Westchester County Aggravated DWI Charge Against Bryant Gumbel's Son

November 28, 2008 by Mark Siesel

Aggravated DWI charges have been filed against the 29 year old son of Bryant Gumbel, the host of "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel." Bradley C. Gumbel of Waccabuc was charged on November 16 with New York misdemeanor drunk driving at a traffic stop on Mead Street in Lewisboro when troopers observed him swerve his 2005 Toyota 4-Runner SUV in and out of his lane. When they approached the car, the troopers observed damage to the front passenger side of the vehicle. Gumbel was asleep in the car and the troopers allegedly detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.

Mr. Gumbel's blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.18 percent, which is the initial level of blood alcohol at which authorities can charge Aggravated DWI, a much more serious offense than Driving While Intoxicated, with potential implications including loss of a driver's license for a year and much more substantial fines than Driving While Intoxicated. The aggravated DWI statute went into effect in November of 2007. DWI can be charged if a driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or more.

Mr. Gumbel was also charged with operating a vehicle with a suspended registration, a misdemeanor, based upon a suspension of his registration due to lapsed insurance. He is scheduled to be arraigned in due in Lewisboro Town Court on December 1.

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"Sopranos" Actor On Trial In Bronx County

November 26, 2008 by Mark Siesel

Lillo Brancato Jr., an actor in the movie "A Bronx Tale" and on television in the "Sopranos", is on trial in a Bronx County murder case, charged with the December 10, 2005 fatal shooting of Daniel Enchautegui, an off-duty police officer from the 40th precinct in the Bronx. The facts are that Brancato, along with his friend, Steve Armento, had been out drinking and doing drugs at a strip club when they left the club to obtain more drugs. Brancato suggested that the two go to the home of Brancato's friend on Arnow Place in the Bronx. When the friend did not answer the door, (Apparently, Mr. Brancato did not know that his friend had died and the apartment was empty), Brancato kicked the window in, and the two men entered the apartment to look for prescription drugs.

Officer Enchautegui, sleeping next door, was awakened by the breaking glass. He confronted Armento and Brancato, and in the ensuing shootout, Armento shot Officer Enchautegui in the chest with a .357 caliber handgun, killing him. Armento was convicted of the first degree murder of Officer Enchautegui, and was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison without parole.

Under New York State law, if another felony is committed during the course of a murder, (in this case, a burglary) then anyone involved in the burglary can be charged with both crimes under the doctrine of felony murder. Therefore, Brancato is being tried for murder even though the evidence is that he did not pull the trigger.

During opening statements in the Brancato trial on November 24, his lawyer revealed his strategy for the defense: that Brancato did not know that Armento had a gun when they went to the friend's house looking for drugs. When the attorney claimed that Mr. Brancato was also a victim of Armento in addition to Officer Enchautegui, this statement apparently elicited gasps from the officer's relatives and fellow officers in the courtroom. We will report on this case upon its conclusion.

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MacKenzie Phillips Pleads Guilty To Drug Possession

November 6, 2008 by Mark Siesel

Former star actress Mackenzie Phillips of the popular '70's TV show "One Day At A Time" pled guilty to cocaine possession charges in Los Angeles this past week and will enter drug treatment. Phillips is the daughter of the legendary founder of the Mamas & The Papas, the late John Phillips, who had his own serious struggles with drug usage, contributing to his untimely death. The Los Angeles district attorney's office stated that two counts of heroin possession were dismissed, and Ms. Phillips was ordered to finish an 18 month program. Apparently, this is now Phillips 10th stint in drug rehabilitation.

The 48 year old actress was arrested on August 27th at Los Angeles International Airport after police found small amounts of drugs during a security check.

Under the New York Penal Law, had Ms. Phillips been charged in New York with criminal possession of a controlled substance, the penalties range from a Class A-1 felony charge for possession of 8 ounces or more, down to a misdemeanor for the lowest level possession charge (for instance, possession of one joint of marijuana).

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