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Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

Attorney for John Robinson asks for dismissal of charge 'in the interest of justice'

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, crime

The attorney for John Robinson, the Bergen man arrested 15 months after he allegedly pointed a shotgun out a window at another person, has asked Justice Donald Kunego, Town of Bergen Court, to dismiss the case "in the interest of justice."

The motion, part of several otherwise standard defense motions filed yesterday by attorney Kevin DeCarolis, addresses all seven statutory points Kunego must consider before rendering a decision.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell filed an answering affidavit, but interestingly, did not use any sort of pointed or strong language opposing the dismissal motion.

In court yesterday, DeCarolis characterized Finnell's response as favorable to his client.

"There isn't a lot there that cuts against my client and his rights in the motion," DeCarolis told Kunego. "A lot of what he raises parrots my motion, quite frankly."

Finnell hardly disagreed, stating, "I laid out the facts as I believe them to be, but I don't know what way that cuts, but certainly it is what it is."

The facts Finnell and DeCarolis seem to agree on is that Brookport resident Michael Crooks went to Robinson's house under the belief that Robinson and Mrs. Crooks had some sort of relationship that Michael Crooks found objectionable.

Crooks banged on Robinson's front door, threatened him and called him a coward for not coming out. In the process, perhaps while trying to gain entry to the house, Crooks damaged the front door.

When he couldn't get Robinson to open the door, Crooks went to the side of the house and looked in a window. At that point, he found Robinson pointing a shotgun at him.

Crooks immediately fled the residence.

On that date, Jan. 13, 2013, Crooks never filed a complaint or even contacted law enforcement. In fact, according to DeCarolis, Crooks actively tried to evade State Police during their investigation.

Crooks was later arrested and charged with criminal mischief, 4th. A charge later dismissed on the condition Crooks not be re-arrested.

Trooper Eric Daigler, who handled the investigation, consulted with other members of his department and the District Attorney's Office on whether to charge Robinson along with Crooks, and concluded that Robinson should not be arrested.

Crooks lobbied the State Police to arrest Robinson in November 2013. When that didn't work, he contacted the Sheriff's Office, which had no prior involvement with the case, in March 2014.

Robinson was arrested by a deputy in April and charged with menacing in the second degree.

"Significantly, the New York State Police, to this day, believe that Mr. Robinson should not have been charged and are not supportive of his prosecution," DeCarolis wrote in his motion.

Finnell wrote in his motion that for basic facts -- the facts contained in the DA's own files -- he agrees. He does not agree with statements by DeCarolis that go to the state of mind or thoughts of Robinson or other parties involved.

These would include the assertion by DeCarolis that Mrs. Crooks often initiated the contact with Robinson and was a "willing participant in their communication."

DeCarolis also stated that "Due to Mr. Crook's relentless and persistent actions, aggressive demeanor and verbal threats, Mr. Robinson felt threatened in his own home."

Finnell said that Robinson's actions rose to the level of probable cause for his arrest.

In addressing one of the points Kunego is asked to consider in the motion for dismissal, Finnell wrote, "The events that led to the conflict are somewhat unique and are not likely to be repeated by this defendant. The typical societal justifications for punishment, rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence are perhaps less applicable to this fact pattern. However, the defendant here might have employed other, less inherently dangerous methods in his claimed defense of his person and property, which methods would not subject him to the possibility of criminal prosecution."

One of the key factors Kunego must consider is whether dismissal would cause the public to loose confidence in the justice system.

DeCarolis argued that public sentiment is clearly behind Robinson already, citing comments left on news media accounts of Robinson's arrest (The Batavian has provided nearly exclusive coverage of Robinson's arrest).

"People expect to be able to protect their 'castle' from attack," DeCarolis wrote. "Mr. Robinson's castle was under attack by Mr. Crooks and public opinion in form of comments on the reporting of this story in the news are overwhelmingly supportive of Mr. Robinson and his actions to thwart an uninvited and threatening presence on his property."

