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December 20, 2010 - 12:39pm

One of Batavia's habitual offenders given maximum prison term

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

One of Batavia's most persistent criminals never had a chance to be a productive citizen, his attorney argued this morning, just before Judge Robert C. Noonan sentenced Michael J. Piasta to three-and-a-half to seven years in state prison on a burglary, 3rd, conviction.

Piasta's mother was an alcoholic and his father a heroin addict who died only recently of an overdose, said attorney William Teford. As a toddler, Tedford said, Piasta found some LSD in his house and swallowed it, nearly killing him.

"There's no denying his lengthy criminal record, no denying this sentence comes from many other criminal charges," Tedford said. "But as I read his family and social history, from a personal standpoint, I found it disturbing and difficult to believe."

Tedford asked that Noonan consider the circumstances of Piasta's life and give him the minimum term, two to four years in prison.

Noonan said he read the pre-sentence report prepared by the probation department, and given Piasta's lengthy criminal history, it was important, Noonan said, that Piasta be kept from society for "as long as possible."

On Nov. 5, Piasta entered a guilty plea to burglary, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Piasta admitted that in October he broke into a business at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, and stole a credit card -- running up more than $500 in charges -- and checks. He attempted to forge the checks at two local banks.

Over the summer, Piasta was also accused of stealing DVDs from Pandora's Boxx and shoplifting from Wilson Farms.

In court today, Piasta told Noonan that for a period of time when he was released from jail, he did work toward turning his life around, even getting a job.

"At this point I just want to say I don’t feel that I’m hopeless," Piasta said. "Regardless of what happens today, I think I can make things better."

After the sentencing, Noonan told Piasta that he didn't believe the 30-year-old Batavia native is hopeless either, but that he needs to take advantage of whatever substance abuse programs he can while in prison.

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