The Meads, Donald and Elaina, will each serve six months in jail for their part in a confrontation with police June 17, 2012 at 21 Maple Ave., Le Roy.
Judge Robert C. Noonan said because of the dangers stemming from their actions he would have been inclined to send them both to prison save the outpouring of support from friends and family.
"The letters I've received (about three dozen), it's obvious to me you were not the person that day that you have been for the other 51 years of your life," Noonan told Donald. "You are the patriarch of a very tight-knit family. You've done a very good job of raising seven children, of whom five have challenges in life that many people do not have.
File photo: Arrest of Elaina Mead
June 17, 2012
"Two of the hardest jobs in America," Noonan added, "are being a parent and being a police officer and those two things came squarely face to face at your house that day."
For all of their family values, Noonan told Elaina, there is another value the Meads should teach their children and 11 grandchildren: let police officers do their jobs.
"Teach them the value that if a police officer shows up and advises somebody he is under arrest, stay out of it," Noonan said. "Let the police officers do their job.
"I'm not naive enough to believe police officers are always right," Noonan added. "I know sometimes they are wrong, but those are issues that can be rectified at another time and not by disobeying orders and bring out knives and interfering with them while they're conducting their jobs."
After six months in jail, the spouses will spend five years on probation.
Donald and Elaina Mead were arrested on Father's Day after Deputy Matthew Butler went to their residence to talk to their son Micheal.
According to statements in court today by Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell, Butler had been trying to work with Michael to resolve a Family Court matter, giving, Finnell said, Michael every chance to clear up the matter. But after Butler spoke with Michael that day and found that Michael couldn't produce the paperwork necessary to prove he hadn't violated a court order, Butler told Michael he was under arrest.
At that point, according to Finnell, Donald Mead slammed the door against Butler and slammed it against him several times, causing Butler to suffer minor injuries.
The confrontation then spilled out of the house and, according to Finnell, Elaina emerged from the house with a kitchen knife and held it to the chest of Butler.
Officer Emily Clark knocked the knife from Elaina's hand, sustaining a minor cut, according to official accounts.
Elaina Mead has maintained that she dropped the knife when she came out of the house.
Both Elaina and Donald entered their guilty pleas -- Elaina to menacing a police officer and Donald to attempted assault -- on an Alford basis, meaning they have not admitted to the factual allegations just that a jury would likely find them guilty if their cases went to trial.
To Noonan, he said, Elaina has shown a lack of remorse for her actions. In September, Elaina entered a guilty plea but after reviewing the pre-sentencing report, Noonan said he couldn't go along with the plea arrangement that would have allowed for a six-month jail term and probation. He said at the time, he didn't think the sentence was appropriate given the seriousness of the allegations and Elaina's unwillingness, he said, to accept responsibility for her actions.
"When I read the pre-sentence report (in September), it's clear that you showed absolutely no remorse," Noonan told Elaina. "You were not at all apologetic for the very dangerous situation you created. Now I've read a whole lot more about you and I'm glad I have a better picture of who you are. You obviously have strong family values and strong family support. You have done an extraordinary job of keeping a family together in difficult circumstances."
The fact, however, that by interfering with police officers trying to make an arrest, the Meads created a situation, Noonan said, that could have led to serious, if not fatal, injuries either for the officers or the Meads themselves. For that reason, Noonan said, some jail time was appropriate for both defendants.
Finnell said both Butler and Clark, as victims in the case, asked that the Meads be given some jail time.
Elaina declined to speak in court, but her attorney, Thomas Burns, said she has expressed regret for the events of June 17.
"There's no doubt in my mind, at least, that she wishes if she could have one day for a do over, that would be the day," Burns said. "She did not intend to cause injury. I do believe she acted irrationally and she should not have endangered anybody or had any contact with police when they attempted to subdue her son and attempted to take him away under arrest."
Donald said he regretted what happened June 17.
"If I could go back to that day and live it all over again, I would do things differently," Donald said. "I didn't intend for anybody to get hurt, especially an officer. I wish I could live that day over again. I keep going over and over it in my head. If I could, I wouldn't have to come here and waste anybody's time. I keep thinking what I could have done differently."