Finnell used an analogy of about speeding tickets in his answer and concluded, "The decision of whether or not to charge in the above scenario (or dismiss in the interests of justice in this case) requires the decision maker (the court) to look beyond what is literal and do what is right. The public's confidence in the criminal justice system will be bolstered with the just decision here, no matter what that decision ultimately is."

If the case isn't dismissed, it will likely go to trial, at which point, DeCarolis is likely to raise the defense -- also a part of his dismissal motion -- that state law allows a person to defend his person and property.

"... a person may be legally justified in his actions when he acts not only to protect himself but also to prevent a criminal trespass or even prevent damage to premises," DeCarolis wrote. "In these instances the law allows for a person to go so far as to use physical force in order to defend against these various threats."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Alleged owners of 420 Emporium face federal charges two years after raids

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bath salts, crime, synthetic drugs, The 420 Emporium

It's been nearly two years since multiple law enforcement agencies raided The 420 Emporium, the erstwhile head shop once located at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia, but today authorities announced federal indictments against two alleged owners of the business.

Charles Darwin Fitzgerald, 39, and Amber Lynn Snover, 23, both of Rochester, have been charged with conspiracy to distribute, and distribution of, Schedule I controlled-substance analogues and maintaining drug-related premises. 

They face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a possible $1 million fine.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western New York, the defendants are accused of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute alpha-PVP, pentedrone and AM2201, which are all Schedule I controlled-substance analogues. The indictment also charges the defendants with maintaining four drug-related premises in New York for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing and using alpha-PVP, pentedrone and AM2201:

  • 21 West Hills Estate, Rochester;
  • 420 Emporium Store, 14 Market St., Brockport;
  • 420 Emporium Store, 400 Ellicott St., Batavia;
  • 420 Emporium Store, 1475 E. Henrietta Road, Rochester. 

Federal authorities are also seeking forfeiture of more than $770,000 in cash seized July 25 from the Fiztgerald-Snover residence in Greece as well as the property.

The 420 Emporium in Batavia was an infamous business for the 10 or so months it was open. The operators were suspected of selling various kinds of synthetic drugs, known generically as bath salts, and synthetic marijuana. 

Usage of the drugs was suspected in several bizarre and odd incidents locally.

Previously:

The sudden prevalence of bath salts in the community led to citizen protests.

After the 420 shut down, bath salt-related incidents became much less common (though did not completely go away) in Genesee County.

At the time the 420 was open, its ownership seemed murky.

Fitzgerald is listed in Monroe County documents as the owner of 420 Emporium, Inc. Snover once claimed on Facebook to own the 420 Emporium locations in Brockport, Fulton, Henrietta and Syracuse, but not Batavia. When contacted in 2012 by The Batavian, she denied ownership and then filed a harassment complaint with Greece PD against the reporter working on the story. State and local records showed Joshua Denise owned the 420 Store, LLC, at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia.

The 39-year-old Denise was arrested, along with Michelle Condidorio, during the July 25, 2012, raid. Both entered guilty pleas to possession of a controlled-substance analogue. Denise will be sentenced Aug. 21 and Condidorio on Sept. 18.

The 420 Emporium also operated a store in Fulton. That store is not listed in the indictment, but it is outside the jurisdiction of the WNY U.S. Attorney's Office. We don't know at this time if there is a separate indictment in the Central New York jurisdiction.

The July 2012 raid in Batavia was part of a one-day, nationwide effort to crack down on alleged bath salt distributors.

See also: From China White to bath salts, designer drugs ongoing public safety challenge

All photos are file photos from previous coverage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

Law and Order: Man accused of trying to run over Corfu resident

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime, Oakfield

Justin Robert Swift, 35, of Guildhall Road, Henrietta, is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and harassment, 2nd. Swift is accused of fighting with another person, then after the initial confrontation, driving his vehicle through the lawn of the Village of Corfu resident's home and attempting to strike him with the vehicle. Swift was jailed on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

William R. Sturgeon Jr., 38, of South Main Street, Oakfield, is charged with two counts of forgery, 2nd. Sturgeon allegedly used another person's credit card on two separate occasions in April, 2013, to make purchases without the cardholder's knowledge or consent.

