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Friday, December 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

State sends out notice that Jacquetta Simmons released from prison pending appeal

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons

New York's VINE service has sent out a notification that Jacquetta Simmons, inmate ID 12G0988, was released from prison today.

Simmons was released under a court order signed by Associate Justice Rose Sconiers, Appellent Division, 4th Department. Sconiers ordered the release, on $50,000 bond, pending an appeal by Simmons that the five-year prison sentenced handed down by Judge Robert C. Noonan is overly harsh.

Representatives of Simmons posted the bond for Simmons yesterday and Noonan signed the release order.

Under the terms of Sconiers' order, attorneys for Simmons have until May 31 to "perfect" the appeal -- meaning produce a brief on all the points of law relative to the items under appeal, which includes both the term of her sentence and whether Simmons received a fair trial.

A three-judge panel of the NYS Supreme Court will conduct a hearing on the points of appeal and render a decision at a later date. What happens next for Simmons will depend on the outcome of the appeal.

Simmons was convicted by a jury following a weeklong trial Aug. 24 of second-degree assault under a section of the law that covers an assault by a much younger person hitting and injuring a person 65 or older.

At the time of the Christmas Eve confrontation last year between Simmons and Grace Suozzi, a Walmart cashier, Simmons was 27 and Suozzi was 70.

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

Jury convicts Le Roy man of forcing drunk girl into unwanted sexual act

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A jury convicted a 26-year-old Le Roy man Thursday of a Class B felony that could send him to prison for five to 25 years for getting a teen girl drunk and forcing her into sexual relations.

Alexander J. Kessler, of Myrtle Street, was convicted by unanimous verdict of criminal sexual act, 1st, criminal sexual act, 3rd, sexual abuse, 1st, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful dealing with a child.

The top count carries a mandatory prison sentence of at least five years.

Sentencing is set for March 5.

Kessler was arrested by Le Roy PD in March and accused of supplying alcohol and marijuana to a girl under age 17 and then subjecting her to sexual contact without her consent and while she was unable to consent.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell, who tried the case, said the jury found the testimony of the victim both compelling and credible, which was key to winning a conviction.

The trial started Monday and the jury reached a verdict following two and a quarter hours of deliberations.

Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

Law and Order: 72-year-old man accused of using foul language following traffic stop

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime, Le Roy

Philip Clarke McMahon, 72, of Creamery Road, Bergen, is charged with disorderly conduct. McMahon was stopped at 7:59 a.m. in the area of 8097 Clinton St. Road, Bergen, for an alleged traffic violation by Deputy Jason Saile. McMahon is accused of using obscene language in a public place.

Brian Feurimond, 21, of Saint Raymond Avenue, Bronx, is charged with trespass. Feurimond was allegedly found on College Village property after previously being banned from the housing complex.

David Lavelle Andrews, 25, Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Andrews is accused of being at College Village after previously being banned from the property.

Russell Ray Miles, 44, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with a violation of probation. Miles was released from jail on an unrelated matter and taken into custody on a warrant out of Town of Le Roy Court for an alleged violation of probation. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Lemar Jerimain Leach, 27, of Central Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Leach was wanted on a bench warrant related to the listed charge. Leach was jailed on $200 bail.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Batavia's three convicted bookies still eligible to receive partial retirement benefits

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Two former city firefighters and a state employee who entered guilty pleas earlier this week on an illegal gambling charge and agreed to resign their government jobs will still receive partial state pensions when they reach retirement age.

City Manager Jason Molino confirmed today that Brian Bordinaro and Gregory Phillips, who worked for the city 18 and 17 years respectively, are still covered by the New York State Retirement System.

He said that's state law and there's nothing the city can do about it.

"In New York you get credit for time served and they can't take that away from you," Molino said.

According to the state's retirement system site, tier 4 employees who stop working for a state or local entity before reaching the 20th year of service are eligible for 1/60th of their final annual salary for each year he or she worked.

Using the calculations from the site, 43-year-old Bordinaro, based on his 2012 salary of $62,000, if he waited until age 62 to retire, could receive in the neighborhood of $18,000 a year, or $1,500 per month.

