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November 16, 2020 - 9:07pm

Rochester man picked up in Liberty Street drug raid avoids jail, placed on probation

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Liberty Street, notify.
         Marquise Lee

A Rochester man swept up in a drug bust on Liberty Street in March that led to the arrest of himself and four other people, along with the seizure of 56 bags of crack cocaine, avoided further jail time in his sentencing today in Genesee County Court.

Marquise Lee, 36, had been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance third, a drug-dealing charge.

After his guilty plea over the summer, he was placed on interim probation. His success in that program, along with ongoing employment in his father's construction business, and his care for his children during their in-home studies during the coronavirus pandemic helped nudge Judge Charles Zambito toward a probationary sentence.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell asked the judge to follow the Probation Department's recommendation and give Lee six months in the Genesee County jail.

The ongoing pandemic also seemed to factor into Zambito's decision.

"Quite honestly, I have to be careful about who I put in jail here these days," Zambito said. "It shouldn't sway the decision. It shouldn't be that way but I guess I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and give you a chance to prove you deserve probation. 

"I remember you told me before that you didn't sell drugs, that you were just there and you didn't know what was going on," Zambito added. "That doesn't make sense to me. You admitted it (when Lee pled guilty). I hope you are helping out with your wife and kids and doing whatever you can to lead a law-abiding life. You don't need to be in jail but we don't need you selling drugs."

Lee was adjudicated a second felony-offender because of a 2017 DWI conviction.

As part of his plea deal, Lee agreed to forfeit $659 in cash recovered at the crime scene. The money will go to the Sheriff's asset forfeiture fund. 

On his five-probation sentence, Lee was given credit for the seven months he served on interim probation. He also previously served 31 days in jail on the charge.

He was also ordered to have no communication with his codefendants, Angela R. Bateman, Nikki L. Stonebraker, Joseph T. Burr, Derek E. Wilcox.

"You're not to be around them," Zambito said. "They will only get you into trouble."

At the end of the sentencing, Zambito transferred Lee's case to the Monroe County Probation Department.

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