District Attorney’s Office Forced To Cut Services
For Immediate Release: August 17, 2015
The recent decision by the County Legislators to cut another prosecutor has placed the District Attorney’s Office at dangerously low staffing levels, and forced District Attorney Mary E. Rain to take emergency measures in order to continue to prosecute felonies, misdemeanors, and violations.
“The Board’s vote to cut another prosecutor has put the District Attorney’s Office at lower staffing levels than the previous administration, and has left me with the unfortunate dilemma of either not prosecuting all of my cases or finding a way to free up more prosecutors to handle the crushing caseload”, said DA Rain.
In an effort to ensure that all cases in her office continue to receive attention, DA Rain has instituted the following emergency measures:
Effective August 24, 2015, appearances by prosecutors in town, village, and city courts throughout the county will be temporarily suspended for a period of six months, at which point the office will reevaluate it’s position. Prosecutors, however, will continue to appear in town, village, and city courts to conduct scheduled hearings and trials.
Additionally, in step with DA Rain’s commitment to keeping her prosecutors accessible to the community, the District Attorney’s Office will begin holding weekly traffic violation office hours at the County Courthouse on Mondays from 3pm to 5pm and Wednesdays from 9am to 11am. At these office hours, citizens seeking a reduction for non-DWI traffic infractions can meet with a prosecutor on a walk-in basis.
“Despite the absence of adequate resources, my office remains unwavering in its commitment to public safety. I’m proud of my staff, and confident that they will continue to proudly serve the citizens of St. Lawrence County.”
Caleb Rayburn Pleads Guilty Before the Honorable Jerome J. Richards
For Immediate Release: May 5, 2015
After 6 days of trial, Caleb Rayburn pleads guilty on all counts of the 2014 Indictment for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a Class A-II Felony and Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine in the Third Degree, a Class D Felony.
Rayburn was arrested on May 27, 2014 in the town of Gouverneur with co-defendants Jackie Reynolds, Randy Reynolds, and Jessie Young. The three co-defendants’ cases were resolved prior to trial.
Rayburn is to be sentenced to 8 years for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and 4 years on the Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine in the Third Degree. County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards will pronounce sentence on June 2, 2015 at 8:15 a.m. This case concludes one of the very first meth labs taken down by the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force.
Chief Assistant District Attorney David Haggard and Assistant District Attorney Sara Clothier tried the case. Based on the evidence they presented and additional evidence uncovered by District Attorney Investigator Daniel Manor, Mr. Rayburn decided to plead guilty.
District Attorney Mary Rain stated “The District Attorney’s office worked closely with the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force to bring an extremely successful conclusion to St. Lawrence County’s first conviction of this type. We will continue to aggressively prosecute meth lab producers as well as the growing drug epidemic that plagues this County.”
DA Mary Rain Secures Another "Guilty on all Charges" DWI Verdict
For Immediate Release: May 1, 2015
In May of 2014, Charles D. Larue Jr. was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, as well as other traffic infractions, in the Town of Lisbon. During the investigation, the Defendant recorded a Blood Alcohol Content of .12%.
Yesterday, after less than 5 minutes of deliberation, a Lisbon jury returned a verdict of “guilty on all charges,” handing DA Mary Rain her third trial victory since the inception of Rob’s Policy.
DA Rain reiterated her strong commitment to public safety stating, “Reducing the number of DWI related offenses in St. Lawrence County, is a top priority for my administration, and the aggressive prosecution of DWI offenses is a necessary means to that end.”
Elvis E. Pigott Sentenced To Four And A Half Years In State Prison
For Immediate Release: February 2, 2015
Today Judge Jerome Richards sentenced Elvis E. Pigott to four and a half years in State Prison with two years Post Release Supervision.
Oral Nicholas Hillary Arraigned On Second Murder Indictment
For Immediate Release: February 2, 2015
Oral Nicholas Hillary was arraigned today by County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards on a single charge of Murder in the 2nd degree. The indictment alleges that between 4:56 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24, 2011, Hillary murdered Garrett Phillips by suffocation and strangulation in the boy’s home at 100 Market St., Apt. 4, Potsdam.
