Former UAlbany student makes conviction appeal for CDTA bus incident

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ariel Agudio is one of the women at the center of the 2016 brawl on a CDTA bus who wants her conviction tossed out. The State Supreme Court met virtually on Monday to hear Agudio’s appeal.

The jury already convicted her of falsely reporting that she and two other women were victims of a racially motivated attack.

On Jan. 30, 2016 about 1 a.m., Agudio, Asha Burwell and a third student, Alexis Briggs, got on a CDTA bus in Albany heading back to the university’s campus. Agudio and Burwell, got off the bus and called police to report that they were jumped by a group of white men and women. They said the bus driver did not act. They said passengers watched the attack or recorded it on their phones.

The college expelled Agudio and Burwell and suspended the third student, Alexis Briggs.

In 2017, Albany County jury convicted Agudio and Burwell of two counts of misdemeanor charges for falsely calling 911 and another one for social media comments that caused public alarm. They were both sentenced to three years probation, 200 hours of community service and a $1000 fine.

Last year in April 2020, the State Supreme Court upheld Burwell’s conviction for the 911 call. The court however decided to toss her conviction for allegedly causing a public alarm.

Fast forward to Feb. 8, 2021, the State Supreme Court met virtually to go before the Third Department at 1 p.m. Justices John Egan, Sharon Aarons, Christine Clark, John Colangelo and Pritzker heard the case.

Agudio’s attorney Mark Mishler says she had the right to make that 911 call.

“She was the victim of a crime, she believed it was a racial crime, and she felt it was important to report that. She felt it was her duty to report that and thats what she did,” said Mishler.

Albany County Assistant District Attorney Vincent Stark told the judges that wasn’t the case. He is seeking to have the conviction on the 911 call stand. 

“When Agudio said I was assaulted and it was a racial crime again, well it wasn’t a crime at all, and thats the objective portion. She wasn’t assaulted and she wasn’t jumped at all. The standard we are holding them too is you cannot call the police and lie. You cannot just flat out right lie,” said Stark.

The defense however believes all charges against Agudio should be dropped.

“To say that these three black women injected race into a situation where they honestly believe that race was part of the situation is frankly offensive. To sum up the appeal, we ask that the conviction on count forward be reversed,” said Mishler.

The State Supreme Court did not say when it will make it’s decision or holding another court date.  

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