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Canton judge to decide whether to dismiss felony weapons charges against Florida man

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CANTON — Attorneys made arguments Friday in St. Lawrence County Court on whether charges against a Florida man should be dismissed because of a speedy trial violation.

Joel Rivera, 35, Cocoa, Fla., was indicted on three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Mr. Rivera did not appear in court, but signed a waiver for proceedings to continue without him.

Mr. Rivera is accused of having four handguns, three of which were loaded, and a stun gun when he was stopped Dec. 12, 2010, by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

When he was pulled over on Route 11 in Canton, border agents allegedly found a Taurus .45-caliber automatic pistol, a Kimber .45-caliber automatic pistol, a Smith & Wesson 9 mm Luger pistol, a Cheetah stun gun and .45-caliber ammunition.

The suspect’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Steven G. Ballan, argued that too much time elapsed after Mr. Rivera was charged. Chief Assistant District Attorney Amanda N. Nissen argued that the delay time was excludable, due to circumstances beyond the court’s control.

Both parties also made stipulations and submitted written arguments to the court.

Judge Jerome J. Richards is expected to issue a written decision at a later date.

Also Friday in County Court, James R. Hutton, 42, of 12 Old Route 58 N., Gouverneur, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

Mr. Hutton said he went into a Gouverneur man’s home where his own wife was and physically assaulted the man last year. He was released to probation supervision.

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