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Carthage man claims imprisonment for Watertown stabbing is unlawful

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A Carthage man imprisoned for stabbing another man on Watertown’s Public Square in 2009 claims in federal court documents he is being unlawfully detained.

Miguel A. Jaramillo, 37, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus Nov. 7 in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, asking either his convictions on counts of first-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree perjury be reversed or an indictment containing the charges against him be dismissed.

Mr. Jaramillo was convicted of the charges in January 2011 in Jefferson County Court. He is serving a state prison sentence of up to 18 years in the Attica Correctional Facility.

A jury ruled he stabbed Lloyd P. Little, Sackets Harbor, with a knife on Oct. 18, 2009, outside Tico’s Mex Mex Grill, 65 Public Square. The jury also found him guilty of lying to a grand jury investigating the matter.

Mr. Little, a bouncer at Tico’s, had attempted to intervene after seeing an argument between Mr. Jaramillo and his girlfriend. Mr. Little testified he also observed Mr. Jaramillo threaten an unidentified customer with a knife. He grabbed Mr. Jaramillo’s wrist and, after a struggle, Mr. Jaramillo fell to the ground. When he rose, he lunged at Mr. Little and stabbed him in the abdomen, causing a 6- to 8-inch-long wound. The knife also lacerated Mr. Little’s liver. He has recovered.

Mr. Jaramillo contends in his federal action that he was denied the right to a fair trial because numerous errors were made in his case in County Court. Among the complaints is that Mr. Jaramillo repeatedly requested that a public defender assigned to him be replaced, which the court refused to do. Mr. Jaramillo ended up representing himself during the trial.

He claims that prior to the dismissal of his counsel, his attorney waived his right to a speedy trial without Mr. Jaramillo’s knowledge or consent and no record of his approving the waiver exists.

He also claims County Court allowed witnesses to make statements to a grand jury investigating the matter that contradicted written statements provided earlier to police and that police obtained an oral statement, later reduced to writing, from Mr. Little while he was “heavily sedated” at the hospital. Mr. Little testified during the trial he had refused all pain medications.

Mr. Jaramillo further contends that County Court erred by admitting “prior bad acts” allegedly committed by him during the trial and by allowing a shotgun and military vest seized at his home into evidence without demonstrating how the items were relevant to the stabbing or weighing the potential for the items to prejudice his defense.

Mr. Jaramillo had raised similar arguments in an appeal to the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which upheld his convictions in a ruling issued in July.

The court also ruled his punishment was not unduly harsh or severe.

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