Niagara Gazette

Courts

September 25, 2013

Falls gangbanger gets one more delay

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Falls teen who wants to take back his guilty plea and get rid of his court-appointed lawyer has one more week to find a new lawyer.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas gave  Cornelius Redden III until Tuesday to find another lawyer or face up to eight years in prison for his guilty plea to assault, weapons and drug charges.

Redden, 18, failed to show up with a lawyer to replace his public defender during a brief court proceeding on Wednesday. He had previously told Farkas he wanted to "fire" the public defender.

In a motion, filed on the same day he took a deal from prosecutors in August, Redden asked Farkas to allow him to withdraw his plea to charges of attempted fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree assault and attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The judge had already given Redden two weeks to hire a new lawyer and to determine if that new attorney would be willing to continue with the attempt to withdraw the plea.

Redden, a known street gang member, who has a history of violence and drug-related arrests dating back to his mid-teens, had accepted the plea deal to close three pending cases against him. The attempted drug possession charge he originally agreed to was tied to an October bust that caught him with a significant quantity of crack cocaine.

The assault charge was tied to a May 10 shooting of a rival drug dealer and the weapons charge stemmed from a June 2 incident where he accidentally shot himself.

As part of the deal, Farkas agreed to sentence Redden to no more than than 7 years in prison for the assault and weapons charges and no more than one and a half years on the drug charge.

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