LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The man who successfully appealed convictions from a 2014 trial is preparing for round two in County Court.
Buza and his defense attorney since the beginning, Dan Magill, appeared in County Court Tuesday to declare their intent to have the case scheduled for a jury trial.
The Livingston County District Attorney’s Office offered Buza 5 years on probation plus court fees and fines if he pleads guilty. He declined.
They are scheduled to return to Livingston County Court at a later date for pre-trial motions.
In October 2014, County Court Judge Robert Wiggins found Byron Buza, 34, guilty at a bench trial of felony Criminal Possession of Marihuana in the Second Degree and misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree and sentenced him to 4 months of weekends at the Livingston County Jail with work release, 5 years of probation, a 6-month license suspension and court fines and surcharges. More than two years later, a three-to-two decision by the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department overturned both of those convictions and restored Buza’s presumption of innocence.
The Appellate Division’s decision to overturn the conviction was based on an obscure but significant procedural error during the 2014 trial.
At that trial, the DA’s Office (the People) sought to prove that Buza lived at a residence where police found approximately six pounds of marijuana and a quantity of psychoactive mushrooms. To do this, the DA’s Office introduced as evidence both a document by which Buza consented to a search of the residence and an admission that Buza allegedly made to police. All of the Appellate Judges on the panel, including two who thought that the conviction should still stand, agreed that the DA’s Office did not give proper notice that they intended to use the admission at trial.
Continue to follow the GeneseeSun.com as this case develops.