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May 2, 2019 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law day, GCC, Gary Craig, news, notify.

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While everybody has their own view of what justice looks like, Gary Craig, an investigative reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle recalled a 20-year-old story at Genesee Community College on Wednesday night that illustrated what justice looks like to him.

Craig was the keynote speaker for the Paralegal Honor Society at their second annual Law Day observance.

The theme of Law Day this year is "Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society" and but Craig said he wanted to talk about justice.

He recalled the case of Betty Tyson, who was wrongfully convicted in the 1973 of murder. 

A traveling businessman visiting Rochester had been killed and police investigators decided Tyson did it.

Tyson always maintained that her confusion had been beat out of her. Two witnesses, cross-dressing teens, testified against her and said they witnessed the murder. There was no physical evidence. In fact, tire tracks at the scene did not match Tyson's car.

The investigator was eventually convicted in another case of beating a suspect.

In 1996, a source pointed Craig to one of the young men who had testified against Tyson. Over several months, Craig won the man's trust and the man eventually admitted, for publication, that he lied on the stand.

During his investigation, Craig also found a sworn statement by a visiting nurse that hadn't previously been made public. The nurse had visited Tyson shortly after her arrest and reported that she was covered with cuts and bruises.

An attorney, Jon Getz, read Craig's stories and agreed to represent Tyson at no charge to the family (after, Craig said, several other attorneys had taken advantage of the Tyson family). He filed a motion to overturn the conviction based on new evidence.

During preparation for the case, the District Attorney's office found a previously undisclosed statement from the other teen witness taken immediately after the murder. That teen, who was dead by 1996, said initially, that he saw nothing. In 1973, that statement hadn't even been disclosed to the prosecutor. The teen, of course, later changed his testimony, and apparently because he had been intimidated, as a cross-dressing teen in the 1970s, by the investigator.

This was a high-profile, politically charged case, Craig said. The DA, the judge, all had ample reason to not share the new discovery with the defense. The judge could easily have ruled differently. 

He didn't.

Craig was in court when the judge handed down his decision.

"I get emotional talking because I have such respect for the system," Craig said. "In that moment, in that courtroom, I literally had chills because I felt that I was watching this pure definition of justice, unadulterated justice right in front of me, where everybody was seeking to do what they should do, what you would hope they would do all the time, and most people do.

"But there was this harmonic convergence, to use an old term, in that courtroom where I felt in my heart that, 'wow, you know I'm really beholding something. I'm watching something special right now.' "

Craig is author of the 2017 book "Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink's Heist."

May 1, 2019 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in First Amendment, news, GCC, law day, free press.

Photo and press release from GCC:

Along with thousands of programs across the United States, Genesee Community College will recognize National Law Day tonight with an Alumni and Friends Reception with keynote speaker Rochester investigative reporter Gary Craig.

There will also be an Honor Society Induction Ceremony into the Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) Chapter of two GCC students.

National Law Day, celebrated annually on May 1, is designed to shed light on how laws protect liberties and the process by which the legal system strives to achieve justice.

Every year since 1958 the President of the United States has issued a Law Day Proclamation recognizing the importance of the rule of the law. This year’s theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society."

The reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the GCC William W. Stuart Forum. The public is welcome. It is free to attend.

Keynote speaker Craig is a member of the Democrat and Chronicle’s Watchdog team, and he focuses on public safety and criminal justice.

He has worked at Rochester newspapers since 1990, covering City Hall, politics and federal courts before joining the newspaper’s investigative team. He has won state and national investigative writing awards.

He is married with two daughters.

Craig is also the author of the 2017 book, "Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink's Heist." His book is available on Amazon.

Two members from the graduating Class of 2019 will be inducted into GCC's chapter of the Lambda Chi (LEX) Honor Society, newly chartered at the college in 2018.They are Briona Siplin, of Rochester, and Arden M. Zavitz, of Medina. Membership in the Honor Society requires a 3.25 overall GPA and a 3.5 GPA specifically for Legal Specialty Courses.

April 26, 2019 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, bataia, law day, news.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosted their annual Law Day dinner on Thursday night at the Batavia Country Club and presented criminal justice awards to Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell, Sheriff's Office Investigator Chad Minuto, Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, and Le Roy Police Officer Greg Kellogg.

The theme of the Law Day event this year is "Freedom of the Press and Free Speech" so local author Bill Kauffman was the keynote speaker.

