Judge sends 3 to prison despite pleas for leniency

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 October 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Orleans County Court Judge James Punch sentenced three people to state prison today, including two teenagers, despite pleas for leniency for all three.

The judge acknowledged he gets some criticism for the prison sentences he often gives people with drug offenses. He makes no apologies and said he will continue to punish people for selling drugs, a “poison” in the community.

Punch sentenced Jesse Boldt, 38, of Medina to 1 ½ years in state prison, the maximum the judge said he could do because of state sentencing requirements.

Boldt pleaded guilty to criminal possession of controlled substance in the fifth degree.

He admitted he possessed LSD with the intent to sell on Dec. 30, 2013. He has a criminal history in the states of Alabama, Texas and Pennsylvania, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

Boldt has difficulty walking and has metal rods in his legs after a car accident. His attorney Dominic Saraceno asked that Boldt avoid jail because of his health problems and also because of his upbringing, which included his mother giving him marijuana at age 5 because he was hyperactive.

“I realize I broke the law and messed up,” Boldt said in court today. “I’m sorry.”

Boldt was sentenced after the judge put two teenagers in state prison for crimes Punch said were fueled by drugs.

The judge it was “painful” he could only give Boldt the maximum of 1 ½ in state prison.

“You’re a habitual drug dealer,” Punch said. “It’s people like you that start these chain reactions of misery I have to deal with every day for a few bucks in your pocket.”

“It’s a ripple of misery in our community. Thank God we’re trying to do something about it.” – Judge James Punch

The two teens were each sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for their role in multiple burglaries. The two broke into houses and stole others’ belongings to fuel their drug use, Punch said during sentencing.

The judge gave them youthful offender status, meaning their record would be sealed and they shouldn’t be publicly identified by the press.

Their attorneys asked the two avoid jail or prison and be sentenced to Probation. But the judge said the multiple burglaries violated homeowners’ sense of security.

“This was not a youthful discretion,” the judge said. “This was not painting your name on the water tower. This is a drug-fueled crime.”

The two teens were ordered to pay restitution to the victims at about $3,300 total. Both teens were joined in the courtroom by their families and several community members submitted letters to the court, saying the boys had good character.

The judge said the pull of drugs causes a “disconnect,” leading some people astray and to a life of crime. He said the teens were victims of the drug activity in the community.

“It’s a ripple of misery in our community,” the judge said. “Thank God we’re trying to do something about it.”