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October 31, 2013

Eighth DUI conviction lands Salem man in prison

(Continued)

“Fortunately, and I think Mr. Snow agrees, the injuries to the occupants of the VW were very minor,” said the judge. “I was frankly startled that the injuries were as minor as they were.”

But for that, said Feeley, he would have gone along with prosecutor Kelleen Forlizzi’s request for a 41/2- to five-year term.

Five years is the maximum penalty any repeat drunken driver can face, whether it’s a fifth offense or a 15th, under Massachusetts law.

Forlizzi showed jurors court documents from Massachusetts and New Hampshire detailing six of Snow’s prior convictions, starting in 1983 with typewritten docket pages from an old court record book and continuing through 1998 with a conviction in Dover, N.H.

She then pointed to other records, including Snow’s criminal history, driving history and his own applications for reinstatement of his license (which was, despite his record, valid on the day of the crash), to show that the convictions all belonged to the same person, Snow.

She told the judge after the trial that records from a 1980 conviction that appears on his record were no longer available.

Defense lawyer William Martin, who pointed to a long gap between Snow’s last drunken-driving arrest, in 2005 (a charge he beat later in court), asked for a shorter, 21/2 to four-year term.

Martin had urged jurors to look skeptically at the records for details that aren’t consistent, such as Snow’s various addresses around the North Shore through the years, telling them, “You are the gatekeepers.”

Before jury selection yesterday, Snow asked the judge to postpone the proceeding, which had already been delayed from a September date, so that he could challenge the validity of his 1998 guilty plea in the New Hampshire case, on the grounds that he didn’t have a lawyer.

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