Niagara Gazette

January 2, 2013

Former Somerset justice pleads guilty

BY JOE OLENICK
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A former Somerset town justice is facing up to two years in Niagara County Jail after pleading guilty Wednesday to child endangerment and criminal contempt charges.

Jeffrey P. Wick, 38, admitted to endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree criminal contempt. He appeared before Judge Sara S. Farkas in Niagara County Court.

Wick returns March 6 for sentencing.

The plea deal calls for Wick to waive his right to appeal. Farkas said the sentencing could include mental health court in Lockport City Court if Wick is accepted and enters the program. Wick will be screened for mental health court prior to his sentencing in March.

Wick told Farkas he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during the summer. He is receiving treatment.

Patrick Balkin, Wick's attorney, asked for removal of the an electronic ankle bracelet Wick is wearing. Farkas said no, but Wick would be allowed to go to work. His probation officer would just have to be notified, the judge said.

"It can be modified during the hours of employment," Farkas said. "As long as they know where he is."

New York State Police reported in June Wick had pressed down on the accelerator as his son was driving on Route 31 in Cambria. A collision was avoided when the 16-year-old put the vehicle's transmission into park.

Wick was charged with violating an order of protection against his wife and son the following day.

Wick was elected town justice in 2003, remaining in the position until 2005. The following year Wick was no longer serving as justice, as he pleaded guilty to harassment of his wife, received a one-year conditional discharge, then violated the order of protection against her a few days later.