Ear, nose and throat doctor had been jailed following erratic behavior that attorneys say resulted from addiction problem
CANANDAIGUA — A local ear, nose and throat doctor arrested in 2015 following a display of unusual behavior attributed to anxiety issues has successfully completed his interim probation.
As part of a plea deal with the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office, Dr. Warren B. Simmons, who has 30 years of medical experience, avoided any additional time behind bars and was sentenced to serve three years of probation.
As for a reinstatement of his medical license — suspended by the state Department of Health’s Board for Professional Medical Conduct following his arrest — that remains up in the air.
According to Catherine Gale of Syracuse-based law firm Gale, Gale & Hunt, who is representing Simmons before the Department of Health, the doctor will soon be undergoing a lengthy application process aimed at his license’s reinstatement
“Nothing is automatic,” Gale said. “He has to go through a process and prove that he is rehabilitated and competent.”
Simmons — who practiced at Finger Lakes Otolaryngology, which has offices in Canandaigua, Newark and Geneseo — was arrested on consecutive days in September 2015. At the end of the second day, the 60-year-old Victor resident faced two counts of first-degree coercion, a class D felony; and two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest, both class A misdemeanors.
The first arrest took place Sept. 19, 2015, at Eddie O’Brien’s Grille & Bar in Canandaigua.
Canandaigua police officers were called to the scene after Simmons displayed what was described as erratic behavior at the South Main Street establishment. Simmons was asked to leave the restaurant, but refused, leading to the resisting arrest charge.
Events of the following night resulted in the bulk of the criminal charges .
Simmons is accused of getting into a car with two teenagers who were driving in a residential area of Victor, which court documents identified as Quoin Crescent, where the defendant's home is located.
Simmons ran out of his house and jumped into the teens’ car, telling them he was an FBI agent and demanding their car keys, wallets and identification. Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said previously in the case’s development that during the incident, the Victor resident acted “very frightening and threatening” to the teenagers.
Simmons eventually gave the items back to the teens, who left the scene and reported the incident to state troopers.
The resulting charges filed against Simmons ensued, and the Victor resident was placed behind bars at the Ontario County Jail.
Earlier on in the case’s process, Gale said Simmons’ actions those two nights were the result of the her client’s battle with substance abuse.
Rochester-based attorney James Doyle, who represented Simmons in Ontario County Court, said that the doctor was suffering from anxiety issues that led to these two arrests.
As part of an arraignment in Ontario County Court, shortly after his arrest, Simmons was allowed to travel to a Georgia-based in-patient treatment facility for a month. He then returned to Ontario County, where he turned himself in on Jan. 13 in order to begin serving a court-ordered six-month sentence in the Ontario County Jail.
He was released from the facility last May, allowing for his agreed-upon interim probation to begin.
Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride stated Tuesday that Simmons successfully completed the interim probation after living a crime-free existence since his May release from jail.
In addition to avoiding additional jail time and being ordered to serve three years of probation, the plea bargain allowed the two felony charges filed against Simmons to be vacated from his record. The two counts of unlawful imprisonment and the resisting arrest charge remain in place, MacBride added.
Had Simmons received any new offenses or violations during his interim probationary period, he could have faced up to seven years in prison, according to State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran, who oversaw the case.
Doyle stressed on Tuesday that his client succeeded in completing the interim probation in an “exemplary fashion."
“He did everything that was asked of him, and he did it to the Nth degree,” the attorney said.
Doyle, who pointed out that his client has overcome his anxiety issues, added that he expects Simmons to be allowed to practice once again.
“I think it would be a great disadvantage to the community were he not to be,” he said.
According to Gale, part of the lengthy process to receive the medical license back includes a hearing that will involve witness testimony.
“The Health Department is very cautious about these things and for good reason,” she said. “But Dr. Simmons has a phenomenal brain and is a phenomenal physician. He has so much to offer; we’re hoping that he’ll rule favorably and allow him to go back to practice.”