"Like most writers, I'm more or less a First Amendment absolutist in favor of the widest possible freedom of speech expression," Kauffman said.

The greatest threat to free speech these days come not from government, Kauffman said, but from big tech companies and social pressure to conform.

"There are tremendous career and social pressures to toe the line," Kauffman said. "To go along with whatever the politically correct fad of the moment is, to keep your mouth shut. Well, it's our birthright and our obligation to defy these pressures, to reject these censors and say what we think."

In small towns, such as we find in Genesee County, however, where we know each other so much better, there is greater freedom.

"I really think the possibilities of freedom are greater here in a place like this than in a big city," Kauffman said. "I'm not just saying that it's cheap boosterism or a kickback from the Chamber of Commerce. Our small or modest size is a real advantage.

"Life is lived here on a human scale, not a mass impersonal scale. We can actually know each other. If we so choose. We don't need to snipe at one another anonymously over the Internet. We can do so face to face. But the funny thing is we don't do so face to face."

Before a crowd of mostly police officers, judges, and prosecutors, Kauffman said life lived at this scale also gives them advantages not enjoyed by their big-city counterparts.

"(It is in) the intricate network of relationships in which freedom of speech becomes meaningful," Kauffman said. "Not just hot and angry air is possible here and we really are blessed. I'm not saying kids who grew up in small communities are any better than kids who grow up elsewhere.

"There's a lot of hell-raisers, as the police officers and sheriff's deputies present tonight can testify, but maybe at least we understand the back story to these hell-raisers and that makes a difference."

Top Photo: Kevin Finnell receiving his award from Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, Chief Deputy Brian Frieday, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, and Kiwanis President Mark Lewis.

Press release about the awards:

Kiwanis Club President Mark Lewis and Genesee County Bar Association President Tom Williams will be announcing the awards during an annual dinner held at Batavia Country Club on Thursday, April 25. The speaker at the dinner was local author Bill Kauffman.

Kiwanis Criminal Justice Award

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

The 2019 Award Recipients are:

Assistant District Attorney Kevin T. Finnell

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell's diligent prosecution of violators pertaining to driving while intoxicated and related offenses has shown he is sincerely dedicated to the safety and welfare of the citizens of Genesee County. Mr. Finnell's knowledge of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the full 12-step Drug Recognition Evaluation, as well as the internal and external functions of the Datamaster DMT chemical test, is a remarkable asset to the Genesee County Law Enforcement community. Mr. Finnell continually strives to develop the skills needed to successfully prosecute DWI and DWAI drug cases whether through training or educating law enforcement officers on current case law. Whenever he is involved in a hearing or a trial, he is totally prepared and our community is very fortunate that Mr. Finnell represents the People of Genesee County. Kevin Finnell was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. and Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur.

Investigator Chad J. Minuto, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office

Investigator Chad J. Minuto began his career with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office in March of 1999, when he was hired at the Genesee County Jail as a Correction Officer. He worked as a Correction Officer for two years and was then hired by the Genesee County Probation Department as a Probation Officer.

Investigator Minuto returned to the Sheriff's Office in March 2005, and began his service as a Deputy Sheriff. His work ethic and abilities led to his selection as a Field Training Officer. Minuto was promoted to the rank of Investigator in September of 2015, and has proved to be an invaluable asset to the Criminal Investigation Division of the Sheriff's Office. Investigator Minuto performs all his duties to a very high standard. This is clearly demonstrated in the thoroughness of his investigations which has led to a very high rate of resolution of cases he investigates. Investigator Minuto’s attention to detail is truly evident as he is responsible for the integrity of the evidence room where he inventories, preserves and maintains all evidence collected by the Sheriff’s Office. His meticulous work in the evidence room is vital to the criminal justice process.

Investigator Minuto also serves as a Physical Fitness Instructor, a Firearms Instructor, and is a member of the Emergency Response Team. During his career, he has been recognized with awards at the Sheriff’s Office including a DWI recognition award, Commendation Award and Officer of the Year. Throughout his law enforcement career, Investigator Minuto has proven to be a true asset to the community and to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Investigator Minuto was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. and Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur.

