WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A domestic violence conviction that cost Dominic Carter an influential role as political anchor at the cable news outlet New York 1 has been reversed by an appeals court.
Carter is ecstatic and "looking forward to getting back into the world of journalism and political discussion," said his lawyer Julia Kuan.
The 46-year-old Carter was convicted in 2009 of attempted assault after his wife, Marilyn, told police he hit her. She recanted before trial, but Ramapo Town Judge Arnold Etelson called her story "preposterous." He also called Carter "a classic case of a domestic violence abuser."
Carter, who served 19 days in jail, had taken a leave from NY1 when the charges were made public. The station cut ties with him just before he was sentenced. His nightly "Inside City Hall" program was a mainstay for city politics junkies, and he had interviewed every major New York City and state politician.
He returned to TV last month as a regular guest on RNN-TV, a regional cable news outlet, Kuan said.
The Appellate Division in Brooklyn reversed the conviction this week without getting into the circumstances of the case, saying Carter should never have been tried.
It said the judge originally ordered an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which would have resulted in dismissal of charges if Carter stayed out of trouble for a year. The appeals court said the judge should have denied a later prosecution request to go to trial.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said prosecutors were exploring an appeal.
"It is important to note that the appeals court did not rule on (Carter's) culpability and did not base its decision on the merits of the charge or the sufficiency of the evidence," the district attorney said in a statement.
The trial judge had ordered Carter, of Pomona, to say away from his wife for up to two years.
"Mrs. Carter, your life is at stake," he said.
Kuan said the judge modified the order of protection after Carter got out of jail, and the couple, now married 25 years, is still together. They have a daughter in her early 20s and a teenage son.
Kuan said the case "has had a huge effect on him. ... It was a huge blow to him and family when New York 1 didn't renew and he wasn't on TV anymore."
"Now he's looking forward to making a comeback," she said.