Erie County Court Judge James McLeod has recused himself from a felony drug case, according to a statement from the county district attorney.
McLeod recused himself from the bench trial he was conducting for Miguel Parrilla, and declared a mistrial in the case.
In March 2017, the sheriff's office announced Parrilla was facing multiple felony charges following an overdose death on Grand Island. At the time of Parilla's arrest, deputies said he was found with crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and about 100 Xanax pills.
"When push came to shove, they revealed that this witness had given them a statement in which she basically claimed that three or four years ago, my client, who was a former boyfriend of hers had, I guess, the term you would say, had bragged to her that he had sold drugs to various people and one of those people was a judge and that it happened to be this judge," said Mark Sacha, Parilla's defense attorney.
Sacha says in his opinion, the districts attorney's office was using the witness to blackmail the judge into getting a mistrial.
The district attorney stated that he and his staff will not be commenting on this matter because it may influence future proceedings. The case will be assigned to another judge.
McLeod was elected as a Buffalo City Court Judge in 1999.