bench while his family began making phone calls in the hallway, trying to raise another $2,500. Even had they succeeded, there was the immigration detainer to be dealt with, but they did not. Mr. Guanga-Tacuri was taken later that afternoon to the county jail.

    A Center Moriches woman lost control of her car on the evening of Aug. 26 on Montauk Highway near Georgica Road and ended up under arrest on a felony charge of D.W.I. A witness in the car behind told East Hampton Village police that the eastbound 2007 Dodge driven by Leila A. Saguto left the road and struck a fence, then veered back across the highway and struck a deer-crossing sign off the westbound shoulder.

    The witness, who went to check on the driver, told police she appeared to have gone into convulsions. Ms. Saguto was conscious but incoherent, according to the first officer to arrive, who noted that she smelled strongly of alcohol. She told the officer that “she had had two or three orange juice-and-vodka drinks at the Talkhouse.”

    She was taken to Southampton Hospital after being charged, where she agreed to have blood drawn to determine the alcohol level in her system. She had suffered facial contusions, the report says.

    Ms. Saguto was found to have a prior conviction for D.W.I. within the past 10 years, making the charge against her a felony.

    A man riding a bicycle on Springs-Fireplace Road in Springs was arrested Aug. 28 on an outstanding warrant stemming from a drunken-driving arrest dating back to 2010. The officer who had made the three-year-old arrest recognized Antonio Garcia Medina of Springs, 52, as he passed him in a patrol car.

    Justice Cahill had been on the bench for Mr. Garcia Medina’s case and had issued two warrants for his arrest after he failed to appear for his day in court.

    According to the justice, prosecutors had offered him a plea bargain. “You didn’t come back because you didn’t like the deal,” the justice said, setting bail at $2,000.

    Also charged with drunken driving in East Hampton Town last week were three Montauk men, Jeriel J. Rivera-Carrero, 29; Kevin Faulkner, 42, and Pedro P. Goyes, as well as three drivers from away: April M. Wehle, 25, of Wellington, Fla.; James F. McDonagh, 30, of Thiells, N.Y., and Yisell Reinhardt, 29, of the Bronx. Victor J. Segovia, 38, of Wellington, Fla. was charged last Thursday morning in Sag Harbor.