SPRINGFIELD — A federal judge has set a new sentencing date for former Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis which is now nearly one year after his June conviction on an extortion charge.

According to court filings, Buffis' sentencing hearing is set for May 12 in the U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Buffis was originally scheduled to be sentenced last October, but that date has been delayed back several times since then.

Prior to this new date, Buffis was last scheduled to be sentenced on March 3.

That date was moved after a prosecution motion asking Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to consider Buffis' uncharged and acquitted conduct when crafting a sentence and Buffis' attorney, Lori Levinson filing an objection.

The matter, according to court records, is being taken under advisement by Mastroianni.

Should the matter require a formal hearing, it will be heard on April 28 and, if necessary, will continue on April 29.


Buffis was convicted of one count of extortion last June for strong-arming a Lee couple into making a bogus $4,000 donation to a charity toy fund he ran in exchange for dropping pending criminal charges against them.

He was, however, cleared of 10 other charges related to his alleged handling of the toy fund accounts.

Buffis has also been accused of, but not charged with, stealing about $30,000 from the bingo account of St. Mary's Church in Lee.

That allegation is one of the items prosecutors hope to have considered at sentencing.

An additional charge of mail fraud, for allegedly adding cellphone accounts for members of his family to the Town of Lee's account was dropped at the federal level, but may still be taken up in the lower court.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.