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Winthrop man earns interim probation over use of counterfeit bills


CANTON — A Winthrop man was sentenced Tuesday morning by St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards to one year of interim probation for possessing two counterfeit $20 bills in the village of Massena last year.

Samuel B. Sevick, 26, pleaded guilty in January to one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony.

According to court records, Mr. Sevick took the bogus notes to a gas station, where he used the first to buy $4 worth of gas, then kept the change. He then moved his car and bought one can of beer with the second bill, again pocketing the change.

Judge Richards said Mr. Sevick successfully completed inpatient treatment and made full restitution. If he successfully completes interim probation, he will be eligible to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in place of the felony.

In other court action Tuesday:

Sentencing for Joanna L. Wright, 38, DeKalb Junction, in a grand larceny case was adjourned after Judge Richards chided Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker over a lack of information pertaining to restitution and the victims’ position.

Mrs. Wright admitted to stealing more than $50,000 from the Best Western University Inn while working as an account clerk from April 2008 to June 2010, and was sentenced to one year of interim probation in April 2012. She successfully completed interim probation, the judge said.

The judge grew angry when Mr. Becker struggled to answer whether the district attorney’s office had contacted the victims, St. Lawrence University and an insurance company.

Mr. Becker, who is leaving the district attorney’s office later this month, drew further ire by suggesting that Mrs. Wright be required to use insurance proceeds from the death of her husband to pay restitution. Judge Richards rejected that idea, and told Mr. Becker that how and whether to handle restitution is the court’s prerogative, which Mr. Becker challenged.

“I’ll adjourn this until after the 31st of May, and then we’ll have a different set of eyes, and a different brain, to deal with,” the judge said.

In County Court on Monday, a Watertown man who is representing himself against drug charges in St. Lawrence County Court suffered a few legal setbacks.

Anthony J. Peterkin Sr., 49, argued last month that he couldn’t have sold cocaine in Ogdensburg on March 21, 2012, because he was in the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building on unrelated charges at the time. When an initial inquiry indicated that he was not in the facility, Mr. Peterkin asked Judge Jerome J. Richards to instruct prosecutors to request all records for March 2012.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé presented documents in court Monday showing that Mr. Peterkin wasn’t booked into the Jefferson County jail until March 30, 2012.

Mr. Peterkin also was informed Monday that motions he filed in the case did not reach the DA’s office in a timely fashion, and Ms. Duvé was granted a week to review and respond.

Mr. Peterkin asked if he could be released in the meantime. Judge Richards said he would consider only a pretrial release application in writing, sending Mr. Peterkin back to the St. Lawrence County jail to await further proceedings. He was provided with copies of the Jefferson County jail records to review while in custody.

In other court action Monday:

James R. Hutton, 43, Gouverneur, was sentenced to five years’ probation in connection with a 2011 assault case.

Mr. Hutton pleaded guilty in April 2012 to second-degree assault, admitting that he went into a Gouverneur man’s home where his own wife was and physically assaulted the man last year. He has been engaged in outpatient treatment since entering his plea, with no negative reports, the judge said.

Joseph G. France, 38, Canton, pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated charges. He was indicted last month on two counts of DWI in connection with an Oct. 31, 2011, incident on County Route 21 in the town of Canton.

Mr. France, who had been free under his own recognizance, was released under probation supervision pending further proceedings.

Gregory Carr, 49, Ogdensburg, was sentenced to 15 to 45 months in state prison after pleading guilty in September to felony DWI following a June arrest on Haggart Road in Ogdensburg.

In January, Judge Richards adjourned sentencing until August to allow Mr. Carr to finish treatment and find a full-time job.

In April, Mr. Carr tested positive for alcohol, initially telling officials it must have been a false positive, the judge said. He later admitted drinking one beer while fishing with a relative, Judge Richards said.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t get drunk, but I did consume alcohol. I didn’t think that it would show up on a test,” Mr. Carr said.

Despite a request from Public Defender Stephen D. Button to consider a split sentence of jail and probation time, the judge imposed prison, followed by a three-year conditional discharge.

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