Taxi driver may have threatened witness so plea deal could be off

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 September 2016 at 6:48 pm

2 plead guilty to other crimes in Orleans County

ALBION – A Medina man was scheduled to be sentenced today for possibly 90 to 120 days in the Orleans County Jail.

But County Court Judge James Punch said a plea deal may be off after District Attorney Joe Cardone said Roy Bishop allegedly made threatening comments to a witness through Facebook.

Bishop, 42, was working for Medina Transport as a driver, and was allegedly using his job to facilitate drug crimes, according to the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

Bishop in court today agreed to pay $120 in restitution to the Task Force for drug buy money.

Bishop’s attorney, Jon Ross Wilson, said his client doesn’t have a computer or a Facebook account, so he doesn’t see how Bishop could have been threatening a witness.

Judge Punch said he wanted to review Cardone’s claim of witness intimidation. Bishop is due back in court Oct. 17.

“I’m not saying you are doing it, but if you are, you better stop,” Punch told Bishop.

In other cases today, two people pleaded guilty.

• Yoel Martin Pena, 40, pleaded guilty to third-degree possession of a forged instrument. As part of a plea deal, he will not be sentenced to more than 364 days in jail. The charge also was downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Pena was originally charged in February 2012 when he and Felix Darias allegedly had 47 fraudulent credit cards that they used at the Albion Wal-Mart.

The two were Miami, Fla. residents and were charged with first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. Pena faced the additional charge of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument because he allegedly had a fake South Carolina driver’s license.

Darias was sentenced for the crime, but Pena fled the area. He was picked up recently in Texas and extradited to Orleans County.

District Attorney Joe Cardone had offered Pena a plea deal on Monday for attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, which can carry up to 4 years in state prison. However, Cardone said he reviewed the case and possession of stolen or fraudulent credit cards is considered less of a crime than having stolen cash.

The change in the severity of the charge means Pena was looking at a maximum of one year in jail instead of four years in prison. With the plea deal, the sentence will be no more than 364 days in jail. That maximum sentence, at one day less than a full year, increases the chances that Pena can stay in the country and not be deported.

He will be sentenced on Nov. 21 at 2 p.m.

Evan Shaffer, 23, of Lee Road in Albion pleaded guilty to violating his probation. He admitted to being charged with driving while intoxicated in Brockport on July 5. (Shaffer said he is challenging the charge because he only consumed one beer prior to driving.)

Other probation violations include using marijuana, missing appointments with his probation officer, drinking alcohol, and not continuing a substance abuse treatment program. (Shaffer said he completed the program, but was asked to keep going by a counselor.)

Shaffer has been on probation after being convicted of attempted burglary in the third degree in Genesee County in 2014. He will be sentenced on Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. and faces a maximum of 1 to 3 years in prison.

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