Officer Jason Davis, City of Batavia Police Department

Police Officer Jason Davis has been an integral part of the City of Batavia Police Department since being hired in 1999. He has consistently gone above and beyond in the many roles that he holds in the Department. Jason is a Field Training Officer, Drug Recognition Expert, General Topics Instructor, De-Escalation Instructor, Crisis Intervention Team Officer, is a past member of the Emergency Response Team and member of several Departmental Committees.

Officer Davis has been recognized for his work with DWI enforcement, his de-escalation techniques and dealing compassionately with vulnerable members of our community. Jason is looked up to by his peers and is one of the "go to" officers when an issue needs to be addressed. He tackles problems head on and ensures a positive resolution. Jason started his career in 1997 as a Deputy Sheriff for the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department; he also worked part-time as a police officer for the Village of Ellicottville until transferring to the City of Batavia. Jason has also been a Pack Leader for Cub Scout Pack #650. Officer Davis was nominated for this award by City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Officer Gregory S. Kellogg, Village of Le Roy Police Department

Since coming to the Le Roy Police Department in January 2016, Officer Kellogg has continually worked to build community partnerships with the Le Roy School District, the Rotary Early Act Program and the Boy Scouts. Officer Kellogg has also worked at the Perry Police Department and Attica Police Department, where he received the Distinguished Service Award in 2017. He is compassionate, committed, dependable, and willing to step up and perform his duties at all times. In January 2018, Officer Kellogg received a letter of commendation for performing CPR for an extended period of time on a victim, which the family directly attributed his actions to saving the victim’s life.

Officer Kellogg coordinated and implemented the “Stuff the Cruiser” program in conjunction with Early Act, which resulted in cash and gift card donations as well as nearly 3,000 nonperishable food donations that filled five police-cruisers. Greg has a "Coffee with a Cop" mentality frequently going to local restaurants to share time with residents, joking with them, sharing stories but, more importantly, listening to their concerns.

He is actively involved coordinating and implementing the department’s “Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Event” training program which has been presented to several community members, local businesses and churches. He is a general topics instructor, firearms instructor, field training officer, accreditation manager, and Taser instructor.

Officer Kellogg is also employed at Six Flags Darien Lake Theme Park as a Police Supervisor, overseeing approximately 30 police officers, and is responsible for all security training. His daily conscientiousness to citizenship and a spirit of selfless public service are a model that young officers in the Le Roy Police Department try to emulate. Officer Kellogg was nominated for this award by Village of Le Roy Police Chief Christopher K. Hayward.

Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award

The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Batavia High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2019 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament. The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen." Mr. Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death 12 years ago.

The Batavia High School team members honored at the dinner include: Sophie Beckman, Brianna Bromley, Charles Burton, Eryn Dunn, Kathleen Folger, Tate Fonda, Ariana Frias, Dallas Lama, Amari McNair, Natalie Rogers, Corinne Saluste, Julia Spiotta, Teacher-Coach Theresa Traver, and Attorney Advisor Ethan Kraybill. Coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program, Kristie DeFreze, presented the award.

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Bill Kauffman

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Chad Minuto receiving his award.

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Officer Jason Davis with Chaplain Green, Chief Shawn Heubusch, Councilwoman Patti Pacino, and City Manager Martin Moore.

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Officer Greg Kellogg and Detective John Condidorio.

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Some of the members of the Batavia High School Mock Trial Team.

April 27, 2018 - 3:57pm

Press release:

The recipients of the 2018 Law Day Observance & Criminal Justice Awards were announced at an annual dinner held at Batavia Country Club on Thursday, April 26.

Kiwanis Club President Matt Landers and Genesee County Bar Association President Peter Casey announced the honorees. The speaker at the dinner was the Honorable John Curran, Supreme Court Justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

Kiwanis Criminal Justice Award

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

The 2018 Award Recipients are:

Sergeant Bradley D. Mazur, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office

Sergeant Mazur started his career with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 31, 1999, as a Deputy Sheriff assigned to the Road Patrol. As a Sergeant, Mazur's primary assignment is to supervise the counties local drug task force.

In his first year supervising the Task Force, they investigated a record number of cases since the Task Force was formed in 1989, for the sale and distribution of illegal drugs within Genesee County. These tireless investigations resulted in several arrests against those who use and sell drugs on the streets and neighborhoods of Genesee County.

Mazur, with his work in the Task Force, has proven to be a valuable source of information that assists in the apprehension and conviction of individuals involved in other felony crimes within Genesee County to include attempted murder, robbery, burglary and assaults.

