Former public defender sentenced to five years on gun conviction

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A former western New York public defender who now lives in Rochester will call a jail cell home for five years after he was convicted on federal charges.

Adam Rissew, 39, acted as a Monroe County Public Defender when he created a marijuana grow operation. Drug investigators caught on to the operation and seized more than 50 marijuana plants, multiple guns and over 600 rounds of ammunition in a raid.

Police arrested Rissew after the raid in 2012, and charged him with possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Officers say the former lawyer admitted to them he used a pistol to protect his operations.

After a lengthy case, Rissew pleaded guilty in October of 2015, then was slated to be sentenced in January.

Officials announced on Tuesday he would spend five years in prison after his sentencing. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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