Man gets 4 years in prison after being first person charged with selling medical marijuana in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 July 2017 at 10:01 am

Murray man sentenced to 6 months in jail after assaulting woman

ALBION – A Rochester man was sentenced to 4 years in state prison on Monday, the maximum sentence as part of plea agreement.

Steven Jones

Steven C. Jones, 47, said he has fought drug addiction for 35 years. He was out of prison in 2008 and said he had avoided any police contact for nearly nine years until he was arrested in November, the first person to be charged in Orleans County for selling medical marijuana.

Jones was allegedly selling marijuana in both liquid and pill form, as well as prescription painkillers. He faced an 18-count indictment and has been in jail on $100,000 bail.

His attorney, Robert Fogg, asked Orleans County Court Judge James Punch to give Jones 3 ½ years in prison, the minimum mandatory sentence. Fogg said Jones has been “a model citizen” while in jail, causing no problems.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Jones was involved in several sales of opiate drugs in the county.

“We feel state prison is appropriate,” Cardone told the judge.

Jones said he has fought the pull of drugs for many years. He became hooked on drugs when he crushed his ankle and started taking pain medications, he told the judge.

“Addiction is a hard thing,” Jones said.

He is determined to stay off drugs in the future. He participated drug addiction program through GCASA while in jail. He apologized for his “illegal activity.”

“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he told the judge. “I’m sorry to my family who had to come all the way out of town to see me like this.”

Judge Punch gave Jones the maximum as part of the plea agreement – 4 years in prison and 2 years of post-release supervision. The judge said he would give the Department of Corrections the option of sending Jones to a drug treatment program at Willard. That will be up to the Department of Corrections, Punch said.

Jones also needs to pay $1,150 in restitution which was the “buy money” for the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

If Jones had gone to trial and been convicted, he may have spent most of the rest of his life in prison, Punch said.

The judge said Jones wasn’t only using drugs. He was actively selling drugs in the community.

“You are here because you sold drugs,” Punch said during sentencing. “You of all people should know the misery of selling these drugs. You are spreading the poison and misery you’ve endured to other people.”

In another sentencing on Monday, a Murray man was sentenced to six months in the Orleans County Jail for attempted assault in the third degree after a domestic violence incident on Jan. 1.

Todd J. Knight II, 25, of Hulberton Road admitted in court to injuring a woman. He caused a concussion, “massive swelling” on the right side of her head, a fractured rib, contusions and other injuries, Cardone said.

The woman has recovered which resulted in a shorter sentence for Knight.

Knight’s attorney Larry Koss asked the judge to sentence Knight to weekends in jail so he could continue working.

Koss said Knight has no prior criminal history, and has completed mental health counseling and has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Knight apologized for his actions.

“I am ashamed of what I did,” Knight said during sentencing. “I will spend the rest of my life knowing I hurt someone I love.”

Judge Punch issued an order of protection for the victim and said Knight needs to go to jail for a “very serious assault.” If Knight had a prior criminal offense, he would have been sentenced to state prison, Punch said.

“I don’t like people who beat up women,” Punch said. “If you ever do it again you will get a long state prison sentence.”

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