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New attorney for defendant seeks to get felony gun charge reduced to a misdemeanor

By Howard B. Owens
Nov 2, 2022, 10:25pm
Tarrence Williams

After pleading guilty to a drug-dealing charge and then getting arrested on a weapons possession felony, Tarrence Y. Williams wanted a new attorney, one he thought could help him get a plea bargain that consolidated his cases.

Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini granted Williams' request on Oct. 18 to change attorneys even though District Attorney Kevin Finnell said he saw no grounds for letting Williams withdraw his prior guilty plea.

Williams was back in court today for sentencing on the drug conviction, but Finnell was called away on other business so Cianfrini granted a request by Fred Rarick, the assigned counsel now representing Williams, to adjourn the sentencing.

He is awaiting a response from Finnell on whether Finnell is willing to reduce the felony weapons charge -- criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree -- to a misdemeanor. 

That would be a significant change. Cianfrini noted today that since the second alleged felony occurred while the defendant was waiting for sentencing on a prior felony conviction, she would have no choice but to sentence him to consecutive terms on the two convictions.

Williams pled guilty to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance third, following an arrest on drug-dealing-related charges in December.

On Sept. 30., Williams was arrested again after Batavia city patrol officers responded to a report of shots fired on Ellicott Street.  Williams was taken into custody after a foot pursuit and a weapon was reportedly found under a bush near the M&T Bank branch off Court Street.

Williams was then charged with criminal possession of a weapon second, a Class C felony, and criminal possession of a weapon fourth, a Class A misdemeanor.

The case was continued to 11 a.m. Dec. 6, and Cianfrini kept his bail at the previous $50,000 cash, $100,000 bond, or $200,000 partially secured bond.

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