The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

November 28, 2012

Daniels receives intermittent sentence for drugs

STAFF REPORTS
Medina Journal-Register

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.

“By receiving medications and then selling them, he cheated the welfare system,” Cardone said.

Attorney Nathan Pace, who represented Fitzwater, argued that Fitzwater would be a good candidate for probation due to his desire to do so and a “very minimal” criminal record. Punch disagreed.

• Anthony Barber, who was charged with nine other people following a February drug bust in Albion, was sentenced to one year in prison for two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

• Michael Fornaris, who plead guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance, was sentenced to one year in state prison.

• Leeanne Krull plead guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Krull said she brought hydrocodone to the jail to give to her son. She will be sentenced Feb. 4.