posted on March 05, 2013 14:56
The two former City of Batavia firefighters and a former employee of the NYS Veteran's Home who pleaded guilty in December to a reduced charge related to bookmaking heard their unofficial sentence today in City Court.
Judge Robert Balbick agreed with the defense that incarceration was inappropriate, so he sentenced Lance Engel, and former firefighters Brian Bordinaro and Gregory Phillips to a weekend work release program over the next 120 calendar days, as well as three years probation and a $1,000 fine each.
“The judge was certainly well within his discretion in imposing the sentence that he did," Larry Andolina, Engel's attorney said. "This is known as a ‘split sentence’ where it combines some form of community service with probation. It is all part of a probationary sentence, albeit it with a portion of it being devoted to community service at the Sheriff’s department.”
Engel approached the judge first and Judge Balbick expressed how “difficult” it was to handle this case because all seemed like “decent," “family” men, but Judge Balbick said they had made a “horrible, horrible mistake.”
“It sounds like it won’t be in jail," District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said. "It will be the weekend work detail which is in lieu of incarceration and, yes, I am satisfied with it.”
The three are due in court March 26 for the formal sentencing because there are no openings for the weekend work release program until March 30. The sentence is not expected to change.
On Dec. 11, the three Batavia men pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor charge of promoting gambling as part of a plea agreement. They were originally facing a felony charge of enterprise corruption. Evidence from the Sheriff’s Office at the time, Friedman said, suggested that the men engaged in an illegal gambling ring while the defendants were on duty.