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county court

Judge sets trial for inmate accused of having drugs in prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2017 at 11:29 am

ALBION – A state inmate at the Orleans Correctional Facility will go to trial beginning Oct. 16 for promoting prison contraband in the first degree.

Jaquan Hill, 22, is from Suffolk County. He is serving a six-year sentence for first-degree burglary.

He allegedly had drugs in his possession in the prison. He has rejected any plea offers.

Sara Sheldon, the acting Orleans County Court judge, set Oct. 16 for the trial, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

“I’m excited,” Judge Sheldon said Monday, when announcing the trial date.

In other cases on Monday:

• The judge arraigned Frank Ranallo for violation of probation. Ranallo, 47, of Medina hasn’t been attending substance abuse and mental health counseling appointments. He also was using drugs, a violation of his probation, Assistant District Attorney Susan Howard said.

Ranallo on Jan. 23 was sentenced to six months in jail for attempted burglary in the second degree after he admitted to entering a house on Salt Words Road without permission and took two guns.

Judge Sheldon set bail at $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond.

• An Albion man is being considered for a judicial diversion program, which would result in a reduction in a felony charge if he can complete the program.

Jacob T. Marks, 28, of Densmore Street faces charges of third-degree grand larceny and petit larceny. He allegedly took a credit card and jewelry from the victim in the crime and spent $38,000 in unauthorized purchases from September 2016 to April 2017.

Assistant DA Susan Howard said she opposed the diversion for Marks because he has been on it before and reoffended.

Judge Sheldon set an Oct. 2 hearing for Marks to be considered for the program.

• The judge sentenced a Middleport woman to three years of probation for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Sherri L. Bartenstein, 36, allegedly sold Clonazepam, which is used to treat anxiety or panic disorders. She is in a substance abuse program.

“Good luck, Sherri,” the judge said.

“Thank you. I won’t be back,” Bartenstein said.

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Holley resident pleads guilty to 1st degree sex abuse, could face 5 years in prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2017 at 1:15 pm

ALBION – A Holley resident pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court on Monday to first-degree sexual abuse.

David L. Durbano, 32, of Ridge Road admitted to sexual contact with a girl under age 11 in April.

The charge normally carries a maximum sentence of 2 to 7 years in state prison. As part of a plea deal, Durbano will face up to 5 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 27.

He could also face 3 to 10 years of post-release supervision and will be a registered sex offender.

Durbano pleaded guilty to the highest charge in the indictment.

In other cases:

• Kenya L. Yawn, 22, of Rochester pleaded guilty to petit larceny for stealing about $2,000 from the Albion Walmart Supercenter on March 2. Yawn allegedly took a television, modem, Fitbits, hard drives and other items from the store.

District Attorney Joe Cardone asked Yawn who was in the vehicle with her to help with the crime.

“That’s for me to know and for you to find out,” she replied.

The terms of her plea did not include cooperating with the investigation, but Judge Sara Sheldon said she would take any assistance into account when sentencing Yawn.

Yawn faces a maximum of a year in jail when she is sentenced on Jan. 8.

• A 17-year-old girl from Rochester pleaded guilty to promoting prison contraband in the second degree. The girl, who could be given youthful offender status, allegedly tried to pass heroin and Alprazolam (also known as Xanax) to two inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility, a women’s prison, on March 26.

She could face up to a year in jail when she is sentenced on Dec. 18.

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Albion man pleads guilty in federal court to child pornography

Staff Reports Posted 14 September 2017 at 10:09 pm

BUFFALO –  Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Christopher Ridder, 46, of Albion pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Lamarque, who is handling the case, stated that in January 2017, the defendant was found in possession of over 600 images of child pornography, some depicting prepubescent minors and some depicting sadistic or masochistic conduct.

Ridder was living in Medina when two Medina residents, on September 3, 2016, allegedly found a Samsung Centura smart phone in the trash in front of the former residence of the defendant on South Main St.

The following day, one of the individuals who found the phone charged it, began searching through it, and opened the Facebook application which automatically connected to Facebook account of the Ridder.