He was also a Field Training Officer (FTO) in the Sheriff's Office, which is a valuable position that helps train our newest Deputies as they are coming out of the academy and learning how to handle calls for service. Many officers look to Mazur for guidance when dealing with difficult cases, especially when the cases involve drugs. With Sergeant Mazur's guidance, the Drug Task Force is already looking to have another banner year.

In 2002, Sergeant Mazur received the "Officer of the Year" Award and has received two Commendation Awards. Sergeant Mazur is most deserving of this award and recognition for his dedication and hard work toward protecting the citizens in Genesee County as a Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy. Sergeant Mazur was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

Sergeant Daniel J. Coffey, Batavia Police Department

Sergeant Coffey has been instrumental in creating quality law enforcement training for the City of Batavia Police Department and other agencies in the County. He is a general topics instructor, firearms instructor, taser instructor and chemical breath test instructor. He has developed or helped develop training protocols throughout the county that have ensured law enforcement officers are trained to the highest standard possible.

Coffey continues to improve himself as a trainer and police officer regulary attending training symposiums and leadership schools. Not only has Sgt. Coffey been an asset to the City of Batavia as a police officer but he also spends a lot of his "free time" volunteering for the Town of Batavia Fire Department and is an instructor for Genesee County Emergency Management.

He exemplifies what a public servant is and for that he should be recognized. Sergeant Coffey was nominated for this award by Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award -- Oakfield-Alabama High School Mock Trial Team

The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Oakfield-Alabama High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2018 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament.

The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen." Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death 11 years ago.

The Oakfield-Alabama High School team members honored at the dinner include: Logan Cadieux, Noah Gray, Ryan Manges, Justina Pruski, Aiden Cornelius, John Igoe Jr., Nick Munger, Alison Woodward, Colin Graham, Dylan Maier, Derek Pruski, Josiah Yantz, Coach Peter Beuler, and Attorney Advisor Melissa Cianfrini.

Coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program Kristie DeFreze and Genesee County Bar Association President Peter Casey presented the award.

April 28, 2017 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in law day, Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

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Ray Cianfrini, recipient of Distinguished Service Award from the Genesee County Bar Association.

Press release:

Kiwanis Club President Jocelyn Sikorski and Genesee County Bar Association President Peter Casey announced the awards during an annual dinner held at Batavia Country Club on Thursday, April 27. The speaker at the dinner was Lewis R. Robinson, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office.

Kiwanis Criminal Justice Award

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

THE 2017 AWARD RECIPIENTS ARE:
Investigator Ronald “Pete” G. Welker, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office
Ronald “Pete” Welker started his career with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on May 11, 1994, as a Correction Officer.  He was promoted to Deputy Sheriff on Feb. 3, 1996, and then promoted to the rank of Investigator on April 1, 2000. As an Investigator, Pete has been assigned to the Local Drug Task Force where he has tirelessly conducted investigations into the sale and distribution of drugs throughout Genesee County and effected arrests against those who use and sell illegal drugs. Due to the nexus between drugs and crime, Investigator Welker has also proven himself to be an extremely valuable information resource for perpetrator identification that has resulted in the apprehension of criminals for felony crimes such as robbery, burglary, attempted murder, and assault. During his 22-plus years as a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Welker has received numerous letters of appreciation from the public. In 2009, Pete received the “Deputy of the Year Award” by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and is also the recipient of four Commendation Awards and two Meritorious Awards. Investigator Welker was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

Court Attorney William G. Zickl, Genesee County Court
Prior to assuming his current position as the Court Attorney for the Genesee County Court on Jan. 1, 2017, William G. Zickl devoted 29 years of service to the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office, the local Law Enforcement Community and the citizens of Genesee County. Zickl prosecuted hundreds of cases and represented the People of the State of New York in numerous appeals and post-judgment applications. He represented the District Attorney’s Office in all violation of probation cases in the Genesee County Court and in various treatment courts, prosecuted firearms cases, and provided legal counsel to the DA’s Office. He handled the County’s pistol permit revocation/suspension proceedings for a number of years, worked closely with the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, and prepared search warrants 24 hours a day, seven days a week when needed. In addition, he also found the time to volunteer many hours as an attorney-advisor and as a judge in the NYS Bar Association’s High School Mock Trial Tournament, addressed various community groups on the topics of firearms and use-of-force laws, participated in several in-service law enforcement training programs and also organized and participated in mock trials for police officers through the Rural Police Training Institute based at Genesee Community College. Court Attorney William Zickl was nominated for this award by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

