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January 2, 2018 - 2:33pm

Sex offender denied delay in trial on failure to register charge

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A sex offender serving a 15-year prison term and facing a trial on charges that have been pending since 2016 asked County Court Judge Charles Zambito to postpone the trial because he's "in transit" between prisons.

Nobody was quite sure what Marlek Holmes meant by that claim, so as he stood in County Court -- shackled and in a green prison jumpsuit -- he explained to Zambito that in order to make court appearances, he's been transferred from Auburn to Wende. Prison officials limit what he can bring with him. He can't bring all of his case documents and while at Wende he's in isolation and doesn't have access to the law library.

Holmes is facing a trial Jan. 22 on charges that he failed to register a change of address as a sex offender in 2016. During the trial, the court will also hold a hearing on whether he should be declared a persistent violent felony offender.

Holmes was facing a possible life-in-prison sentence before he agreed to a plea agreement the day his trial was supposed to start May 4. He entered a guilty plea to attempted criminal sexual act in the first degree, a Class C violent felony. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on that conviction May 31.

While he was in jail on these charges, Holmes assaulted a fellow inmate, a crime he was convicted of following a jury trial Oct. 6. He has yet to be sentenced on that conviction.

Zambito told Holmes that he didn't find the prison transfer issue a sufficient reason to delay his trial. He told him he had an attorney, Fred Rarick, who is handling his actual legal defense. He isn't representing himself.

"If it requires an order to get the Department of Corrections to provide you with your paperwork, I'll sign an order," Zambito said.

Jury selection in the trial of Holmes on the failure-to-register charge begins Jan. 22.

A hearing on whether Holmes is a persistent violent felony offender will take place before the actual failure-to-register trial begins, the morning of Jan. 23. The hearing will help determine the severity of his sentence stemming from the Oct. 6 conviction for assaulting a fellow inmate.

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