Retired cop avoids jail time during sentencing for misdemeanor assault charges

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — Although a victim of assault asked for jail time for his assailant, a judge was lenient with a now retired Niagara Falls cop during sentencing on Tuesday.

James Conte, a 48-year-old retired Niagara Falls Police Department officer, faced his sentence on Tuesday after pleading guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault. Conte first faced felony charges after authorities said he knocked a man out with his motorcycle helmet following a dispute on the road, leading to second-degree assault charges.

The 45-year-old man, who drove a vehicle down the I-190 in Wheatfield, pulled over his vehicle where the assault took place in September.

After pleading guilty to lesser charges, a judge sentenced him to a conditional discharge that allowed Conte to avoid jail and probation in lieu of 50 hours of community service and a $250 fine.

The sentencing is a direct contrast to what the victim, who also appeared in court, asked for — jail time. Tom Eoannou, who represents Conte, said the judge made his decision based on Conte’s record as an officer with no charges of excessive force and his time serving the nation.

Conte retired from his position as a police officer immediately after charges were filed against him on Nov. 1.

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