Officers Marc Lawrence and Matthew Wojtaszczyk, Batavia Police Department
Officers Lawrence and Wojtaszczyk were integral in creating the first ever Batavia Police Department Explorer Post. Both officers identified a need to get younger people involved in policing at an early age. They spent countless hours of their own time researching what an Explorer Post is and what the benefits to, not only the individual involved but also the benefits to the agency and community are. Marc and Matt reached out to the Boy Scouts of America to form a partnership and to guide the process along. They completed several recruitment drives in conjunction with the Batavia City School District, spending many hours speaking with youth in the community about the benefits of the Explorer Program and police work in general. Their efforts finally came to fruition on Jan. 25 with the first meeting of the Batavia Police Department Explorer Post #2017. The first class consists of approximately 15 youths, ages 14 to 18 years old, who have demonstrated an interest in law enforcement or a related field. This program will help to foster good relationships between law enforcement and the community and will serve as a model to other departments looking to begin such a program. Officers Marc Lawrence and Matthew Wojtaszczyk were nominated for this award by Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award
The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Pembroke High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2017 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament. The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen,” Charles Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death ten years ago. The Pembroke High School team members honored at the dinner include: Seth R. Librock, Rachel J. Tebor, Tyler Indiana Wood, Kassandra E. Sanner, Eli J. Fox, Aiden J. Costich, Matthew K. Reeb, Bethany M. Zwolinski, Sophia R. Zwolinski, Theodore O. Pintabona, Coach Paul L. Schuler Jr., and attorney-advisors Mary Ann Wiater and David Saleh. Coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program, Kristie DeFreze, and Genesee County Bar Association President Peter Casey presented the award.

Genesee County Bar Association DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

Raymond Cianfrini

Genesee County Clerk Michael Cianfrini made a special presentation to Raymond Cianfrini on behalf of the Genesee County Bar Association. Attorney Raymond F. Cianfrini will retire May 1 after a distinguished 45-year career practicing law in Oakfield. A graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School, and later a member of its Hall of Fame, he went on to college and was drafted after completing his first year of law school and served our country in the Army from 1968-1970. Cianfrini started out as a young lawyer in 1972, first working with Oakfield attorney Albert Avery. During his tenure thereafter, he has served as an Assistant County Attorney and Assistant District Attorney. However, his devotion to his Oakfield law practice and clients is undoubtedly the hallmark of his legal career. His service and dedication to the community have likewise been exemplary. He was elected to, and has held positions as, OACS School Board Member, Village Trustee, Mayor of the Village of Oakfield from 2000-2007, and County Legislator from 2008 until the present time. He has been chairman of the Genesee County Legislature since 2014. Cianfrini has also contributed countless hours to the Oakfield Historical Society, Oakfield Betterment Committee, Oakfield youth sports, and other local nonprofit groups. He and his wife, Karen, raised their three children, Christy, Mike, and Steve in Oakfield. Together, they remain devoted to their children and grandchildren. The Genesee County Bar Association is honored to present Raymond F. Cianfrini, member and past president, with the award for Distinguished Service to the legal community.

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William Zickl

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Keynote Speaker Lewis Robinson, with the Secret Service. Robinson spoke about the history of the agency and its activities since its founding and how it operates today. 

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Batavia PD: Assistant Chief Todd Crossett, officers Matthew Wojtaszczyk and Marc Lawrence, and Chief Shawn Heubusch.

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Genesee County Sheriff's Office: Sheriff William Sheron, Investigator Pete Welker, Undersheriff Greg Walker, and Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster

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Pembroke's winning mock trial team.

April 27, 2017 - 12:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in GC Youth Court, law day, news, Announcements, batavia.

Press release:

Calling all eighth-11th graders in Genesee County and any other individuals interested in Youth Court! On May 2, Genesee County Youth Court will be celebrating Law Day from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Old Court House (7 Main St., Batavia) to show the community how our court operates.

Applications and brochures will be available along with program staff to answer questions for anyone who is interested in joining.

Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement. Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers. There are three youth judges who listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition.  The goal of youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior. 

Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement, group decision making and develop their public speaking skills, participate in a great leadership opportunity, and learn and participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense, and bailiff. 

Eighth-11th graders who are interested can attend Law Day on May 2 or go online to download an application from the Genesee County website www.co.genesee.ny.us , where you will find a link on the Youth Bureau page. Applications are due by July 28. Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August with the training to begin in October. 

For more information on the Genesee County Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Elliott at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

April 29, 2016 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county youth bureau, law day, news.

Press release:

Calling all eighth- though 11th-graders in Genesee County and any other individuals interested in Youth Court! On Tuesday, May 3, Genesee County Youth Court will be celebrating Law Day from 5:30-6:30 p.m. to show the community how our court operates.

Applications and brochures will be available along with program staff to answer questions for anyone who is interested in joining.

Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement. Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers. There are three youth judges who listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition. The goal of youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior.

Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement, group decision making and they get to develop their public speaking skills, participate in a great leadership opportunity, and learn and participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense, and bailiff. 

Eighth- though 11th-graders who are interested can attend Law Day on May 3 or go online to download an application from the Genesee County Web site www.co.genesee.ny.us, where you will find a link on the Youth Bureau page. Applications are due by July 29. Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August with the training to begin in October. 

For more information on the Genesee County Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Dillon at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

May 1, 2015 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kiwanis, Genesee County Bar Association, law day.

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia and the Genesee County Bar Association hosted their annual Law Day Criminal Justice Awards dinner at Batavia Country Club on Thursday evening.

Among the winners, Det. Kevin Czora and Det. Richard Schauf, Batavia PD, for their work in the successful apprehension and conviction of child molester Sean Vickers. Vickers received more than 100 years in prison as a result of the work of the two detectives, who also assisted the victims in the case. 

Other awards went to:

William Zipfel, jail superintendent, for his more than 32 years of service in law enforcement and what Undersheriff Bill Sheron said is the outstanding work he's done as head of the Genesee County Jail.

Susan Gagne, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Genesee County, for the services she provides to the criminal justice community. Her efforts have assisted in criminal justice professionals gaining knowledge of people dealing with mental illness. She's also helped arrange events and speakers that have raised awareness and knowledge of mental health and criminal behavior.

The Batavia High School Mock Trial Team received the Charles L. Mancuso Award for winning this year's competition.

Judge Robert C. Noonan, who is likely to retire within the next year, received an exceptional jurist award. A graduate of Batavia HS, Noonan attended St. Lawrence University and Fordham Law School. He worked in the District Attorney's Office for 19 years, eventually becoming District Attorney. He was elected to the bench in 1996. The award recognized his years of dedicated service to the community and his "great intelligence, fairness and knowledge of the law" while working as a jurist.

Judge Michael DelPlato, who has retired as a City Court justice. A graduate of Notre Dame High School, he attended Canisius College and SUNY Buffalo School of Law. He's been practicing law since 1973. He's been a teacher in Alexander and substitute with Batavia City Schools. He's been a director and president of the Bar Association. He served as a City Court judge from 2003 to 2015. He was honored for his lifelong commitment to the people of Genesee County.

Deputy Brian Thompson was honored by GCASA for exceptional service for his work with the DWI/Victim Impact Panel. On a monthly basis, Thompson meets with panel members to discuss his own experience as a victim of a drunken driver. He also helps keep panel gatherings civil and respectful. 

Batavia High School Mock Trial Team

Judge Robert C. Noonan

To purchase prints, click here.

May 2, 2014 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law day, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

At the annual Kiwanis Club Law Day Dinner Thursday night at Terry Hills, Deputy Joseph Corona was among those in the local criminal justice community who were honored for their work. Corona received the Exceptional Service Award from GCASA. In 2013, Corona, who joined the Sheriff's Office in 2012, had the highest number of DWI arrests in the county. 

Also honored were Chief Deputy Jerome E. Brewster, Batavia Police Officer Kevin M. DeFelice, Theresa Asmus-Roth, Area Supervisor at RESTORE, the Justice for Children Advocacy Center (the first time an organization has been honored), District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, former Public Defender Gary Horton and the Byron-Bergen High School Mock Trial Team.

The keynote speaker (pictured below) was Michelle Y. Spahn, resident agent-in-charge for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration office in Buffalo.

