county court

Local town justice courts need to get partitions in place for judges, attorneys

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 August 2020 at 12:07 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Public Defender Joanne Best speaks to local officials during last week’s meeting of the Orleans County Association of Municipalities, which was held at Tillman’s Village Inn.

ALBION – Orleans County Public Defender Joanne Best said the local town justice courts are in the process of reopening but many still need to have partitions in place for judges and attorneys.

The local town courts started to reopen for cases last month. Some of the court rooms are only allowing 10 people inside the courtrooms at a time. With the judge, court clerk, stenographer, district attorney, public defender and defendant, the space is already more than half full.

Best addressed local officials last week during the monthly Orleans County Association of Municipalities meeting. She told them many of the town hall buildings still need to become Covid-19 compliant for court.

That includes Plexiglass dividers in front of judges and between attorneys and their clients at the attorney-client rooms. The attorney-client rooms also need to have enough space to allow for social distancing.

Best said those protections need to be in place “or we can’t send attorneys in,” she said.

She said she has some temporary dividers in her office that the courts can use until they get their own in place.

“Whatever your feelings are about it, we are being directed to have PPE and shields (in the courts),” Best told the local officials.

Return to top

Albion CO pleads guilty to criminal sex act against 2 inmates

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2020 at 3:48 pm

ALBION – A former corrections officer at the Albion Correctional Facility pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sex act against two different female inmates.

James W. Castonguay, 30, of Amherst pleaded guilty in Orleans County Court on Aug. 6 and could spend time in the county jail and on probation when he is sentenced on Oct. 28.

He admitted in court to forcing two inmates to give him oral sex while he was working at the women’s prison.

He was charged last September by the State Police with third-degree criminal sexual act, official misconduct and third-degree rape.

Castonguay also is one of several corrections officers named in a $25 million federal lawsuit that alleges cover-ups of rape and sexual assault reports at Albion Correctional, Bedford Hills, Lakeview Shock Correctional and Taconic Correctional.

Return to top

Lyndonville man sentenced on federal firearms charges

Posted 10 August 2020 at 12:56 pm

Press Release, United States Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., Western District of New York

BUFFALO – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Nolan Donald, 21, of Lyndonville, who was convicted of being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms and ammunition, and possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing marijuana, was sentenced to serve three years home confinement by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth T. Molisani, who handled the case, stated that between February 2018 and April 18, 2018, the defendant was addicted to, or was an unlawful user of, marijuana. On April 18, 2018, Donald was arrested following the execution of a search warrant at his residence on North Lyndonville Road. Inside the residence, investigators recovered a 9mm, semi-automatic pistol, loaded with eight rounds of ammunition; a 12-gauge shotgun; 79 rounds of ammunition; a small quantity of marijuana; edible marijuana cookies; and plastic baggies.

Following his arrest, the defendant admitted that he sold marijuana for approximately two years preceding his arrest and continued to sell marijuana and other marijuana products up until the time of his arrest. Donald also stated that he had used marijuana every day for the past year and a half.

Between February 17, 2018, and April 18, 2018, the defendant posted videos and photos to the social media application “Snapchat” in which he appeared to be in possession of a pistol and large quantities of marijuana, and using what appeared to be marijuana and prescription medicine.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division.

Return to top

Rochester man charged after fatal drug overdose in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 August 2020 at 9:22 am

A Rochester man has been charged after a lengthy investigation into a fatal drug overdose in November 2019, the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force is reporting today.

Kashbi C. Sanders

Kashbi C. Sanders, 28, of Charlotte Street in Rochester allegedly sold a lethal combination of heroin and fentanyl in Orleans County.

On Wednesday he was arraigned in Orleans County Court by Judge Sanford Church on two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, which are Class B felonies.

Sanders was released on his own recognizance due to the new bail reform laws. He is to appear next in County Court on Aug. 12.

He is currently being held in Monroe County Jail after being charged by the Rochester Police Department on numerous felony weapons charges, including first-degree robbery and second-degree assault in April 2020, the Task Force reported today.

The investigation is the fatal drug overdose is ongoing.

Investigators with the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office made the arrest on Wednesday. The Rochester PD and Monroe County Heroin Task Force assisted in the investigation.

