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Appeals Court upholds conviction of corrupt former Brooklyn pol William Boyland

July 10, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Former Brooklyn Assemblymember William Boyland Jr., seen here in 2011, will continue to serve his 14-year sentence in federal prison after the Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. AP Photo
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A former Brooklyn politician who is serving a 14-year sentence for corruption won’t be getting out of jail early after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found no basis for reversal on the decision that got him locked up.

William Boyland Jr., a former Democratic assemblymember who represented Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Bushwick, was convicted in March 2014 on 21 counts of public corruption-related offenses.

He was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment followed by a three-year term of supervised release and was ordered to pay $155,610.14 in restitution after a jury trial in front of Judge Sandra L. Townes in the Eastern District of New York.

Boyland had to immediately vacate his seat in the Assembly upon his conviction. In addition to the restitution, he also was ordered to forfeit $169,410.14.

Boyland appealed his conviction on the grounds that some of the jury instructions were erroneous in light of the trial McDonnell v. United States, which narrowed the interpretation of what constituted an “official act.” He also argued that certain evidence was improperly admitted at trial.

In its ruling, the Court of Appeals decided instructions on 11 of the 21 counts were indeed erroneous, however, those errors did not meet the “plain error” standard and thus did not meet the requirements for reversal.

“Although the jury was not instructed as to its need to find that the matters were concrete, that they required focused governmental decisions, and that Boyland took action on these matters, we see no reasonable possibility, in light of the record as a whole, that that flaw affected the outcome of the case,” the court wrote in its decision.

The court dismissed Boyland’s allegations of improperly admitted evidence and stated, the “arguments lack merit and do not warrant extended discussion.”

Boyland was originally charged with corruption and accused of taking bribes in 2011 and was eventually acquitted of those charges later that year. However, he was again arrested that same month he was acquitted on separate federal bribery charges. His Chief of Staff Ry-Ann Hermon eventually testified against him at trial, which helped lead to his arrest.

Boyland was eventually nabbed for helping to obtain licenses and permits for a carnival in Brownsville in exchange for bribes, a real estate scheme, a voucher scheme where he was reimbursed $71,000 for travel vouchers and per diems for official trips that he did not take, and for diverting more than $56,000 away from nonprofits for his personal use.

Boyland comes from a family of politicians from Brooklyn. His father, William Boyland Sr., served as an assemblymember for more 20 years and only took the position after his brother, Thomas S. Boyland, died of a heart attack.


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