Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 52 year-old James Cheaves pleaded guilty, as charged, to Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree, a class “E” felony, before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, Cheaves was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Cheaves is a stranger neither to the Department of Motor Vehicles nor to the court. On September 18, 2013, Cheaves was convicted of the same felony offense before the same judge. In that case, the defendant was pulled over for a traffic offense by the police, who discovered he was operating a motor vehicle despite being prohibited to do so by virtue of his 24 scofflaws and 19 previous convictions. Cheaves previous record included convictions for Driving While Ability Impaired, Operating without Insurance, Operating without a License, Operating an Unregistered Vehicle, and Using a Mobile Telephone While Driving. Cheaves privilege to operate a motor vehicle was not restored when he was sentenced to a conditional discharge on February 13, 2014.
Cheaves’ was pulled over by the police a little over a month later and again arrested for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree. Cheaves’ disdain for the law is demonstrated not only by the fact that he was again driving, but also by the fact that he resolved only 1 out of the 24 scofflaws. In other words, Cheaves’ still had 23 scofflaws when he was arrested on March 18, 2014.
Cheaves could face up to 4 years in state prison when he is sentenced on June 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM. Judge Case has, however, advised the Cheaves that he will likely receive probation for this, his second felony conviction.
Robin Deubler, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, successfully prosecuted both cases.