BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Twenty-three-year-old Daniel Hill of Kenmore pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary in front of an Erie County Court judge Tuesday.
According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Hill and others burglarized a liquor store on Elmwood Avenue near West Utica Street during last year’s protest on May 30 at 10:34 p.m. The store’s window had been broken, but it’s not clear who did that.
DA Flynn says Hill is permitted to enter United Against Crime Community Action Network (U-CAN) ERIE as part of his plea.
Hill will be one of the first participants of the newly created diversion court program in the county.
Officials say U-CAN is a “court-monitored, anti-crime mentorship program for eligible young adult defendants who may continue to become involved in the criminal justice system without intervention.”
The DA says this program is a collaborative effort to provide mentorship and services to first-time, non-violent offenders who “may be at risk of committing a crime again in the future.”
Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan will supervise this program available to eligible defendants 18 to 25.
Flynn’s office says it will determine eligibility, along with the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo and in conjunction with the county’s Probation Department.
“The program provides individualized support and services to young defendants in an effort to change their mindset and improve their lives for the future,” the Erie County District Attorney’s Office wrote. “The overall goal is to reduce recidivism through early intervention that addresses the specific needs of the defendant through mentorship and court-monitored goals, which are intended to set the defendant on a path for a productive future in our community and reduce their likelihood of further criminal behavior.”
Under these terms, eligible defendants will have the opportunity to participate in U-CAN:
- Plead guilty to felony or misdemeanor in exchange for one year of interim probation
- Agree to meet once weekly for at least one hour with the court designated mentor
- Follow standard conditions of probation
- Obtain a high school equivalency diploma and/or maintain employment
- Abide by any treatment requirements imposed by the court
Flynn tells News 4 the court will “maintain regular contact with each defendant and require them to appear in court on a designated day each month.”
During the session, the court will speak to the defendant, their counsel, and the probation officer to get a status update.
At each monthly session, the court will discuss a relevant topic with the participants or invite guest speakers, Flynn’s office says. A representative from the office can attend all sessions.
If Hill completes the U-CAN program, he can withdraw his plea to the felony charge and instead plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense.
Hill is out on his own recognizance.