This story was reported by Faith Meckley and written by Jeff Stein

Ithaca, N.Y. — Before his client was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison, defense attorney Joseph Joch delivered a speech in which he asked the judge for leniency.


[fvplayer src=”″ loop=”fale” mobile=”″]

How you can build a better library:
Learn about TCPL’s new campaign

“Nobody on our side fails to understand the agony and loss,” Joch said. “Least of all does the defendant.”

That defendant, James Crosby, was 19 when he was involved in a New Year’s Eve crash that took the lives of his passenger, Derek Nichols, 20, and a passenger in the other car, Kathy Lattimore, 67.

Crosby was sentenced in Tompkins County Court on Friday after Judge John Rowley found him guilty in a non-jury trial.

Several of Nichols’ family members were in the courtroom for the sentencing.

See related: Citing anguish, families make emotional pleas in Tompkins manslaughter sentencing

In December 2014, Crosby was convicted of two counts of second-degree manslaughter, second and third-degree assault and of reckless driving. Over the course of the trial, the prosecution characterized Crosby as a reckless driver more interested in a joyride than ensuring the safety of those around him.

Joch, Crosby’s attorney, only spoke for a few minutes on Friday. He didn’t give a number of years he thought his client should serve — instead making a general plea for leniency.

“Look at things at a basic level,” Joch said to the judge, before saying Crosby showed “no malice, no evil, no desire to cause harm.”

Crosby, Joch said, had made a “simple but deadly mistake.”

“I submit to you that he’s been through hell and back — a year has gone by, he’s been called all names under the sun … he is suffering,” Joch said.

“Which of us would trade places with him?”

Follow The Ithaca Voice on Facebook | Twitter

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.