ROCHESTER – The Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office pushed to overturn a suppression of evidence decision in the trial of a Jamestown man accused of setting several fires in 2017 on Monday.
Assistant District Attorney John Zuroski appeared before New York State’s 4th Appellate Division to argue the appeal of a ruling that suppressed evidence against Jamestown native Jonathan Young.
Zuroski told the court that Jamestown Police did not participate in questioning, but rather, observed Pennsylvania State Police interrogate Young. The troopers, according to Zuroski, were primarily focused on their case, not the case in New York.
“That trooper went back in for his own reasons, to strengthen his own case, and in turn opened up the New York case completely and quickly,” said Zuroski. “Like I said, one question: Why did you leave New York? ‘Because, I was responsible for 12 fires there.’”
Kaixi Xu, who represented Young, argued that Pennsylvania State Police acted as “agents” of the Jamestown Police Department. Furthermore, Xu said that Young should have been re-mirandized when asked questions about New York’s case.
Young is accused of setting more than a dozen fires in the Jamestown area in March 2017.
In April, Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley ruled that evidence gathered by police in Pennsylvania is inadmissible against Young in his New York trial. Specifically, Pennsylvania detectives questioned Young about one of the arson cases that occurred in Jamestown, and New York prosecutors want to use those statements as evidence.
Foley ruled that Young waived his right to an attorney during the discussion only for the Pennsylvania charges and not the New York charges.
Young was indicted by a Chautauqua County Grand Jury on two counts of second-degree arson, 11 counts of third-degree arson, one count of fifth-degree arson and 11 counts of second-degree criminal mischief.
Young previously accepted a plea deal for stealing a vehicle in Warren County, Pennsylvania and setting a fire in Butler County, Pennsylvania.
Jury selection in Young’s New York trial is on hold until a decision is made by the State Appellate Division.
Young is represented by the Chautauqua County Public Defender’s Office.