The phone also had pictures on it of individuals that the person knew as well as 75 images of young boys in various states of dress (bathing suits, underwear, etc.). Some pictures contained naked images of different boys. The individuals who found the phone turned the phone into the Village of Medina Police Department.

Further review of the phone and its contents by law enforcement officers uncovered a Facebook Messenger conversation that took place between Ridder and another individual. Officers also discovered another Facebook Messenger conversation between the defendant and second individual.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen and the Medina Police Department, under the direction of Chief Chad Kenward.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2018, at 2 p.m. before Judge Vilardo.

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Accused murderer to be arraigned Thursday in Rochester

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 September 2017 at 11:37 am

ROCHESTER – A Monroe County grand jury has indicted Holly Colino for second-degree murder of Megan Dix of Lyndonville.

Holly Colino

Colino will be arraigned in Monroe County Court at 2 p.m. on Thursday. In addition to murder, she has been indicted on six counts of criminal possession of a weapon, escape and menacing.

Colino is accused of shooting Dix on Aug. 25 while the 33-year-old-wife and mother was taking her lunch break at a parking lot on South Avenue. Dix was seeking some peace and quiet on her break at Lowe’s.

Colino, 31, grew up in East Rochester. She had been living in Arizona. Brockport Police Chief Daniel Varrenti said the murder was a random act of violence. Dix did not nothing wrong to provoke the attack, the police chief said.

Colino also allegedly pointed a gun at the head of an employee at Sticky Lips BBQ in Henrietta. She also allegedly bolted from a sheriff’s department substation, but was taken back into custody after a chase.

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Several arraigned on either drug charges or DWI

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2017 at 5:39 pm

ALBION – Five people were arraigned in Orleans County Court on Monday, including a Lyndonville woman on federal probation for smuggling 400 pounds of marijuana.

Erlinda Rodriguez-Zuniga, 40, of South Lyndonville Road is accused of selling hydrocodone pills. She is charged with fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Sara Sheldon, the acting County Court judge, set bail for Rodriguez-Zuniga at $20,000. She has been on probation after she allegedly smuggled 400 pounds of pot from Mexico in 2013.

Judge Sheldon also arraigned the following:

 Derrick L. Adams, 29, of Medina allegedly sold cocaine in Medina. He faced charges of four counts of third-degree criminal sale, five counts of third-degree possession and one count of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. He is accused of dealing cocaine. Judge Sheldon set bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 property bond.

• Hunter L. Green, 20, of Lyndonville is accused of dealing heroin, fentanyl and suboxone. He was arraigned on two counts each of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, and two counts each of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. The judge set bail at $5,000 cash or $10,000 property bond.

• Jeremy R. Johnson, 33, of Albion is charged with felony DWI and aggravated DWI. This is his third DWI charge with previous convictions in 2007 and 2009. He was released on his recognizance.

• Richard L. Dixon, 45, of Waterport is charged with felony DWI. This is his third DWI, Assistant District Attorney Susan Howard said. Judge Sheldon set bail at $5,000, which Dixon already posted in the Carlton Town Court.

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3 plead guilty in County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 September 2017 at 3:35 pm

ALBION – Three people pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court on Monday and could sentenced to jail or state prison.

Peter Eckerd, 28, of Brockport pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated after being arrested in the Town of Murray. The charge carries a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison, but as part of a plea deal Eckerd will face a maximum of 1 to 3 years in prison.

He has two prior DWIs, and will be sentenced on Nov. 20.

Two other people pleaded guilty to felonies.

Shane S. Woolston, 26, of Waterport pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree for allegedly stealing a car as well as several credit and debit cards, and using them to make numerous purchases.

He faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Nov. 20.

David L. Timmer III, 38, of Medina pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in the third degree. He is accused of burglarizing Tim Horton’s in Medina and taking money from the business.

He faces a split sentence of up to 6 months in jail and 5 years probation when he is sentenced on Nov. 20.

