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Defendant in gun possession cases granted request for new attorney, wants to renegotiate plea

By Howard B. Owens
Tarrence Williams

A Batavia man who already admitted to a drug-dealing-related charge wants the chance to withdraw his plea so he can perhaps bargain for a prison sentence that includes a gun possession arrest on Sept. 30.

Tarrence Yuron Williams, 22, asked for a new attorney in County Court today saying he was dissatisfied with the representation provided by Public Defender Jerry Ader.

Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini granted Williams' request to change attorneys even though District Attorney Kevin Finnell said he saw no grounds for letting Williams withdraw his prior guilty plea, which occurred before the second alleged gun possession charge following a "shots fired" incident on Ellicott Street in Batavia.

Williams was arrested in December and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance 4th, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation, and menacing 3rd.  

He later entered a guilty plea to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd.

A drug possession charge in the third degree means authorities believe you possessed enough narcotics to sell, not just what you need for your own consumption.  It doesn't mean the defendant was caught in the act of selling drugs.

Then on Sept. 30, while Williams was awaiting sentencing on the drug charge -- that was supposed to be today -- police responded to Ellicott Street in Batavia for a report of shots fired and a man running from the area.

Sgt. Dan Coffey spotted a man on the Ellicott Trail between Jackson and Evans streets, and the man ran so Coffey chased him.  The man was later tackled in a grassy area next to Court Street, and later a weapon was recovered under bushes near M&T Bank.

Williams was charged with criminal possession of a weapon 2nd, a Class C felony, and criminal possession of a weapon 4th, a Class A misdemeanor, and jailed on $50,000 bail.  He remains in custody.

He asked to be released under supervision so perhaps he could find his own attorney, mentioning Thomas Burns as his preference. He wanted to know if there was a way to have Burns assigned to him through the assigned council program.

Cianfrini said the assigned attorney program will assign the next attorney in line and available, not necessarily the attorney of his choosing.

She said he could get friends or family to contact a retained attorney if he didn't want an assigned attorney.  

He would have to pay for a retained attorney.

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