Former Tompkins prosecutor who neglected witness hired by Cortland County Attorney's Office

CORTLAND, N.Y. — A former assistant district attorney in Tompkins County—who was found to be negligent in a high-profile case involving a Tompkins County sheriff's deputy—has been hired by the Cortland County Attorney's Office, an official confirmed Wednesday.

Wendy Franklin, who recently resigned from her position at the Tompkins County District Attorney's Office, has been hired as the assistant county attorney for Cortland County, according to county attorney Karen Howe.

She will start the position next week, Howe said.

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According to a ruling issued by Ithaca City Court Judge Scott Miller, Franklin failed to inform a key witness in a criminal case about a trial date, which led to the dismissal of a misdemeanor charge.

Deputy Jeremy Vann, who is facing a 16-count indictment in Tompkins County Court for allegedly robbing and assaulting a woman, was accused on Oct. 9 of violating an order of protection issued for a witness in that case. He was subsequently charged with second-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor.

That charge was dismissed in Ithaca City Court on March 14, according to court records.

Wendy Franklin presents a piece of evidence to the jury in the trial in Tompkins County. Franklin served as the prosecutor for a case involving a Cornell student accused of rape (Ithaca Voice file photo).

Wendy Franklin presents a piece of evidence to a jury during the Peter Mesko trial in Tompkins County. Franklin served as the lead prosecutor in the case (Ithaca Voice file photo).

In his written decision, Judge Miller said Franklin was "guilty of neglect" for failing to inform the witness of the trial date and failing to provide an explanation for why the witness was not informed of the hearing.

Howe said Wednesday that her office was aware of the case at the time Franklin was hired. She declined to comment further on the issue.

Prior to working as an assistant district attorney in Tompkins County, Franklin worked as an assistant district attorney in Cortland County. She has previously worked for both the Department of Social Services and the Mental Health Department in Cortland County, Howe said.

Jolene Almendarez contributed reporting.

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