The 39-year-old Phillips, with a 2012 salary of $57,000, could receive approximately $16,000 annually or $1,300 per month.

The salary data comes from See Through New York. The state's retirement system uses a specific formula to calculate the final annual salary, and there are other factors that go into the calculation, so readers should use the figures merely as a gauge meant to provide an idea of the retirement eligibility that is possible.

The third man who participated in the gambling activity, Lance Engel, 41, worked for the state as a cook at the veterans home in Batavia. He is also part of the retirement system, and with 17 yeas of service and a 2012 salary of $45,000 could receive approximately $12,000 annually starting at age 62.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

Law and Order: Driver in Pembroke accused of DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, pembroke

Debra Jean Bastiano, 55, of South Main Street Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding (55 in 40 mph zone) and possession or consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Bastiano was stopped at 9:31 p.m. Wednesday on Route 5, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Thomas Riley Munger, 18, of Glidden Circle, of Hamlin, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Munger was arrested following a report to College Village security of individuals smoking marijuana in a vehicle on College Village grounds.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

Two Corfu residents accused of growing marijuana

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime

Marijuana, both growing and harvested, was allegedly found in the home of two Corfu men Wednesday after members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant at the residence.

Two men were charged with criminal possession of marijuana, a Class D felony.

Jailed on $10,000 bail was Matthew T. Milleville, 26, of Main Road, Corfu, and bail was set at $2,500 for Andrew J. Marlinski, 26, of Main Road, Corfu.

Both men were also charged with a misdemeanor count of unlawful growing of cannabis and Milleville was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

Investigators report that they found LSD in the residence.

Allegedly found in the residence were more than 30 growing marijuana plants along with harvested marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Jacquetta Simmons posts $50,000 bail

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman just announced that a $50,000 bail bond was posted today with the Genesee County Court on behalf of Jacquetta Simmons.

The 27-year-old Batavia resident was found guilty earlier this year of assaulting 70-year-old Wal Mart employee Grace Suozzi in the store last Christmas Eve.

On Nov. 30, New York Appellate Division Justice Rose Sconiers ordered that Simmons' sentence be stayed pending a hearing on her attorneys' appeal, which argues her sentence of five years in prison is overly harsh considering that Simmons is a first-time offender. This is what made it possible for Simmons' release this afternoon.

Judge Robert C. Noonan signed a release order and she'll be released from custody once it's received by Bedford Hills Correctional Facility where she is incarcerated.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Law and Order: Alleged drunk driver found passed out in cornfield with motor running

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Joshua William Cresswell, 20, of Janes Road, Rochester, was found passed out behind the wheel of his gray sedan around 7:30 this morning with the motor still running. He was in a cornfield, south of Little Falls Road, Pembroke. Cresswell was arrested and will appear in Pembroke Town Court on Jan. 10 on charges of driving while intoxicated and driving with a BAC of .08 or more. (Nothing about his being underage was noted in the report.)

Rozella Ann Smith, 76, of Colonial Boulevard, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. She was arrested for allegedly striking another person on the wrist and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court. The incident allegedly occurred on Nov. 29 at 10:43 p.m.

Gregory Stephen Hallifax, 46, of Diane Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and arraigned in Stafford Town Court. Hallifax was arrested on suspicion of criminal contempt and failure to obey an order of protection on Nov. 29 at 11:32 p.m. at a location on East Main Street Road, Stafford. He was released and will appear in Stafford Town Court next month.

(Note: Temporary difficulties in receiving FAX transmissions delayed the publication of information on Smith and Hallifax.)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

Suspect in break-ins in Le Roy Village now charged with multiple felonies

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

Tyler F. Longhini, 21, was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on Tuesday and charged with multiple felonies in connection with crimes reported on Lake, Bacon and Pleasant streets in the Village of Le Roy.

His arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation that started in mid-July. The crimes he is suspected of committing include: entering unlocked vehicles; damaging the interior of a vehicle; attempted forced entry burglary to a shed; and an actual burglary of a residential apartment while the tenant was sleeping.