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Rochester man charged for allegedly selling crack cocaine in Albion

Staff Reports Posted 12 September 2017 at 9:53 am


ALBION – A Rochester man was arrested on Monday after an investigation into the sale and distribution of crack cocaine in the Village of Albion, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force is reporting.

The Task Force along with the Albion Police Department and its K9 Unit stopped a vehicle on South Main Street in Albion and charged the driver.

Jahquan E. Coleman, 25, of Selye Terrace, Rochester, was charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, and two counts of criminal possession in the third degree. All three counts are Class B felonies.

Coleman, who is currently on probation in Monroe County, was arraigned in Albion Town Court by Town Justice Joe Fuller, who set bail at $50,000 cash. Coleman is to return to Albion Town Court on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

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3 arraigned in County Court for felonies

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 August 2017 at 11:54 am

U-Need-O Burrito owner extradited to Colorado

ALBION – Three people were arraigned in Orleans County on Monday for felony crimes that included driving while intoxicated, grand larceny and disseminating indecent material to minors.

The court calendar also included the extradition of Ryan Lockhart, owner of U-Need-O Burrito in Albion, to Colorado.

Lockhart violated his probation from Colorado. He was on probation after being arrested for burglary in Colorado. District Attorney Joe Cardone said he didn’t know why Colorado authorities were having Lockhart returned to Colorado. Lockhart was recently arrested in Murray for speeding and driving without a license, but Cardone didn’t think that was the reason for Lockhart’s extradition.

Lockhart on July 1, 2016 opened U-Need-O on Main Street in Albion.

The arraignments before Sara Sheldon, acting Orleans County Criminal Court judge, include:

• Chad Oehlbeck of Kendall, who was arraigned for DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

He was arrested by a state trooper after Oehlbeck was allegedly weaving on a road in Kendall. He was found with a shotgun in the vehicle.

He has posted $15,000 bail from the Kendall Town Court. Sheldon is keeping the bail at $15,000.

• A Rochester woman was arraigned for fourth-degree grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree.

Georgeta M. Coleman, 19, was charged on June 14 by the Albion Police Department after she allegedly stole a motor vehicle in Albion. Sheldon set bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.

• A 17-year-old boy who lives in Medina was arraigned for disseminating indecent material to minors. The boy allegedly sent “extremely graphic images to an underage female,” Cardone told the judge.

The boy, who could be a youthful offender and shouldn’t have his name published, was 16 when he allegedly sent the images, his attorney Michael O’Keefe said. The attorney asked the judge to have the boy released so he can attend school.

However, the boy’s father was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison in January and the boy’s mother has abandoned him, O’Keefe said.

The boy was staying with his girlfriend’s family in Medina.

The judge asked O’Keefe to find a solution for a stable living environment for the boy before she considers releasing him without bail.

Sheldon set bail at $5,000 for the boy and also issued a one-year order of protection for the girl who received the graphic images.

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Judge keeps bail at $500K for Medina man, while reducing it for Rochester resident

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2017 at 1:29 pm

ALBION – Two people who had their bail set by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch asked his interim successor to reduce the bail on Monday.

Punch retired on July 29 after nearly 27 years as a county judge.

He held court for the last day on July 28 and his last court decision was setting bail for Jerry Gray, 44, of Medina.

Gray was arrested on July 26 and charged with eight counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, burglary in the second degree, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree.

Punch set bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million property bond.

Gray’s attorney, Nathan Pace, asked Sara Sheldon, the interim county judge, to reduce bail to $10,000.

Pace said Gray’s recent arrest stems from his struggles to stay away from drugs. Gray had been sober but had a relapse, Pace said.

Gray has five prior felonies, five failures to appear in court and has had his probation and parole revoked.

His 19 prior arrests include unlawful chases with police, and auto thefts.

“He has a horrendous criminal history,” District Attorney Joe Cardone told the judge.

Cardone asked that bail stay where it is. In the most recent crime, Gray allegedly entered someone else’s home at night, while they were in the house.

Gray dropped a receipt with his name on it in the house, which helped law enforcement identify him, Cardone said.

While Cardone spoke in court, the judge reviewed Gary’s criminal history.

