Tompkins deputy rejects 2 plea deals days before trial on 16 charges


ITHACA, N.Y. — A Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputy rejected two plea deals in court, days before a trial is set to start on a 16-count indictment against him.

Jeremy Vann, who has been on paid leave since the spring of 2015, appeared in front of Judge Joseph Cassidy Wednesday.

Vann is accused of attacking a woman, preventing her from calling 911, tampering with evidence, and damaging property during a domestic dispute. He is also facing charges for a series of incidents that allegedly happened over several months.

Related: Timeline of 16 charges over 5 months against Tompkins deputy

In court, Assistant District Attorney Dan Johnson formally laid out two plea deals for the defendant, which had previously been discussed by attorneys.

The first would have required Vann to plead guilty to misdemeanor attempted tampering of physical evidence, pay restitution and have at least one order of protection served against him. It would not have required him to resign as a Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputy.

The second plea would have required him to plead guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal mischief on a reckless theory. It requires the same stipulations as the first deal, but would have required him to resign as a deputy.

The suggested sentence on both charges would have been conditional discharge, meaning Vann would not have served jail time so long as he didn't commit additional crimes within an allotted time frame.

Attorney Ray Schlather said he client was mindful of the fact that the ADA was offering "a very modest proposal" on its face. But Vann  rejected the pleas.

"He's prepared to defend himself against these charges," Schlather said.

Vann has maintained his innocence since being accused, stating that he was actually the one attacked by the woman in March.

Related: Tompkins deputy, charged with 16 crimes, says he was attacked

Both pleas are a massive reduction from what Vann is charged with.

He is charged with felonies two counts of third-degree robbery, third-degree criminal mischief, tampering with physical evidence and fourth-degree grand larceny. Misdemeanor charges against him include, third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree tampering with a witness, third-degree criminal tampering, two counts of second-degree attempted coercion, prohibited use of weapons and prohibitions on the use and possession of firearms.

Earlier this year, an additional misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal contempt, alleging that Vann violated an order of protection, was dropped against him.

Ithaca City Court Judge Scott Miller dismissed the case "in the furtherance of justice," considering that the ADA on the case at the time, Wendy Franklin, was negligent in the case for several reasons. He also dismissed the case  considering the seriousness of the crime, evidence of guilt and extent of harm caused by the offense.

Related: Tompkins judge: Prosecutor 'neglect' leads to dismissed charge against Tompkins deputy Jeremy Vann

Jury selection for the trial on the 16-count indictment against Vann is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday in the Tompkins County Courthouse.