Sentencing delayed for drug dealer so attorney can better explain case to him

Tarrence Williams

A Batavia man was ready for sentencing on a drug-dealing-related charge on Tuesday, but Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini decided to delay sentencing after a private discussion of a legal issue with the defendant’s attorney.

Attorney Fred Rarick indicated in court that it is in the best interest of his client, Tarrence Yuron Williams, 23, that he combines his sentencing with his possible acceptance of a plea offer in a gun-related charge.

Ironically, while Williams was ready to move forward with sentencing today, in October, Williams requested and received new legal counsel because he wanted to combine the two cases in the hopes of getting a better deal.

To recap:

  • In December 2021, Williams was arrested an charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation, and menacing in the third degree.
  • At a later date, he accepted a plea offer that satisfied all of those charges. He entered a guilty plea to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.
  • On Sept. 30, Batavia PD received a report of shots fired somewhere on Ellicott Street.  An officer pursued a suspect on the Ellicott Trail to Evans and then to Court, where the suspect eluded capture but apparently ditched a firearm in the bushes.
  • Williams was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C felony, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Williams last appeared in court on Nov. 2 for sentencing on the drug charge, but District Attorney Kevin Finnell was unexpectedly called away on other business and couldn’t appear. The case was postponed because Rarick was trying to negotiate a plea offer for his client on the weapons charge.

After a late start to his case on Tuesday, there were some financial matters to resolve.

First, Finnell wanted to incorporate into Williams’ original plea the forfeiture by Williams of $3,195 that Williams had on him at the time of his arrest in December 2021. That matter had not been properly recorded at the time of the original plea.  Williams agreed to including the forfeiture stipulation in the record of his original guilty plea.

Second, the Sheriff’s Office had requested restitution of $100 — though not discussed in court, this is typically money used by an agent of the Local Drug Task Force to make a narcotics buy — and Rarick informed the court it was his understanding that Williams had already paid restitution.  

Nobody in court had a record of the transaction, though a friend of Williams who was sitting in the gallery said he had a receipt had home for the payment.  

Cianfrini called for an adjournment while Rarick went to the Public Defender’s Office to obtain a receipt and Finnell went to his office to check records in his office.

Both came back to court a short time later and informed Cianfrini that both had found proof that restitution had been paid and the money had been remitted to the Sheriff’s Office.

At that point, Cianfrini called Rarick and Finnell to the bench.  After a lengthy private discussion, she informed Williams of her decision to continue his case so that he could have time to discuss the case further with his attorney.

She told Williams it was really in his best interest to delay sentencing.

Williams, who remains in custody, is scheduled to appear in court again at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 20.

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