Modified: October 30, 2014 8:28am
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 27 year-old James Carr of the Town of Tonawanda was convicted, as charged, of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree following an 8-day jury trial of Criminal Possession in the 2nd Degree before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case.
On September 15, 2011, Buffalo Police Officers Santos Diaz and Joseph Chojnacki attempted to stop Carr’s vehicle after a moving violation. Carr refused to stop and instead fled down several city streets at a high rate of speed before eventually pulling into the driveway of his residence at 499 Norfolk Avenue in the City of Buffalo. Ignoring the officers’ repeated demands to stop and return to his vehicle, Carr tried to go into his house but was taken into custody before he could do so. The reason for Carr’s flight became immediately apparent: an unlicensed and fully loaded .357 Magnum revolver was recovered from the floor of his vehicle, right next to the drivers’ seat. Subsequent DNA testing confirmed that Carr’s genetic profile was on the illegal handgun.
At trial, Carr testified that an alleged acquaintance and recent passenger, purportedly named “BZ,” must have left the gun in the vehicle. Carr could offer no further information regarding the phantom and itinerant gun-toting “BZ” who, for some unknown reason, forgot to take his .357 magnum with him when he departed the defendant’s company.
Carr’s attorney, Mark Sacha made the following claims: (1) the police officers lied about the moving violation that led to the chase (2) the police lied about the defendant’s flight (3) the police were incompetent because they could not find the imaginary culprit, “BZ” (4) assuming the defendant possessed the gun, it was merely temporary and lawful (5) the defendant was a good father and (6) Judge Case’s trial rulings, “allow all this corruption to go on.”
Carr faces a maximum term of 15 years in state prison when sentenced by Judge Case on December 8, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brian P. McNamara, Chief of DA Sedita’s Justice Courts Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michael D. Smith, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.