Canandaigua man cleared of hate crime, hopes to get needed help

Michael Orbino, 42, was found not guilty of all felony hate crime and harassment charges by an Ontario County jury after a four-day trial.

Orbino was found guilty of class B misdemeanor first-degree harassment.

After the verdict was read, Orbino was sentenced to time served and released. He was being held in the Ontario County Jail on no bail since the incident occurred on February 14. According to court testimony, Orbino was at Baker Park in the City of Canandaigua screaming racist slurs at two African-American high school girls.

The jury was presented with third-degree stalking as a hate crime, third-degree stalking, first-degree harassment as a hate crime, first degree harassment, and second degree harassment. At one point Canandaigua Police charged Orbino with making terroristic threats, but that charge was dismissed prior to trial.

The jury began deliberations on Monday and asked for multiple read-backs of testimony and rereading of the charges. It was on the second day of deliberations when they came to the verdict.

“This has been a long journey with Mr. Orbino,” stated Jennifer Kehoe, his attorney from the Ontario County Public Defender’s Office. “He’s made some changes and I’m going to help him moving forward so that he gets the help he needs.”

Orbino expressed great relief as the verdict was announced, smiling and thanking his attorney. Prior to sentencing, he spoke to the court

“I plan on further bettering myself,” said Orbino. “When you think about the past, mother nature can take over.”

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