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Our Tax Dollars Hard at Work


04/11/2014

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced today the convictions of the following eleven defendants, most of whom committed violent felonies, were upheld on appeal by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

  • Pedro Ramos-Roman, who in 2011 was convicted of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree in connection with the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander.
  • Uda Hildago, who in 2011 was convicted of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree, in connection with the fatal shooting of his girlfriend and before the eyes of her 12 year-old son.
  • Wilmon Vincent, who in 2011 was convicted of Manslaughter in the 1st Degree in connection with the fatal shooting of a 64 year-old rooming house resident.
  • Dal Brand, who in 2011 was convicted of Assault in the 2nd Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 3rd Degree and was sentenced as a second felony offender (an aspiring career criminal) in connection with the repeated physical abuse of his girlfriend during multiple domestic violence assaults and the possession of two electronic stun guns.
  • Kyle McClain, who in 2011 was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree and was sentenced as a second violent felony offender (an aspiring career criminal) in connection with possessing drugs and a loaded and unlicensed handgun.
  • Tevin Morrow, who in 2012 was convicted of Assault in the 1st Degree, Assault in the 2nd Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree in connection with the shooting of two people, one of whom has been left with severe and permanent injuries.
  • Raymone Burts, who in 2011 was convicted of Robbery in the 2nd Degree and Attempted Robbery in the 1st Degree and sentenced as a persistent violent felony offender (a career criminal), in connection with three gunpoint robberies and the shooting of a store clerk.
  • Stephan Merritt, who in 2012 was convicted of Attempted Burglary in the 1st Degree, Robbery in the 2nd Degree, and Robbery in the 3rd Degree, and was sentenced as a persistent violent felony offender (a career criminal) in connection with a string of burglaries and armed robberies.
  • Mark Bridenbaker, who in 2012 was convicted of Reckless Assault of a Child in connection with the violent shaking and lengthy hospitalization of an eight-week old infant.
  • Anthony Brown, who in 2012 was convicted of Attempted Assault in the 2nd Degree in connection with a hammer attack and domestic violence assault upon his girlfriend, which resulted in her hospitalization.
  • Roberto Texidor, who in 2012 was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree in connection with possessing a loaded and unlicensed handgun during a domestic violence assault.

All of the foregoing convictions were the result of guilty pleas, often made in return for leniency from the court; i.e. a sentence less than the maximum. None of these defendants were innocent or the victim of a so-called “wrongful conviction.” Each and every one of these defendants admitted to their crimes in a court of law, under oath, and in the presence of his attorney.

All of the foregoing convictions were also accompanied by two appeal waivers or promises to the court that they would not appeal their convictions. The first waiver was oral, under oath, and made in the presence of defense counsel. The second waiver was in writing, signed by the defendant, and witnessed by defense counsel.

Despite having twice waived their right to appeal, all of the foregoing defendants nevertheless appealed and tried to overturn their convictions, causing the District Attorney’s Office (a publicly funded agency) to devote substantial resources to fight the appeals and uphold the convictions.

All of the above defendants were represented by lawyers who were paid for their legal representation out of public funds. In other words, taxpayers paid not only for the District Attorney’s Office to fight these appeals, but they also paid for lawyers to file these appeals, even though the defendants waived their right to appeal under oath. 

DA Sedita stated: “It is vitally important that all citizens accused of a crime, including the indigent, have competent legal representation. However, it is troubling when costly, unnecessary and frivolous appeals are repeatedly brought on behalf of career criminals and violent felons, especially when they are also being repeatedly financed by the law-abiding taxpayers of Erie County.”