Monday, June 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Law and Order: Perry woman accused of impersonating sister when arrested at Dave Matthews concert

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, corfu, crime, Darien, pembroke, perry

Kaitlyn Mackenzie Hayes, 20, of Lake Street, Perry, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, and trespass. Hayes allegedly impersonated her sister to reenter Darian Lake Performing Arts Center during the Dave Matthews concert Wednesday. It was later found that she allegedly used a false identification, her sister, at the time of her arrest.

Justin M. Wotherspoon, 27, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Wotherspoon allegedly had physical contact with a person in violation of a court order. Wotherspoon was jailed without bail.

Danielle Marie Stevens, 37, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Stevens is accused of stealing the wallet of a WIC employee who was assisting her. Stevens was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Christopher Free Bragg, 28, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with petit larceny. Bragg is accused of shoplifting from Walmart. 

Richard Michael Wroblewski, 61, of Williamstowne, Cheektowaga, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding (70 in a 55 mph zone). Wroblewski was stopped at 8:10 p.m. Friday on Clinton Street Road, Stafford, by Sgt. Greg Walker.

Cody James Hinchey, 27, of Reed Road, Churchville, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Hinchey was stopped at 1:19 a.m. Saturday on Byron Holley Road by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Richard Henry Forman, 64, of Ellinwood Road, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Forman was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 3:01 a.m. Friday on Genesee Street, Pembroke. The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Friday, June 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Le Roy PD asks for public's help to find wallet thief

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

Press release:

The Le Roy Police Department is asking for assistance in determining who stole a wallet from an elderly female while in a supermarket on West Main Street in Le Roy. The victim states that she was in the market between 3 and 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 12, when an unknown person stole her wallet from inside her purse while she was not looking.

The Le Roy Police is advising all citizens to be alert for this type of criminal behavior as it is not unusual for criminals to follow individuals around a store, then distract the attention of the victim intentionally or wait until the victim is distracted for other reasons, then reach into the purse and steal the wallet.

The Le Roy Police is asking that the citizens be alert to this type of behavior and call 9-1-1 immediately if you see this type of behavior happening to yourself or others.

Friday, June 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Law and Order: arrests for alleged domestic violence, DWI, criminal contempt and forgery

post by Billie Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Darien, Oakfield

John A. Snook, 26, of Central Avenue, Batavia, was arrested June 10 and charged with criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation, second-degree harassment, and unlawful imprisonment. The arrest was made following his release from Orleans County Jail on a separate charge. The new charges stem from a domestic incident in the City of Batavia. Orleans County Sheriff's Department transported Snook to the Genesee County line and he was taken to Batavia City Court and arraigned in front of Judge Balbick. He was then put in county jail and bail was set at $2,500. The matter was investigated by Batavia Police officer Jamie Givens.

Nathen Edward Donald Brege, 22, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. On June 11 he was arrested for allegedly violating an order of protection issued by the Town of Oakfield Court by allegedly threatening the protected individual in an incident on May 31 on South Pearl Street in Oakfield. He was issued an appearance ticket. The matter was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Joseph Loftus.

Sean Robert Doran, 24, of Harper Street, Rochester, is charged with DWI, aggrevated DWI, and speeding over 55 mph on June 11 on Route 20 in the Town of Alexander. He is scheduled to be arraigned on July 1 in Alexander Town Court. The incident was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Thomas Edward Bobeck, 44, of Parwood Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with operation of a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more as a first offense, and DWI, first offense. He was arrested on said charges after being observed allegedly driving in an unsafe manner while on Alleghany Road in Darien on June 12. He is to be arraigned on July 8 in Darien Town Court. The matter was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Joseph Corona, assisted by deputy Brian Thompson.

