The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

November 28, 2012

Daniels receives intermittent sentence for drugs

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — County Court Judge James Punch delivered a short sentence Monday to a local man who said he grew a large amount of marijuana for medical purposes.

Ray Daniels, who plead to misdemeanor criminal possession of marijuana, will serve a 60-day sentence through a once-a-week stay in the county jail and then face three years of probation. District Attorney Joe Cardone said the execution of a search warrant found a “large amount” of marijuana at his residence.

At his sentencing, Daniels said the drugs he was found to be have were solely for his personal medical use. Public Defender Sanford Church said Daniels suffers from a serious heart issue.

Punch noted the recent actions by voters and officials in several states — namely Colorado and Washington — to reduce or remove the illegality of marijuana possession and use; but said that local efforts to prosecute and prevent drug use haven’t changed.

“It creates problems when you grow marijuana,” Punch said. “We can’t chose which laws to enforce ... if you live in this state, you have to obey the law.”

Punch also said that Daniels deserves the blame for the death of his dog, who was shot during the execution of the search warrant.

“I hold you responsible,” he said.

Luann James, who was also charged as a result of the search warrant, received a sentence of 60 hours of community service. Punch said he did not see the benefit of probation or incarceration of James, citing Daniels being the “driving force” in the marijuana growing operation.

• Randy Fitzwater was sentenced to concurrent state prison terms for welfare fraud and criminal sale of controlled substances. Fitzwater received a one-year sentence for the drug charge and a one-to-three year sentence for the welfare charge.

He was also ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution back to the Orleans County Department of Social Services, which Cardone said was deserved.

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