Early release on merit for Neff 

Sara Neff

Sara Neff

GUILDERLAND — Sara Neff — daughter of former Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue — has received a merit early release from prison.

She was sentenced about a year ago to 1⅓ to 4 years after pleading guilty to driving while ability impaired by drugs; she also had a concurrent sentence of one year in Albany County’s jail for violating probation. Both felony charges stemmed from a September 2018 incident.

At the time of that arrest, Neff was on probation after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated with her young son in the car, an automatic felony under Leandra’s Law, in an incident from March 2017.  

Neff, who also goes by the name Sara O’Connor Kenney, had been an attorney but was disbarred after her first guilty plea to a felony charge. Attorneys are automatically disbarred if convicted of a felony. Neff had worked at the state comptroller’s office in a non-legal position until just before she pleaded guilty a year ago in the second incident. 

Rachel Connors, a spokeswoman with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said this week that she could not discuss specific cases, but she sent The Enterprise information from the agency’s website about merit time. 

Inmates serving sentences for certain non-violent crimes may receive merit time, provided they have achieved programmatic objectives, have not committed any serious disciplinary infractions, and have not filed any frivolous lawsuits, according to the website. 

One of the programmatic objectives they can achieve to be eligible is receiving an alcohol and substance-abuse treatment certificate. 

According to the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) electronic offender lookup, Neff was paroled on Nov. 12. 2019. 

Neff could not be reached for comment. 

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