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Judge dismissed felony count against fake doc

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MASSENA - A Massena man charged with impersonating a physician in an unsuccessful effort to be prescribed Ritalin from two pharmacies had his felony count dismissed following a preliminary hearing in Massena Village Court.

Village police had charged Darrel P. Dodds, 29, of 187 Center St., Apt. 4, Massena, with first-degree criminal impersonation of a licensed physician on June 16.

He allegedly called Walgreen’s and Kinney Drugs on June 3, identified himself as Dr. Mauer and stated Darrel Dodds needed an emergency supply of Ritalin for the weekend. The man identifying himself as Dr. Mauer said Dodds was out of Ritalin and needed to call in a five-day supply. He initially called Walgreen’s and then called Kinney Drugs.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson ruled testimony presented at the hearing did not provide evidence enough to determine Mr. Dodds had committed a felony offense.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Alison Appleby had argued after the hearing that prosecutors had failed to have any of the witnesses that took the stand identify Mr. Dodds as the person who had phoned in the phony prescription. “There was no evidence presented that (Dr. Mauer) didn’t call the pharmacy, and there was no evidence Mr. Dodds appeared at either of these two locations on June 3,” she argued.

Mr. Gustafson agreed with her argument. “Don’t we have to have an identification,?” he wondered aloud . “The prosecution has not provided sufficient enough to find that a felony was committed and that this defendant committed it,” he ruled.

But the ruling didn’t prove to be a get out of jail card for Mr. Dodds. “You have pending before me three counts of petit larceny and now this allegation of impersonation a physician. While that was not proven here at (this hearing), it appears to me that was a rather technical matter,” the village justice said.

“I see your history of appearances and cooperation here and the conclusion I reach is where you are is the best place for you,” Mr. Gustafson added, setting bail at $1,000 cash. He had been held on $10,000 bail on the impersonation a physician charge.

Mr. Dodds had urged the court to release him from custody so he could pick up his check at his workplace. “Please let me out so I can pick up my check. I’ll turn myself back in after I get my check. I’ll never not cooperated again. I just want to take care of my wife. All my roots are here,” he told the judge.

Police said they had been called to 30 Cornell Ave, on June 3 for a disturbance call and when they arrived found Jeremy Tilden was upset because Mr. Dodds had borrowed his cell phone and then tensions rose about 10 minutes later when Tilden sought to get his phone back from his neighbor.

Mr. Dodds became upset because he wanted more time on the phone, police said, and during the argument Dodds suggested he was going to get arrested for the phone calls he had made.

Police said their investigation revealed the phone calls had been made to the two pharmacies.

A pharmacist at Walgreen’s said she had received the phone call from the man identifying himself as Dr. Mauer on June 3. “I immediately realized it wasn’t a doctor calling and the voice was actually Darrel Dodds. He said his patient was out of Ritalin for the weekend and needed to call five days in. I knew this wasn’t true because Darrel Dodds had been in the day before and an Rx for 30 tabs of Ritalin from the Massena Memorial Hospital emergency room. I had refused to fill this Rx ...,” the Walgreen’s pharmacist told police.

But prosecutors failed to have that pharmacist identify the man she believed had made the phone call, Mr. Dodds, while she was on the witness stand.

The St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office could still opt to take the case to a grand jury in an effort to have Mr. Dodds indicted on a felony charge.

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