Genesee County Court Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini this afternoon remanded a Town of Alabama man to county jail for at least the next several days while attorneys on both sides look into the circumstances surrounding an alleged burglary on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.
Isaac D. Abrams, 22, who apparently owns smoke shops and dispensaries on the reservation, was charged by State Police with second-degree attempted burglary, a Class C felony, in connection with an incident at a dispensary on the evening of March 10.
He was arrested on March 30 and subsequently released with non-monetary conditions pending today’s court appearance.
Abrams has been under intensive probation supervision as a result of previous criminal charges, including first-degree burglary of a dwelling, causing injury, a Class B felony, and third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor.
During today’s proceedings and in light of the latest charges, Cianfrini pointed out that the probation department has recommended the revocation of Abrams’ IPS status – action supported by Assistant District Attorney Andrew DiPasquale.
At that point, Fred Rarick, who has represented Abrams since 2018, claimed that the charges were “merely allegations” and that his client turned over recordings that will show that “some people have ulterior motives.”
Rarick said that Abrams was invited to mediate a dispute at the business, and that the business owner, Cassi Abrams, “notified state troopers that my client did absolutely nothing wrong.”
“It’s a little bit premature to revoke the IPS,” Rarick said, adding that Abrams has been doing well in mandated drug treatment court.
Cianfrini, however, indicated that Abrams tested positive for marijuana on Thursday, and at that point, asked both lawyers to approach the bench. Following a five-minute discussion – during which Rarick could be heard stating that Abrams was asked to assist in the dispute involving family members – Cianfrini rendered her decision.
“I’m not revoking the interim probation supervision, but these are serious allegations,” she said. “I am remanding you, without bail, at this point (to let the attorneys research this).”
Before being handcuffed and led out of court, Abrams pleaded with the judge to set him free as “I need to get more recordings, please.”
Abrams is scheduled to return to treatment court next Thursday – two days after a scheduled appearance in Alabama Town Court.
Outside the courtroom after adjournment, Rarick said he respected Cianfrini’s decision, “but it’s just very interesting that this allegedly occurred weeks ago and he was just recently arrested.”
“Severe allegations of an armed robbery and he threatened to kill somebody? He did go and talk to the troopers and he explained everything. There are recordings which, when we go to trial, will be brought out to find out what these motivations are.”
Rarick also said there is a co-defendant in the matter.
“We’ll have to talk to his attorney. I don’t know, I wasn’t there,” he said. “There’s a lot going on with Mr. Abrams. He had his dispensary and he had another dispensary that was burned down. His other dispensary was robbed. So, I’m going to be looking into the motivations of these people.”
Concerning the positive test for marijuana, Rarick said that he has been informed that Abrams possesses a medical marijuana card.
“This whole thing is about relations, land disputes and it’s so sad,” he said, noting that cousins are at odds with each other, “Things that are happening on the Reservation. It used to be who gets to have a fuel station and now it’s who gets to have dispensaries there – and there are dispensaries every 50 feet or so.”
Rarick said Abrams was accused of taking money from a safe.
“I do question that when there is an allegation that a gun was involved, why the troopers didn’t go out immediately -- they know where Mr. Abrams is – to find this guy,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense and I think that will come out in the trial once we get these people under a real oath versus a misdemeanor.”