Press release with details of the awards after the jump.

April 26, 2013 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, law day, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosted its annual Law Day Dinner and honored six individuals for their outstanding career achievements in law and law enforcement.

Family Court Judge Eric Adams, above, was the keynote speaker.

Here are the honorees and information about their accomplishments as provided by the Kiwanis Club.

Gary A. Graber - Town Justice, Darien, New York
Judge Graber has been the Town Justice of Darien for the past 33 years, the longest presently sitting Justice in Genesee County. He has been a life member of the Darien Center Chemical Fire Department for 38 years, 10 years on the Board of Directors including two years as chairman. He also served as Darien Town constable prior to being elected town justice. Judge Graber has been an outstanding and recognized leader in the area of criminal justice in Genesee County, New York State and nationally.  He most recently was elected as president of the New York State Magistrates Association for 2012-2013 and has been a member of several committees and associations. Judge Graber was nominated for this award by retired Town of Bethany Justice Edgar J. Hollwedel.

Nicole Desmond – Treatment Court Coordinator, Batavia City Court
Nicole Desmond has had a substantial and significant impact on the criminal justice system in Genesee County.  She was hired in June of 2004 as a therapist with the Genesee County Mental Health Clinic and was assigned responsibility for Court Evaluations and the mental health needs of the inmates housed in the Genesee County Jail. In 2008, Ms. Desmond became the Drug Court coordinator, working out of Batavia City Court. She established weekend DWI testing protocols and worked along with several professionals and organizations to establish the Mental Health Court and the Veterans Track. Ms. Desmond has distinguished herself as a knowledgeable, passionate and hard-working professional dedicated to identifying gaps in systems and helping to facilitate humanistic programs to effect positive change. She was nominated for this award by Genesee County Jail Superintendent Ed Minardo.

Eugene A. Jankowski – Retired Lieutenant, City of Batavia Police Department
Eugene A. Jankowski served as the commander of the Batavia Police Department’s Emergency Response Team since its inception in 1994 until his retirement in 2013. He oversaw and organized the establishment of the team, sought out experts in the field, fostered relationships and arranged for the team’s training. Mr. Jankowski has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and devotion to ensure that the team receives the proper training in up-to-date tactics and the best equipment, ensuring the safety of the team’s members and the success of the missions performed. Mr. Jankowski also was instrumental in the transition of the team from being solely a Batavia Police Department team to one that also incorporates members from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, enabling the team to provide services to all of Genesee County. Mr. Jankowski was nominated for this award by Batavia Police Detective Sergeant Patrick J. Corona.

Robert C. Noonan – Genesee County Judge, Genesee County Court
Robert C. Noonan is currently Genesee County Judge and has been since first elected in 1997.  He also serves as an acting Justice of the Genesee County Supreme Court. Judge Noonan served as Genesee County District Attorney from 1988 to 1996 and served as First Assistant District Attorney from 1980 to 1987. He attended St. Lawrence University and obtained a law degree from Fordham University Law School in 1975. Judge Noonan is former chair of the New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Procedures for Judicial Discipline and is past president of the County Court Judges’ Association of the State of New York. Judge Noonan has been a leader in criminal justice for several years and is well respected by his peers and members of the criminal justice system. Judge Noonan was nominated for this award by Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha.

Sandy Wojtaszczyk – Child Protective Services Supervisor, Genesee County Department of Social Services
Sandy Wojtaszczyk began her employment with the Genesee County Department of Social Services in 1998 as an aide for Adult Services, was promoted in 2000 to caseworker and then to supervisor in 2009. She supervises a staff of eight full-time caseworkers who oversee 1,000 suspected cases of child abuse, neglect and/or maltreatment each year in the Genesee County area. Sandy is also responsible for the on-call system 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. She volunteers to supervise student interns from various local colleges that wish to obtain practical experience in the field of child welfare. Sandy has served on several teams and panels in the community and continuously volunteers at the Salvation Army during the holidays and for the women’s auxiliary at the Elba Fire Department. Ms. Wojtaszczyk is an efficient, effective, and respected supervisor that has served her community and county in many capacities in a humble, modest and respectful manner. Ms. Wojtaszczyk was nominated for this award by New York State Police Investigator Andre Dunlap.