Robert Petrie Accepts 30 Years In PrisonFor Immediate Release: January 30, 2015
On March 25, 2014 Robert M. Petrie was arrested by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department for Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree in the town of Macomb. He was accused of sexual acts against a 12 year old boy.
On January 30, 2015, Robert M. Petrie pleads guilty to 5 counts of criminal sexual acts in the 1st degree, class “B” violent felonies.
Judge Jerome Richards committed to sentence the defendant Robert M. Petrie to 30 years in State Prison with an additional 10 years of Post Release Supervision.
District Attorney Mary Rain stated, “I am pleased with the outcome of the case and believe justice has been served. This plea will relieve Petrie’s young victim from having to testify and relive those horrible acts. The family is satisfied that Mr. Petrie will no longer be in a position to harm anymore children.”
DA Rain Secures DWI Conviction Reinforcing Pledge to Public Safety
For Immediate Release: November 18, 2014
In her first DWI trial since the inception of the new policy (Rob’s Policy), the St. Lawrence County District Attorney stood firm on her promise to aggressively prosecute DWI offenses.
In June of 2014, Trisha Chapman was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, as well as other traffic infractions, when she collided with and injured a motorcyclist in the Town of Stockholm. During the personal injury motor vehicle accident investigation, Chapman recorded a Blood Alcohol Content of .16%, or twice the legal limit.
After brief deliberation, a Stockholm jury returned a verdict of guilty on all charges, reinforcing DA Rain’s pledge to public safety. “Reducing the number of DWI related offenses in St. Lawrence County is a top priority for my administration, and the aggressive prosecution of DWI offenses is a necessary means to that end,” DA Rain stated after trial.
DA Mary Rain Determined to Re-indict Oral Nicholas Hillary
For Immediate Release: November 13, 2014
After considering all the options and after consulting the Phillips and Collins family, District Attorney Mary Rain has determined to re-indict Oral Nicholas Hillary. When considering the option to appeal, DA Rain said, “it could take an additional 18 months before the family received justice and that is unacceptable.” The process to re-indict will start Monday.
Victims Outraged By County Court Judge's Decisions
For Immediate Release: October 6, 2014
District Attorney Mary Rain states the decision by County Court Judge Jerome Richards to dismiss two indictments on Friday ignored the facts and wrongly applied the law. “I find these dismissals, as well as Judge Richards’ decision last week to dismiss several counts of the indictment against Robert Petrie, a Macomb man accused of sexually assaulting a 12 year old child, deeply troubling.
The two indictments dismissed by Judge Richards on Friday involved Joseph A. Back II, a man indicted for vehicular assault, and Gary Rousaw, a man indicted for sexually assaulting a 7 and 8 year old. After speaking with the victims of these crimes, Rain said they are outraged that the judge dismissed the indictments by discounting the facts provided by the District Attorney’s Office and only looking at those provided by the defense. “If there are facts in dispute, as there were in the indictments that were dismissed, a hearing is required so the judge may hear testimony. That was simply not done in these cases.”
The Petrie decision provided inconsistencies where the judge ruled the grand jury testimony was insufficient to warrant charges, and in the same decision then provided they were sufficient. The judge, later in the week, amended his own decision.
Rain states, “In the Back case, Judge Richards relied on the statement of defense counsel that the Tribal Police had arrested the defendant, and ruled that the Tribal Police had no right to do so. However, the People stated the defendant was not placed under arrest, but rather detained as a fleeing felon, and NY law allows any citizen in this state to detain a fleeing felon until the police arrive. Without having sworn testimony by holding a hearing the judge only relied on the statement of the defense attorney.”
Additionally, in the Rousaw case, Judge Richards ruled that a speedy trial waiver signed by the defendant’s attorney with a copy provided to the defendant was an insufficient waiver. “This flies in the face of well settled case law that allows the defense attorney to do just that so they may have time to negotiate with the District Attorney’s Office before the case is presented to Grand Jury,” Rain stated.
“These decisions make no sense and simply fail to follow New York Law” Rain said. “The People will appeal these decisions. “I believe that Judge Richards has inappropriately dismissed cases, and when he does so by not following the law or allowing the District Attorney’s Office to be heard, my office will relentlessly fight to protect the rights of victims by appealing his decisions.”