BUFFALO, N.Y. — A 23-year-old Kenmore man pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to looting a liquor store in the City of Buffalo during a protest last year.
According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, just after 10:30 p.m. on May 30, 2020, unknown individuals broke a glass window of a liquor store on Elmwood Avenue near West Utica Street. From there, the District Attorney's Office says Daniel D. Hill and other unknown individuals went into the closed liquor store and stole merchandise.
Hill pleaded guilty to one count of burglary in the third degree, a class D felony.
As part of his plea, the District Attorney's office says Hill will be allowed to be one of the first participants of a new diversion court program in Erie County called U-CAN ERIE, which stands for "United Against Crime Community Action Network."
According to the District Attorney's office, U-CAN ERIE is a "court-monitored, anti-crime mentorship program for eligible young adult defendants who may continue to become involved in the criminal justice system without intervention."
As part of the program, first-time, non-violent offenders between the ages of 18 and 25 are offered mentorship and services. Anyone accused of committing a violent crime is not eligible to participate in the program.
The District Attorney's Office also notes that eligibility will be determined by its office and with the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo and Erie County Probation Department.
If Hill successfully completes this program, the Erie County District Attorney's Office says he will be able to withdraw his plea for the felony charge. Instead, he will be able to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense.
Currently Hill remains free on his own recognizance.
“We are seeing too many young people involved in the criminal justice system. Even worse, my office is often prosecuting the same young person who has committed another crime, sometimes for a more serious, violent offense than the first time. Even one criminal conviction can have a life-long impact. Whenever possible, I want to give a second chance to young people who have made a bad choice. This program provides an opportunity for the defendant to learn from their mistakes and get the help that they need to turn their life around,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.