| Marlek Holmes
Unless sexual predator Marlek Holmes violates the deal he made today, we shouldn't see him in Genesee County for a long time.
Holmes, who missed the start of a trial date earlier this week after corrections officers wouldn't transport him from Auburn to Batavia, agreed today to drop all his appeals in exchange for consecutive five-year prison terms on his assault convictions and the potential dismissal of his indictments on charges of 2016 of failure to register a change of address as a sex offender.
We also learned today why prison officials wouldn't transport Holmes from Auburn to Batavia until Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. In preparation for his transport, he was placed in a chair that is also a metal detector. It's capable of detecting a metal object inside a human body up to six inches deep. If such an object is detected, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said, the inmate is placed in solitary confinement and monitored to see what, if anything, comes out.
"Today they would have run him through that process again, and obviously the fact that he was here meant that he cleared the test," Friedman said. "But that's why he wasn't here for the trial because they are they are not able to transport somebody until they resolve the situation because obviously, it could be could be drugs, could be a weapon, could be a key, and they can't, for safety, they just absolutely cannot transport the person."
With Holmes cleared for transport today, Judge Charles Zambito scheduled a hearing on whether Holmes qualifies as a persistent violent felony offender, which, if Zambito made that finding, Holmes could have faced longer consecutive prison sentences on his assault convictions.
Before the start of the hearing, Fred Rarick, attorney for Holmes, asked to approach the bench. He informed Zambito his client was ready to accept a deal previously offered by Friedman.
After the hearing, Friedman talked about the need to secure a long sentence for Holmes.
"He has an unbelievably extensive criminal history involving a lot of serious crimes and that's why we took this all very seriously," Friedman said. "That's why he's now serving 25 years."
Finalizing the details of the agreement was a long process for Zambito to wade through -- the legal language and process and paperwork -- but Holmes, who a week ago used foul language in court, was in seeming good spirits and smiled and nodded a few times as he spoke quietly with his attorney.
In the 20-year period from 1995 to 2015, Holmes, now 43, spent most of his adult life -- 15 years -- in state prison. His 1995 conviction was for criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. Then in 2001, he was convicted of sexual abuse. In 2011, he was accused of sending sexually explicit photos to a girl.
Back in Batavia in 2015, he was soon charged with failure to register a change of address as a sex offender. He was charged again in 2016.
In 2016, he was also charged with sexual abuse, a charge that eventually led to a guilty plea (he was facing a possible life sentence) and a 15-year prison term.
In 2017, he was tried on two counts of assault in the second degree for assaults of fellow inmates in the Genesee County Jail and on criminal mischief for damaging jail property. A jury convicted Holmes on all counts.
It was those convictions that prompted the need for a hearing on his persistent violent felony offender status.
Friedman agreed that Holmes is one of the most hardened criminals he's prosecuted during his career.
"I would say, yes," Friedman said. "Not only because of the number of crimes he has been convicted of and the number of state prison sentences he has served, but also because of the nature of some of these crimes, the sex offenses."
Today, Holmes stipulated that he would drop his pending appeal on his sexual abuse conviction and not appeal his assault conviction or sentence. Legally, he can still proceed with appeals, but if he does, Friedman will be able to bring him back to court and start again on a trial on the failure-to-register charges.
Holmes also stipulated that he is second violent felony offender.
The agreement could also mean the dismissal of a pending misdemeanor indictment on a count of criminal contempt.
Near the end of the proceedings, as Zambito proceeded with the standard language that Holmes has 30 days to file a notice of appeal, Rarick was clear with his client and the court that if he files a notice of appeal, or anybody does it on his behalf, the deal falls apart and Holmes will be back in court facing the pending indictments on failure to register and criminal contempt.
With a total of 25 years in prison terms, Holmes could be eligible for parole after 2038. When he is paroled, either in 2038 or later, he will be on parole for 10 years.