Matthew Derrick will be released from jail today, likely to receive credit for time served, and not have to return if he can stay out of trouble.
At a lengthy hearing today, Derrick, whose case was delayed Dec. 7 so he could be evaluated for the mental competency to understand court proceedings, entered a guilty plea to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.
As part of the plea deal, Derrick is eligible for what's called a shock probation sentence, which means no more than six months in jail and five years probation, instead of the 1-4 year prison term Derrick would face if he took the case to trial.
The charge stems from an incident in October when Derrick threatened people with a corkscrew, and made statements about cutting them open and killing them.
One witness, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, said Derrick had a knife, and while a corkscrew was recovered from the scene, no knife was found at the time of Derrick's arrest.
Derrick entered his plea under terms known as an Alford plea. In other words, Derrick did not admit to the facts of the case, just that the evidence was sufficient that he faced a high probability of being found guilty by a jury.
The likely sentence for Derrick, Judge Charles Zambito indicated, is four months, if Derrick stays out of trouble while under supervision of Genesee Justice; however, since Derrick has already been in jail for just two days shy of four months, Friedman agreed to modify to plea deal to subtract those two days from the sentence.
When Derrick last appeared in court, he seemed not to understand the court proceedings and Lisa Kroemer, with the public defender's office, explained the proceedings to him. Then interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka expressed concern about Derrick's ability to understand his instructions. He ordered Derrick to undergo a mental competency evaluation.
Two doctors examined Derrick and both found him mentally competent enough to understand the proceedings. Zambito accepted the report after both Friedman and Kroemer waived a hearing on the topic.
In court today, Derrick answered most of Zambito's questions promptly, with a clear, "Yes, your honor." He expressed confusion about a couple of points but quickly said he understood once the issues were rephrased. Zambito was very careful throughout the proceeding to ensure Derrick understood exactly what he was agreeing to and what rights, such as the right to appeal, he was waiving.
There was discussion about how to handle three orders of protection. One or more of the people covered by the orders live in the same apartment building as Derrick and his wife. Derrick will live with his grandmother in Le Roy until suitable language for the orders is worked out.