Return to top

3 recently plead guilty in County Court

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 August 2020 at 12:28 pm

Courthouse begins to reopen with grand jury, some in-person appearances

ALBION – Orleans County Court is gradually reopening although it isn’t fully reopen to the public.

The court is doing some in-person arraignments and some defendants have taken plea offers. Some court proceedings continue through Skype.

Last week the first grand jury was seated since mid-March, when the court systems were largely shut down in the state. The grand jury usually meets in the Public Safety Building but was moved to the main courtroom in the County Courthouse to allow for more social distancing.

Last month, three people pleaded guilty in county court and accepted plea offers.

Those cases include:

Ronald R. Cook Jr., 36, of Cobleskill, pleaded guilty on July 29 to one count of third-degree rape. He admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old girl who he met through the 4-H program.

Cook could face up to 6 months in the county jail and 10 years on probation when he is sentenced on Oct. 14.

Deon Jackson, 20, of Medina pleaded guilty on July 2 to second-degree burglary after a home invasion in Medina. He allegedly entered a Medina residence without permission on July 3, 2019 with a BB pistol, and took $1,700 in cash.

As part of the plea, he faces a maximum of five years in state prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 19.

Kelly Morrison, 45, of Medina pleaded guilty on July 8 to third-degree attempted arson for allegedly setting her house on fire on May 11, 2019 on Gwinn Street.

Morrison faces up to five years in probation and must pay any “reasonable restitution.” She will be sentenced on Sept. 9.

Return to top

State Appellate Court upholds conviction, 20-year prison sentence for Ridgeway man

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 July 2020 at 10:25 am

RIDGEWAY – The State Appellate Court last week upheld the decision by an acting Orleans County Court judge who sentenced a Ridgeway man to 20 years in prison.

Gerardo Quiros

Gerardo Quiros, 33, was convicted by a jury of sexual assault and rape charges during a trial in July 2018. He held a woman against her will for several weeks, while physically and sexually assaulting her.

He was found guilty by the jury of rape in the first degree (four counts), criminal sexual act in the first degree (three counts), criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree (two counts), assault in the third degree, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and unlawful possession of marijuana.

On Sept. 17, 2018, he was sentenced by Sara Sheldon, a Niagara County Court judge, to 20 years in prison, plus 10 years of post-release supervision.

Quiros, during sentencing, declined to address the court. His attorney, Scott Riordan, advised Quiros not to speak at sentencing because they would immediately appeal the conviction and sentence.

Riordan filed an appeal, and it was unanimously rejected on Friday by the State Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

Riordan in the appeal said the judge should have dismissed the indictment against Quiros because of testimony from a former girlfriend. Riordan said Quiros shouldn’t have faced multiple counts in the indictment because the former girlfriend didn’t provide specific details on precise dates.

The victim testified there were as many as 40 incidents of forced sexual assault. The prosecutor, District Attorney Joe Cardone, had clear dates for 10 counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree. Those counts should all be treated as separate counts or crimes, the court said.

“The victim’s testimony was detailed, graphic, and corroborated by receipts, photographs, and emails that allowed the victim to pinpoint the precise dates on which each of those incidents of forced sexual intercourse occurred,” the court said. “Because defendant was convicted only of those counts of [rape in the first degree] where pretrial notice of specific instances was given and where those specific instances were proved at trial, we conclude that dismissal of those counts as duplicitous was not required.”

Quiros was indicted in May 2017 for repeatedly raping and sodomizing his now former girlfriend in March 15 to April 29, 2017 at his house on Ridge Road.

He was subject of a manhunt on April 29, 2017. Quiros fled before police arrived, leading to a massive police search of the area and a stay-in-place order for nearby residents. The search was called off after several hours when police determined Quiros was no longer in the area. He was arrested two days later in Lockport.

He posted $200,000 bail and then faced other charges from a separate case. On Jan. 1, 2018, he barged into a home on Root Road in Barre and tried to drag a new girlfriend out of the house by her feet. He was stopped by her brother, who made Quiros leave at gunpoint.

Quiros pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors – criminal trespass in the second degree and attempted unlawful imprisonment in the first degree. He was sentenced to a year in the county jail for those crimes, with that incarceration to be served concurrently with the state prison sentence.

Return to top