Teen from Basom sent to prison for threatening deputies and others
In determining how to sentence 17-year-old Isaac Abrams of Basom, Judge Charles Zambito said there conflicting viewpoints to consider.
As a 17-year-old, in a couple of years under recent reforms in New York criminal law, Abrams would perhaps be considered a juvenile and wouldn't even appear in County Court and would be presumed to be not responsible for his actions.
However, Abrams admitted to serious offenses that could have led to the loss of life and in just five short months has established a pattern of repeated offenses and disregard for authority.
Zambito said he's concerned about the direction Abrams seems to have chosen for his life recently.
In December, Abrams entered guilty pleas to making a terrorist threat, a Class D felony, and reckless endangerment in the first degree, also a Class D felony. The charges stem from incidents where he threatened to kill Sheriff's deputies during a confrontation on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and appeared to try and run over pedestrians at a fast food restaurant in Batavia.
"I understand you have a child and that is important to you," Zambito said. "But if you continue on this path, you won't see your child again, if you even survive."
Zambito sentenced Abrams to one-and-a-third to four years in prison followed by parole until he's 21.
Abrams was granted youthful offender status, which will expunge his record once he's an adult if he stays out trouble.
He said the sentence, he felt, balanced protecting the community, serving justice, and won't prevent Abrams from living life as a productive member of society once he's out of the criminal justice system.
First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini argued against granting Abrams Y.O. status. She said he has engaged in increasingly violent acts, shown a disregard for authority and human life, and violated his release under supervision contract numerous times.
"He's a high risk to the community," Cianfrini said. "Look at his statements. He seriously minimizes his conduct. He said that he gave people something to talk about at dinner. This is not somebody expressing remorse."
Defense Attorney Vanessa Guite suggested that Zambito take into account his age and the fact that before this rash of incidents started, he had no criminal charges in his life.
"To a certain degree his actions are the result of immaturity and the role alcohol played in his conduct," Guite said. "His criminal history started only five months ago. There are many people with worse histories walking the streets right now."
She said from her viewpoint, the prosecution was trying to make Abrams out as the worst criminal in history, which she said she understood was the prosecution's job, and she suggested that Cianfrini overstated the weight Zambito should give to the RUS violations.
"Their recommendation is for substantial prison time for what amounts to using marijuana and staying out late," Guite said.
After Guite's remarks to Zambito, Abrams had his turn to make a statement on his behalf. After a whispered exchange with his attorney, Abrams said, "I'm sorry for my actions."