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Judge gives Norwood man a break; keeps him out of jail

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By RYNE R. MARTIN

CANTON - A Norwood man’s success on interim probation convinced the county court judge to cut approximately seven weeks from the jail sentence he was supposed to serve for convictions for two felony counts of first-degree criminal contempt and a felony count of driving while intoxicated.

St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards sentenced Jonathan Emlaw, 32, of County Route 47, Norwood, formerly of Hatch Road, Potsdam, to time served - 72 days following his arrest - and to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges for the felony criminal contempt convictions. He was fined an additional $1,500 and $520 in fees and surcharges for the felony DWI conviction. He was also sentenced to probation for five years, and had his operating privileges suspended.

The plea bargain agreement had called for Emlaw to face a split sentence of 180 days in the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility. But Judge Richards suggested a downward departure for the negotiated jail time made more sense. He said a probation department memorandum noted Emlaw had successfully completed outpatient treatment as well as anger management and offender accountability programs.

The county court judge said Emlaw was interviewing for employment after being laid off from his previous job and now has regular unsupervised contact with his children. Judge Richards also pointed out the victim of the criminal contempt charges indicated reconciliation was not in the cards but that she felt the no contact order of protection could be modified to a no harassment order.

Judge Richards pointed out - with credit for time served - Emlaw would only need to serve 48 more days in custody under the terms of the plea bargain agreement. “It makes no sense to put him back in jail. The agreement called for a split, but I don’t agreement with it now. It doesn’t make sense to stick him back in jail when he is doing well,” he said.

St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button said Emlaw deserved the break. “He’s done well, which is a rarity these days. Mr. Emlaw has complied with all the treatment requirements and made positive strides,” he said.

Judge Richards warned Emlaw he needed to continue on his current path. “Let’s be clear. You revert back to your old ways, and you are looking at 12 years in prison. I’m glad you’ve done what you’ve done, but this is just the beginning of the line,” he stressed.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputies had charged Emlaw with nine felony counts of first-degree criminal contempt following incidents in November 2011 when the then inmate at the St. Lawrence County jail, put false information on his call list to enable him to contact a protected party. The nine calls reportedly had taken place over a three-day period when they were brought to the attention of jail staff.

Massena Village Police had charged Emlaw with a felony count of driving while intoxicated following a traffic stop at 2:45 a.m. Nov. 12, 2011 on Main Street. He was also ticketed for having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle as well as for failure to keep right, driving left of markings and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Emlaw had previously been placed on probation for a second-degree criminal contempt conviction from St. Lawrence County Family Court’s Integrated Domestic Violence unit.

He had been charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal contempt, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment on June 29, 2011.

He was accused of breaking into Ms. Emlaw’s residence at 813 Hatch Road at 2 a.m. that morning, yelling at her, tackling her down a hallway, taking her purse and then removing the battery from her cell phone to prevent her from contacting police, troopers said.

The domestic incident reportedly took place in front of the couple’s 10-year-old son. He then fled the scene, but turned himself in later that day in Watertown.

In other recent court action before Judge Richards:

■ Mark K. Aldridge, 57, of 49 Maple St., Lot 20, Massena, waived his right to have his case presented to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to superior court information charging him with a felony count of aggravated driving while intoxicated.

The court has committed to place Aldridge on interim probation when he returns for sentencing on Feb. 11. His release on $5,000 cash bail was exonerated, and he was released under the supervision of the probation department. His operating privileges were revoked.

Public Defender Button noted his client completed an in-patient treatment program shortly after his arrest and remains on outpatient treatment.

He had been charged with aggravated DWI following a traffic stop at 3:35 p.m. May 25 on Bayley Road in the village of Massena. Police said the stop was made after Aldridge backed out of a driveway at 204 Bayley Road and nearly struck a village police cruiser.

He had a blood alcohol content of 0.27 percent, more than three times the 0.08 percent threshold required for a DWI charge in New York state. The charge was elevated to a felony after a record search revealed Aldridge had a driving while intoxicated conviction within the past 10 years. He has a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated conviction from Massena Village Court from June 2002.

■ Jon C. Petsche, 44, of Raymondville was placed under probation supervision for five years and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and $570 in fees and surcharges for a felony driving while intoxicated conviction. His operating privileges were revoked.

Petsche had a blood alcohol content of 0.22 percent when he was stopped by police Oct. 9, 2011 in the town of Norfolk.

Defense attorney Brian D. Pilatzke told the court his client had completed an in-patient substance abuse treatment program since testing positive for marijuana on Aug. 27, the day he entered his guilty plea to the felony DWI charge.

Lorne A. McLean, 41, a state prison inmate listing a 1385 state Route 11C, Winthrop address, had his arraignment on a felony driving while intoxicated count adjourned for a second time after the attorney from Ticonderoga he reportedly retained failed to show for the court proceeding.

Judge Richards adjourned the case for a second time, but he pledged the attorney would be present the next time corrections officers bring McLean into the Canton courtroom.

“I’m going to take some action. I can assure you he will be here. Until then, you are going to have to be jerked around,” Judge Richards told the Winthrop man.

McLean entered state prison on July 12 after being sentenced to one to four years in prison for a felony DWI conviction in Essex County.

McLean was indicted for two counts of felony driving while intoxicated. McLean, who was pulled over while traveling on Route 11C in Stockholm on June 20, is accused of testing a 0.23 percent blood alcohol content.

■ Joshua F. Jock, 32, of 211 state Route 72, Apt. B, Potsdam, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of driving while intoxicated. His operating privileges were suspended, and his release under the supervision of the probation department was continued. He is represented by attorney Charles B. Nash.

Jock reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent when he was stopped by police June 28 on Market Street. He has an Oct. 19, 2005 conviction from the village of Potsdam Court.

■ Donald J. Lavalley, 61, of 107 South Grasse River Road, Massena, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of driving while intoxicated and had his case adjourned until Nov. 29. His operating privileges were suspended, and his release under the supervision of the probation department was continued.

Defense attorney Denice Goodrich was successful in her request to have Lavalley placed in the judicial diversion program.

He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent when he was stopped by police March 23 on state Route 56 in the town of Norfolk. He has a March 9, 2011 misdemeanor driving while intoxicated conviction from village of Potsdam Court.

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