“I’m only at 2004 and this is pretty bad,” she said. “Wow, that’s a lot of thefts and burglaries.”

The judge decided to keep bail where Punch set it – $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.

The judge however decided to cut the bail in half for a Rochester man who faces 13 counts of drug charges.

Judge Punch set bail at $300,000 on May 8 for Victor T. Simmons, 46. Punch cited a 37-page criminal history for Simmons, which includes four felonies in New York State and other out-of-state convictions.

His most recent charges involve selling heroin and cocaine in Albion.

Simmons acknowledged he has a “37-page rap sheet,” but he said many of those arrests did not result in convictions. He said he has been in prison four different times.

Simmons said he started using drugs when he was 16. He wants a reduced bail so he has a better chance of getting out so he can help his wife with their 14-year-old daughter.

The bail set by Punch at $300,000, “is a ransom,” Simmons said. “I don’t have that kind of money.”

Cardone asked Sheldon to keep bail at $300,000. He said Simmons has a history of failing to appear for court.

The judge decided to reduce bail to $150,000 cash and $300,000 bond.

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Judge gives Albion man 1 to 3 years in prison for violating probation with DWI

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2017 at 8:21 am

ALBION – An Albion resident was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison on Monday for violating his probation.

Luis Ramos-Perez of Albion was arrested for driving while intoxicated on April 29 by the state police. He has two prior felonies. One term of his probation was not to drink alcohol.

Ramos-Perez is married and is a proven hard worker for local farms, his attorney Nathan Pace told Judge Sara Sheldon.

Pace asked that Ramos-Perez be sentenced to six months in jail. Pace said he worries a state prison sentence could result in Ramos-Perez being deported. Ramos-Perez is in the country on a Green Card.

“He has shown a tremendous track record as a productive person in this country,” Pace said during sentencing.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Ramos-Perez was already on probation when he committed a new offense. The DA asked for the state prison sentence.

“There are plenty of other individuals who are hard workers who follow the laws,” Cardone said.

Sheldon, the acting Orleans County Criminal Court judge, gave Ramos-Perez the maximum for sentence for violating probation and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

She said he committed the latest offense while he had a child in the car.

In other cases in County Court on Monday:

• An Albion man who has asked for a different assigned counsel was granted a new attorney, but this time Joshua D. Biaselli has to pay the costs.

Biaselli, 33, no longer will be represented by David Wade. This is the second assigned counsel Biaselli has complained wasn’t doing a good enough job.

Wade asked to be released from the assignment. He told the judge it was the first time he had ever withdrawn from an assignment.

“He’s not a good lawyer for me,” Biaselli told the judge.

Biaselli said he wants a lawyer who believes he is innocent of the charges and who doesn’t assume he’s guilty.

Biaselli allegedly stole a car and drove while under the influence of alcohol and drugs on Feb. 10. He has been in jail on $200,000 bail.

Biaselli allegedly crashed the vehicle into a garage on Gulf Road in Murray. He was allegedly driving drunk and high from using cocaine and marijuana.

Biaselli was released from state prison in Elmira in January after serving more than five years in prison for felony DWI, bail jumping and drug convictions.

Wade said he thought he heard Biaselli threaten to strike him during court on Aug. 7. Biaselli said he didn’t threaten Wade.

The attorney said the two have had a “civil conversation” and agreed to part ways.

The judge, however, said she would no longer assign a taxpayer-funded attorney for Biaselli. She gave him until Sept. 18 to hire a lawyer.

• The judge approved a judicial diversion program for Jenia Suarez-Jimenez, 26, of Medina. If she can complete the program and avoid using drugs her felony drug charge will be reduced and she will avoid going to jail or state prison.

She pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum of 2 ½ years in state prison.

She was charged in April for allegedly selling hydrocodone in Medina and western Orleans County. She admitted in court to selling hydrocodone.

If she completes the diversion program, the charge will be reduced to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and she will face a maximum of three years on probation. If she fails at the diversion program, which lasts 1 to 2 years, she will likely be sent to prison.

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