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Monday, April 21, 2014
Elmont civic leader’s husband pleads guilty
Plea is latest development in March scuffle case

Joseph Smith, husband of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development’s Chairwoman Sandra Smith, pleaded guilty last month to charges related to a March scuffle at the Elmont Library with fellow resident Carl Achille.

Joseph Smith, 60, and Achille, 30, were involved in a physical altercation on March 11 following a meeting of the ECSD. The purpose of that meeting, which was to discuss development of the area around Belmont Park, in Elmont, was a major point of contention between the two men. Achille said wanted to discuss housing for young professionals, but Smith did not wish to engage in the discussion. After the meeting ended, violence erupted.

Achille, an Elmont barbershop owner, said that Joseph Smith had lunged at him, choked him, pushed him onto a table and used anti-gay and racial epithets against him. Sandra Smith, speaking on her husband’s behalf at the time, claimed in March that Achille, unhappy with Sandra Smith’s unwillingness to discuss housing, began to direct his anger toward Claudine Hall, president of the Jamaica Square Improvement Civic League. She said that Hall and Achille began to argue, and two library employees asked them both to leave. When they did not, Achille and Joseph Smith moved closer to one another and began to argue. Sandra Smith, who works for State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), told the Herald following the incident that the altercation seemed like a setup.

Following his guilty plea, Joseph Smith was sentenced to a fine $130 and surcharges of $120. Achille was also granted an order of protection against Joseph Smith.

Sandra Smith declined to comment. Dennis O’Brien, Joseph Smith’s attorney, did not return a call to the Herald.

Achille said that he may pursue further legal action against Joseph Smith, but is glad he has pleaded guilty.

“I am glad that justice has been served,” Achille told the Herald, “and any others with ill intentions should know that our community will never tolerate these acts of bullying, violence, and intimidation. Though I am pleased with their admission of guilt, I am strongly considering a civil action to ensure that any future incidents such as this one, never happen again”.

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