Sentence Reduced For City Man Who Assaulted Corrections Officer

A Jamestown man convicted of assaulting a corrections officer inside the Chautauqua County Jail will likely be spending a little less time in state prison.

In a unanimous ruling released Friday, the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department reduced the sentence of Oliver Bookman by two years. The 53-year-old Jamestown man was sentenced in June 2022 to seven years in prison to be followed by three years of parole supervision.

Bookman was convicted of second-degree assault for the June 28, 2021, incident that occurred inside the jail where he was incarcerated on another charge. According to a memo from the state appeals court, Bookman struggled with officers as they attempted to remove him from his cell, “thereby causing an officer to sustain a physical injury.”

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office has not publicly stated what led to the interaction between the Jamestown resident and jail staff or how seriously injured the corrections officer was during the struggle.

Bookman received the maximum sentence by Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley.

Online court records indicate Bookman is serving his sentence at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Dutchess County.

His appeal sought relief on three points: that the court erred in imposing only an adverse inference charge as a remedy; that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence; and that Foley’s sentence was too lengthy.

The appeals court rejected Bookman’s first two points, but agreed on the third that the seven-year sentence was “unduly harsh and severe.”

In its ruling, the court noted its “broad … power to modify a sentence that is unduly harsh or severe under the circumstances, even though the sentence may be within the permissible statutory range.”

The court ruled that it may exercise its power “if the interest of justice warrants, without deference to the sentencing court.”

Andrew Hall represented the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office during the appeal.

Bookman was represented by a Rochester-based law firm.

Following his sentencing in 2022, Jason Schmidt, Chautauqua County district attorney, noted that corrections officers are “charged with the duty of ensuring the safety and security of inmates and staff at the jail. It truly is a thankless job.”

He added, “We may not think about it, because it happens outside the public view, but every day they put their personal safety on the line.”


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