A judge lectured a member of the Four Block Gang in court Wednesday morning, telling him that his behavior won’t be tolerated in the community.
However, she also noted that a pre sentence report said the admitted gang member indicated he wanted to change his life, and she encouraged him to do so.
Jose Serrano, 21, of Schenectady, was in Schenectady County Court to be sentenced on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He previously had admitted to possessing a gun Jan. 2, 2011, at Bradley and Furman streets. Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago sentenced him to six years in prison for the act.
Serrano also was indicted federally, as one of 19 people accused of involvement in the violent Four Block Gang. His possession of a gun was among the overt acts cited in the federal gang conspiracy.
He admitted that involvement and was sentenced last month to just under six years in federal prison. As part of his local deal on the state gun possession charge, Serrano’s state sentence will run concurrent with the federal sentence.
Drago told Serrano it disturbed her that someone his age was before her on such charges.
“But what’s more disturbing to the court is the fact that it’s gang-related,” she told him. “
It’s uncontraverted that you were a member of the Four Block Gang.”
The gang, she recounted, wreaked havoc and violence on the community. “It’s not going to be tolerated.”
Drago, though, also noted the pre-sentence report compiled by the Probation Department.
“When I read this report, I do walk away with the notion that you want to change your life, and I hope you do,” the judge said.
“Absolutely,” Serrano responded.
“It’s a hard lesson to learn,” Drago continued. “You have a girlfriend, you have a family. That’s the relationships you should be building, not a relationship with a gang.”
She told Serrano that, if he is intent on turning his life around, he needs to start now, get a plan in place and put all his energy into getting that plan in motion.
“You need to move on. You need to learn from your mistakes. And I’ll tell you right now, this type of behavior, these gangs, will not be tolerated in this community at all.”
Serrano was represented in court by attorney William Novak. He was prosecuted by Ed Moynihan.