Judge praises 2 graduates of judicial diversion program

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2018 at 11:30 am

ALBION – Two women who were arrested on felony drug charges in March 2016 have been successful in drug treatment and rebuilding their lives.

The two women on Monday graduated from an intense judicial diversion program through the Orleans County Court. Sara Sheldon, the acting County Court judge, had praise and cupcakes for the graduates.

“This a pretty big deal,” Sheldon said during court. “We have two women graduating from the 216 program. They’re stronger and better and so much healthier. I’m so proud of them.”

Terra Swift of Medina and Roxanne Thomas of Holley were both praised for staying clean and resisting their addiction. They have had frequent appointments for treatment for nearly two years, while also meeting often with the judge and probation staff.

The felony drug charges were dismissed against them for completing the program. They were instead sentenced to a misdemeanor drug charge. They were given conditional discharges and won’t be on probation.

Dominic Saraceno, an attorney, represents Swift. He said she has had a dramatic turnaround since her arrest.

“She has done a remarkable job and I’m really proud of her,” Saraceno told Judge Sheldon.

The judge praised Swift and Thomas for their hard work. The judge urged them to attend weekly support groups because the time soon after completing a program is often “the toughest year” for long-term success in staying off opioids and drugs.

In another case in the judicial diversion program, an 18-year-old from Albion who was recently accepted in the program committed new crimes.

The latest crimes could result in Prince Wilson being kicked out of the program, and face possible state prison for a burglary charge.

“You’re a young cocky kid,” Judge Sheldon told Williams. “I don’t think you understand the seriousness of the spot you’re in.”

The judge agreed to keep him in the program with the stipulation he live with his father in Niagara County and be in a diversion program through a court in Lockport. The judge said a different setting is critical for Wilson to have a chance at success.

He also needs to be working to complete his GED, and have mental health and drug treatment evaluations and treatment if necessary.

Return to top