AUBURN | Accused of multiple charges involving child pornography, Auburn resident David Stevens decided the best defense attorney for his case is himself.
Stevens, 65, was arraigned in Cayuga County Court Tuesday on nine counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting it. He is accused of uploading pornography and sharing with others, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said.
Judge Mark Fandrich set bail at $3,000 cash, $6,000 bond in what initially seemed like a typical arraignment proceeding.
That was until Stevens' former appointed attorney, Douglas Bates, informed the judge of Stevens' desire to waive his right to appointed legal representation.
"He wants to steer his own ship in this case," Bates said.
When asked by Fandrich why he wanted to do this, Stevens said he did not want a counsel that felt "like they have nothing to lose" in defending his case.
The Auburn man also said he and Bates "did not agree at all" as to what Stevens' defense should be.
"I feel that I can represent myself properly," he said. "I wouldn't mind assigned counsel, but assigned counsel would have to realize that I'm the lead attorney."
Stevens said he has a GED and about 20 years of experience as a logger.
Budelmann was skeptical of Stevens' qualifications.
"This is not a law school where someone can learn the proceedings," he said, referring to the county courtroom. "This is a defense case."
Fandrich took more than 20 minutes asking Stevens about his knowledge of court proceedings and informing the Auburn man of the potential risks involved in defending oneself.
"I watched Perry Mason — does that help?" Stevens said.
When Fandrich asked Stevens what he believed the purpose of a trial was, Stevens replied "to put me in jail."
Fandrich said the law does recognize a defendant's right to represent him or herself, but also recognizes that the decision may not be very wise.
However, Fandrich agreed to waive these rights for further court proceedings following the question-and-answer session. After further discussion with attorneys, Fandrich appointed attorney Rome Canzano as "standby counsel" to serve as an adviser for Stevens' case.
"This is not going to go smoothly," Fandrich said.
Motions are due from both Stevens and the district attorney in October. Stevens' next scheduled appearance is Nov. 13.
Also in court:
• An Elbridge woman will be sentenced for driving with a blood alcohol content level of almost three times the legal limit.
Melinda Powers, 45, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident after her vehicle crashed into the back of another vehicle on July 31, 2012, on Route 5 in Sennett.
She is facing up to four years in prison as well as five years probation, revocation of her license and an ignition interlock device.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13.
• Jessica Parker-Sharkey, 20, of Cato, could be getting, as Fandrich said, one more chance to turn her life around.
Parker-Sharkey pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary during a plea by waiver proceeding on Tuesday. The court agreed upon a sentence of probation with the possibility of Cayuga County Felony Treatment Court and restitution of $505 to the victims of her crimes.
The woman and a co-defendant, Cato resident Ryan Meseroll, were indicted on a string of burglary charges reported by residents on Pople Road in Cato.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13. Meseroll is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 3.
• A 26-year-old convicted drug dealer admitted guilt to his latest charges.
Andre Murphy Jr., of Auburn, pleaded guilty to criminal sale of narcotics, specifically cocaine. Murphy had been previously incarcerated for drug charges in 2008 and 2010.
Murphy is facing a sentence of five years in prison, two years probation and $250 in restitution to the Cayuga County Drug Task Force. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 13.
• An Auburn woman is facing the consequences of her drug addiction.
Jennilee Glimpse, 26, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, heroin. Glimpse said she sold heroin at the time to support her own habit.
As part of the plea, a conditional sentence of two years imprisonment with two years post-release supervision was agreed upon by the court. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 13.
• John Tardibone Jr., 41, was sentenced to 89 days in Cayuga County Jail for violating his probation. The Auburn man missed his scheduled appearance last week and also violated several other terms of his probation, including the use of alcohol.