Venue change set for Cerrie

By GREG FOX

OBSERVER Staff Writer

For several weeks, questions have surrounded where exactly the legal case regarding Fredonia village Trustee Joseph Cerrie will be handled. However, it officially will not be in the village.

Fredonia Justice David Prince recused himself and the rest of the court from the matter, meaning he will not overhear the case.

“Provisions in the law tell us to recuse ourselves in this instance,” Prince said. “It will most likely be taken to the (District Attorney)’s office once someone shows up here later this month to take some forms, taking it to the county court (in Mayville) where Judge (John) Ward will give out the case.”

Prince also said recusing himself is the right thing to do in this instance since Cerrie is part of a board that dictates wages in the village court. He said he also knows Cerrie personally.

Chief County Court Clerk Kathleen Krauza said because the charge against Cerrie is considered a misdemeanor, it cannot be heard at the county court level. The only crimes heard at that level are felonies.

In a similar matter to Prince, Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley filed a special prosecutor’s application for the case around mid-July, thus removing himself from the potential pool of prosecutors. Foley said himself handling the case would not be ideal since he knows Cerrie personally.

Cerrie was charged with forcible touching by the Fredonia Police Department last month. In a press release, police said he touched a 28-year-old woman’s breasts during his shift at a local bar. The woman’s name was not released.

The village trustee has served in that role for about 10 years and is currently two years into his third term.

Comments may be sent to gfox@observertoday.com