Ivan Jerrod Walton, 21, of Yates Avenue, Sauk Village, Ill., is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd, stemming from an incident on March 25 at the Sears Hometown Store on Lewiston Road, Batavia. The subject was being held in the Livingston County Jail on an unrelated matter. He was arrested on June 9 and arraigned in front of Justice Williams from Batavia Town Court on said charge and returned to Livingston County Jail. Bail was set at $2,500. The matter was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Christopher Parker, assisted by deputy John Baiocco.

Friday, June 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Le Roy PD warns citizens about telephone scams

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

Press release:

The Le Roy Police Department is asking all citizens to be vigilant for scams over the telephone and/or computer. Recently two citizens received calls from persons pretending to be a “relative” from out of state who was in jail and needed money to get out. The caller asked the citizen to go to a nearby pharmacy to purchase a “green dot” card or other liquid transferrable funds and have the money sent to them for bail.

It is important for all to know that these callers are really unscrupulous and will steal as much money as you send to them up to and including your life savings if not stopped. Further, once you have been targeted the caller will continue to call you attempting to victimize you numerous times.

If you receive a suspicious phone call or e-mail, please contact the Le Roy Police Department or your local Police agency BEFORE SENDING ANY MONEY so we can assist you in determining if this is a scam.

Once the money has been sent, there is little to no chance of getting it back or determining/identifying the scammer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Female bus rider gets off to do #2 on lawn on Sumner Road, then off they went

post by Billie Owens in crime, Darien

A vehicle that reportedly looks like a school bus stopped at property on Sumner Road in Darien, near the junction with Route 77, and a female is said to have gotten off the bus and defecated on the lawn. She then got back aboard and the bus continued. A Sheriff's deputy is trying to find the bus. Although the caller described the vehicle as a school bus, we're skeptical since the Dave Matthews Band concert is tonight at Darien Lake.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 8:39 am

Law and Order: Maple Street resident arrested after alleged domestic incident

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime, Oakfield

Eric Marc Chiddy, 36, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, criminal obstruction of breathing, unlawful possession of marijuana and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Chiddy was arrested following an investigation into an alleged domestic incident on Maple Street. He was jailed on $2,500.

Travis C. Bauer, 25, of Water Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI and unlawful possession of marijuana. Batavia PD responded to a complaint at 11:43 p.m. Friday of a sick or intoxicated driver on West Main Street. After an investigation by officers Peter Flanagan and Chad Richards, Bauer was charged.

Timothy Blase Antinora, 23, of Swamp Road, Brockport, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Antinora was stopped for alleged traffic violations at 4:09 p.m. Monday on North Lake Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

Law and Order: Woman charged with DWI following accident on Lewiston Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime

Pauline J. Hensel, 61, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, leaving the scene of an accident and refusal to take breath test. Police officers responded at 6:39 p.m. Saturday to Lewiston Road for the report of an erratic driver involved in a property damage accident. A vehicle was located at 8351 Lewiston Road and Hensel identified herself as the driver, according to Batavia PD. She was arraigned and jailed on $3,000 bail.

Marquis D. Flowers, 22, of Carter Street, Rochester, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, 3rd. Flowers was arrested by Rochester PD and turned over to Batavia PD on an arrest warrant. Flowers was wanted for alleged unauthorized use of a motor vehicle May 8 in the City of Batavia. Flowers was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Shane Allen McMurray, 34, of Lancer Court, Depew, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. McMurray was arrested following a report at 8 a.m., Sunday, of a vehicle parked on a residential lawn on Alleghany Road, Alabama, with an apparent intoxicated driver. The complaint was investigation by Deputy Chris Parker. McMurray's BAC was allegedly three times the legal limit.

Justin David Cotter, 22, of Lehigh Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Cotter was stopped at 7:50 a.m. Sunday on Dorman Road, Batavia, by Deputy Bradley Mazur.

Cindy Bush, 52, of Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Bush was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 10:29 a.m. June 4. She was jailed on cash bail. No further details released.

Krystal C. Kingsley, 18, of Batavia, and a 17-year-old from Caledonia, are charged with petit larceny. Both are accused of stealing from a location in the Town of Batavia. They were arrested by State Police. No further details released.

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