District Attorney

2014 Key Accomplishments

COMMUNITY EDUCATION, PUBLIC OUTREACH
AND ADVISORY POSITIONS:

            Recognizing the need to bring about positive change in the field of criminal justice and educate members of the community with respect to our legal system, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman:

      1.  Served as Chairman of Genesee County’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council.

      2.  Appeared on the WBTA “County Spotlight” radio program.

      3.  Hosted a recent law school graduate who worked in our office completing his required pro bono hours.

      4.  Served on the STOP-DWI Advisory Board, the Justice for Children Team, the Genesee Community College Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, the New York State District Attorney’s Association Executive Committee and the Crime Victims Rights Week planning committee and worked on the planning and presentation of the annual Criminal Justice Day program sponsored by the Mental Health Association in Genesee County and the annual Law Day Observance and Criminal Justice Awards Dinner.

      5.  Assistant District Attorney Robert R. Zickl served on the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence Team and Sexual Assault Task Force.

      6.  Assistant District Attorney William G. Zickl continues to act as a liaison to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on use of force issues and met members of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies (New York State Police, New York State En Con, Batavia City Police) several times in the past year to discuss use of force issues.

      7.  All of the attorneys in our office volunteer their time working with the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Competition.  District Attorney Lawrence Friedman served as the coordinator of the program.  Assistant District Attorneys Robert R. Zickl and Kevin T. Finnell served as the Attorney Advisors for the Notre Dame High School Mock Trial Team.  Assistant District Attorney William G. Zickl serves as a Judge in the local tournament.  Assistant District Attorney Melissa L. Cianfrini serves as Attorney Advisor for the Oakfield-Alabama School Team. 

      8.  One of Assistant District Attorney Cianfrini’s continuing and biggest time commitments this year was chairing the Young Victims Committee, a multi-county committee, which was formed to address the challenges and needs of prosecuting offenders of young victims.  This committee’s membership consisted of individuals with diverse backgrounds to address the needs in these special prosecutions and included members from law enforcement, DSS, CPS, JFCAC, Mental Health Care Providers, County Attorney’s Offices, and District Attorney’s Offices from the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties).  This committee is currently drafting and in the final stages of developing a Recantation Policy to assist law enforcement, DSS/CPS, District Attorney’s Offices and County Attorney’s Offices in identifying and dealing with accurate and inaccurate recantations of child abuse with child victims.  When complete, the policy will greatly assist various agencies  in the GLOW region with addressing the issues that arise in child recantation cases.    

      9.   All of the Assistant District Attorneys participated in the annual Summer College for District Attorneys sponsored by the New York Prosecutors’ Training Institute and held at the Syracuse University School of Law.

      10.  In August 1, 2014, Assistant District Attorney Robert R. Zickl was a presenter at a Law Enforcement training program regarding DMV refusal hearings.

      11. On February 21, 2014, all of the Attorneys in our office presented a training program (two sessions) at the County Courts Facility for all law enforcement officers working in Genesee County.
 

MAJOR APPELLATE CASES:

People v. Scott Doll:  In March, 2012, the defense team submitted a 78 page Brief to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the majority of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department was incorrect when it held that the emergency doctrine justified the Defendant’s detention and questioning by members of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and requesting that the Defendant be granted a new trial.  Assistant District Attorney William G. Zickl and Melissa L. Cianfrini assisted by the District Attorney’s Office administrative staff spent weeks researching, drafting and writing our 65 page  Respondent’s Brief, which was filed on January 25, 2013.

      The Appeal was argued before the Court of Appeals on September 3, 2013 in Albany with William G. Zickl appearing for the District Attorney’s Office assisted by Ms. Cianfrini.  The seven Judge panel was very active and extensively questioned both counsel for the Defendant and Mr. Zickl regarding the emergency doctrine and right to counsel issues. 

      On October 17, 2013, a unanimous Court of Appeal affirmed the Defendant’s conviction for Murder.  The Court found that the police officers responding to a 911 call located defendant walking along a public road covered in fresh, wet blood and their reasonable inquiries regarding the source of the blood were met with inconsistent responses by defendant, who refused to state whether the blood was from a human or an animal.  The Court ultimately held that under the circumstances of the case “it was reasonable for the police to believe that a person may have been seriously injured and in need of ….. emergency assistance”, thus justifying the Defendant’s questioning pursuant to the emergency doctrine even after he had invoked his right to counsel.

      The Defendant then filed a motion to reargue the case before the Court of Appeals dated November 12, 2013.  On behalf of the People, William G. Zickl submitted an Answering Affirmation opposing the Defendant’s request dated November 25, 2013.  In an Order dated January 14, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied the Defendant’s Motion for Re-argument.

      The Defendant thereafter filed a Petition for Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, requesting that the Court grant Federal review of the Defendant’s conviction.  The Genesee County District Attorney’s Office, by William G. Zickl, opposed the Petition.  In an Order dated March 24, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied Certiorari.  The Defendant remains in the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Service serving a sentence having a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison.

 People v. Jacquetta Simmons:  After the Defendant was convicted of Assault in the Second Degree, her defense team was granted a stay of her sentence pending her appeal, which resulted in her release from prison.  The defense team filed a Brief in the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, claiming among other things, that there was insufficient evidence brought forth at trial to support the conviction and that her sentence was unduly harsh and severe.  Assistant District Attorney William G. Zickl and Melissa L. Cianfrini drafted and submitted a Brief to the Fourth Department responding to the Defendant’s claims.  The matter is scheduled to be argued on December 2, 2013 in Rochester.  Earlier this year, The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, affirmed the Defendant’s conviction but reduced the sentence imposed from 5 years determinate in the Department of Corrections and Community Service to 1 year definite incarceration in the Genesee County Jail.