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Deer Lady ordered to serve at food bank Amherst justice sets 100 hours of work

Anita Depczynski was ordered Thursday to feed people instead of deer.

After a contentious hearing in Amherst Town Court, Justice Mark G. Farrell sentenced Cheektowaga's much-ticketed Deer Lady to 100 hours of community service at a food bank for ignoring his order not to feed deer in Cheektowaga's Stiglmeier Park.

Farrell also warned her to stay away from all Cheektowaga parks for one year. Defying the order could result in new charges and possible jail time, he warned.

"I'm trying to keep this cause celebre from becoming the case of the 21st century," Farrell told Depczynski, 65.

The defendant claimed she was not feeding animals when a Cheektowaga police officer spotted her in the park last October but simply strewing apples around to lure deer out of hiding so she could "monitor" them.

She spent seven days in jail in December for violating a conditional discharge issued by Cheektowaga Justice Ronald Kmiotek in another incident.

Kmiotek transfered the latest case to Amherst after Depczynski claimed she could not get a fair trial in Cheektowaga because town officials were conspiring against her.

In June, Farrell issued an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in an earlier deer-feeding case against Depczynski. The case landed in his court after the Cheektowaga justice handling it, Thomas S. Kolbert, was accused of feeding deer in his yard.

But Farrell clearly was not pleased to see Depczynski again. He denied defense lawyer Andrew LoTempio's request to withdraw from the case because his client wasn't cooperating.

"I tried to explain to her rationally the legal concepts. She just doesn't understand them," LoTempio said.

Farrell also turned down prosecutor John Michalski's request to adjourn the matter because a key witness against Depczynski failed to show up.

"This has to be dealt with," Farrell snapped, turning to the defendant. "This has banged around between Cheektowaga and Amherst and banged around in the press. What do you hope to accomplish?" he asked her.

"I'd like a fair trial," Depczynski said.

He reminded Depczynski that she was in court not to be tried but because she had ignored his order. "If I don't like the law, I can't go out and violate it again and again," Farrell said. "You did. We're reinventing the wheel with regard to feeding deer. That's enough."

When Depczynski, who has been cited for feeding deer in violation of state law several times since 2002, criticized her lawyer's handling of her case, Farrell threatened to order her held for psychiatric evaluation. "You are completely out of touch with what's going on in the courtroom," the judge said.

But after Depczynski and LoTempio made peace during a break, Farrell levied the community service penalty, which he said compels her to serve "people who desperately need help."

e-mail: tbuckham@buffnews.com

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