The charges are: one count of burglary, 2nd, a Class C felony; one count of attempted burglary, 3rd, a Class E felony; one count of grand larceny, 4th, a Class E felony; and two counts of criminal mischief, 3rd, a Class E felony.

Longhini, who lives at 82 Gilbert St. in Le Roy, was arraigned in the Le Roy Town Court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.

CLARIFICATION 4:34 p.m.: Longhini was originally arrested on July 15 after being caught in the act of rifling through vehicles. But he was only charged with misdemeanors at that time, pending continuing investigation of the break-ins and forensic lab results. Then on Tuesday, Le Roy police were able to bring mulitple felony charges against Longhini, according to Det. John Condidorio.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

BREAKING: Firefighters accused of bookmaking plead guilty to greatly reduced charge

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

The three Batavia men arrested in February for running an illegal gambling operation, including two city firefighters, have entered guilty pleas in city court today to a Class A misdemeanor charge of promoting gambling, 2nd.

The pleas are a dramatically reduced from the Class B felony of enterprise corruption, which the case was elevated to in April.

Gregory Phillips and Brian Bordinaro, both veteran city firefighters, along with Lance Engel, a cook with the state's veterans home in Batavia, were originally arrested on a felony charge of criminal possession of gambling records in the first degree, a Class E felony. Philips was also accused of possessing a small amount of cocaine and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

The Class B felony carried a maximum penalty of 8 to 25 years in state prison.

City Court Judge Robert Balbick's sentencing options include everything from an unconditional discharge to a year in county jail, including a combination of a shorter jail term and a term of probation.

As part of the plea deal, all three men agreed to resign their government jobs.

Attorney Larry Andolina, representing Phillips, said the charge his clients pled guilty to was exactly what they should have been charged with in the first place.

"I just don’t think gambling is that serious of a crime considering all of the gambling that goes on by the state, various lottery tickets, horsing racing, casinos … times need to be changed," Andolina said.

When the case first became public, investigators said gambling records indicated the trio was running a wide-ranging bookmaking operation that covered a variety sports, had numerous clients and turned over about $1 million in wagers. The trio was alleged by investigators to have taken in $80,000 in profits.

Andolina said none of that was true.

"It's all nonsense," Andolina said. "This was little people, betting, gambling on football games. It was blown so out of proportion, which is why it ended up being a misdemeanor."

At the first court appearance that Andolina and his fellow attorneys made on behalf of their clients, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman turned over thousands of pages of "discovery" -- the evidence the government has supposedly gathered against the defendants.

Andolina said the discovery failed to substantiate the original charges.

Friedman was not in court today, was out of the office and has not responded to a request for comment.

Sheriff Gary Maha said his investigators felt they had a solid case that could substantiate the felony charges or they wouldn't have made the arrests.

"We have many cases in which we make an arrest and then the case is pled down," Maha said. "It's our job to make the arrest. It's the DA's job to decide what to do with the case."

The Class A misdemeanor of promoting gambling is the lowest level crime under Article 225, New York's gambling penal code.

Joseph LaTona, attorney for Engel, said there was nothing unusual at all about the plea bargain. He characterized it as a "garden variety" plea.

"I’ve practiced criminal defense law for almost 40 years in Western New York and for individuals without a prior criminal history, for a first-time gambling offense, this is par for the course," LaTona said. "I’ve had many dispositions identical to this throughout many counties in Western New York.  It’s not unusual. It’s typical."

Sentencing on all three defendants is set for March 5.

One decision Balbick will be asked to make in the case of Phillips is to declare what Andolina called a "release from liabilities." He said Phillips has an opportunity for another job and a release from liabilities allows a person convicted of a crime to still be licensed in New York for some types of jobs. Andolina said the job prospect for Phillips is in the private sector.

Phillips and Bordinaro had 17 and 18 years on the job and would have been eligible for a New York State pension if they had completed 20 years of employment.

Both, they said in court, have already resigned from their city jobs.

Photos: Top, Bordinaro, center, with Andolina, right and Greg Ireland, president of IAFF Local 896. Inset, Phillips.

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