Thomas A. Graham – Town Justice, Oakfield, New York
Judge Graham has been the Town Justice for Oakfield since 2006. He is the treasurer for the Genesee County Magistrates’ Association and is also responsible for coordinating training for the group. Previously, Judge Graham was employed as a sargeant with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and after serving 20 years, retired in 2005. During his tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, Judge Graham oversaw the Dispatch Center and its transition to the 800-megahertz radio system. Judge Graham is involved in educating the youth in Oakfield by allowing Boy Scout Troops and students to attend his court sessions and then stays after to answer questions and explain court procedures. In his role as Town Justice, Judge Graham has earned the respect of other judges and attorneys in the County by portraying a professional and fair attitude. Judge Graham was nominated for this award by fellow Oakfield Town Justice and Retired Batavia Police Chief Randy Baker.

CHARLES L. MANCUSO AWARD
The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Batavia High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2013 GLOWS (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming and Steuben counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament.  The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen”, Mr. Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death seven years ago. The Batavia High School team members honored at the dinner include: Attorneys: Kaitlin Logsdon, Trey Abdella, McKenzie Stevens, Matthew Gabriele, Bryce Rogers, Beth Bennion, Rebecca Canale, Danielle Quinn. Witnesses: Brandon Smart,
Dylan Beckman, Samir Jain, Eric DiLaura, Katie Kesler, Cara Ranalli, Alex Mott, Adam Weaver, Chelsea Jensen.

Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, who serves as coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program, and Genesee County Bar Association President Mary Kay Yanik presented the award.

Eugene Jankowski

Sheriff Gary Maha and Judge Robert C. Noonan

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

May 2, 2012 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, law day.

U.S. Attorney for WNY William Hochul spoke to a room of mostly college students this morning at Genesee Community College's Law Day lecture series.

Among the topics covered by Hochul were rules of evidence and what it takes for a prosecutor's conviction to survive a successful appeal.

Earlier in the morning, Genesee County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan spoke.

April 27, 2012 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Kiwanis, law day, bar association.

The Batavia Kiwanis Club and the Genesee County Bar Association held their annual Law Day dinner at Bohn's Restaurant on Wednesday night.

Deputy Brian Thompson (top photo) received the Kathy Seymore Volunteer Service Award.

Winners of Criminal Justice Awards were: Andre R. Dunlap, investigator, New York State Police Troop “A”; David E. Gann, retired from the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office (second photo); Edward M. Minardo, currently jail superintendent; Michael A. Messina, chief of police, Buffalo/Batavia Veterans Administration Police Forces, and Colleen M. Marve, coordinator, Justice for Children Advocacy Center.

The Pembroke High School Mock Trial Team was honored for winning the regional championship (third photo).

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

After the jump (click on the headline), the press release for the awards:

Press release:

April 29, 2011 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcement, kiwanis club of batavia, law day.

Members of the Genesee County legal community gathered at Bohn's Restaurant on Thursday evening for the Law Day Observance & Law Enforcement Recognition Dinner.

Above, Deputy Ron Meides receives an award from Sheriff Gary Maha while District Attorney Lawrence Friedman looks on. Second photo, Investigator Leo Hunter accepts an award from State Police. Presenting the award, left, was Lt. John Aqualina of the NYSP.

 

Officer Emily Clark, Le Roy PD, received an award.

 

The four law enforcement award winners, Meides, Clark, Batavia PD Det. Paul Caffo and Hunter.

The Batavia High School Mock Trial Team, winners of the local competition for the ninth straight year. On the team (though not in picture order, nor are all members pictured): Will Ely, Chad Luce, Jenna Bauer, Evan Sutherland, Patrick Flynn, Maura Chmielowiec, Mckenzie Stevens, Zeke Lynn, Eva Reda-Kendrick, Nate Kabel, Matt Gabrielle, Taylor Sanders, Katlin Logsdon, Kaitlynn Walker and Trey Abdella. The teacher coach, back row, left, is Brandon Ricci, and the attorney coach, back row, right, is Billy Tedford.

Pastor Philip Green, center, with Sheriff Maha and Undersheriff Bill Sheron, also received a special recognition award for his work with the department. Green was the 2011 National Sheriff's Association "Chaplain of the Year."

Sarah Palermo was honored by GCASA for her anti-DWI contributions.

UPDATE: To purchase pictures, click here.

Full press release for the law enforcement awards after the jump:

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