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Status of Gouverneur man’s DWI plea questioned

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CANTON — A Gouverneur man on Monday pleaded not guilty to DWI charges in St. Lawrence County Court more than two months after he accepted a plea deal in the same case in Town Court.

Public Defender Stephen D. Button maintained the Oct. 3 plea by Mark W. McIntosh still stands, and the case doesn’t belong in County Court. The District Attorney’s Office later requested that the original plea be vacated, which Mr. Button said has not happened.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé, who was not in court Monday, said she understood Mr. McIntosh’s plea in Fowler Town Court had been vacated before the case moved to a grand jury, which indicted him earlier this month.

County Judge Jerome J. Richards advised Mr. Button on Monday morning that Mr. McIntosh needed to enter a plea in his court before any procedural challenge could proceed.

“You’ve got to take action, file the appropriate motion and I will consider it,” the judge said.

Mr. McIntosh, 42, of 233 Doane Road, was arrested Sept. 8 following a traffic stop on Route 58 in Fowler, after which his blood alcohol content was measured at 0.18 percent, state police said. Under state law, a BAC of 0.08 percent or more constitutes intoxication. Aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or more.

Mr. Button told Judge Richards that Mr. McIntosh appeared in Fowler Town Court on Oct. 3 and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of DWI, accepting a plea agreement with the blessing of the DA’s office. Sentencing was set for Dec. 5, but has not taken place, Mr. Button said.

On Dec. 6, Mr. McIntosh was indicted by a grand jury on one count of aggravated DWI and two counts of DWI in connection with the Sept. 8 arrest.

Asked about the plea by phone, Ms. Duvé said Town Court may have believed Mr. McIntosh was only charged with a misdemeanor, and that when representatives of her office attend local court sessions, “they may or may not have the full file” on hand in each case. Given the original charges, the DA’s office requested the plea be vacated, Ms. Duvé said.

“The court said it was going to vacate and we called to confirm it was vacated before going to grand jury,” Ms. Duvé responded in a subsequent text message.

Fowler Town Justice Paul M. Lamson said he could not comment on the case, even though the disposition of cases are a matter of public record. When told of Ms. Duvé’s statement about the ruling being vacated, he replied: “It is not inaccurate.”

Appearing in County Court on Monday, Assistant District Attorney Joshua HaberkornHalm told Judge Richards the prosecution is prepared to take the case to trial.

Mr. McIntosh, who surrendered his driver’s license at the time of the previous plea, was released under the supervision of the Probation Department pending trial.

In other court action Monday, a Monroe County woman indicted on six DWI-related counts earlier this month pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated with two young children in the vehicle.

Marguerite Wilson, 38, Pittsford, allegedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent while driving on Jan. 9 on Route 11 in the town of DeKalb.

Ms. Wilson faces two counts of driving while intoxicated and four counts of aggravated DWI, the latter charges related to the presence of an 8-month-old and an 8-year-old in the vehicle. Indictment documents did not specify her relationship to the children.

Judge Richards said he would instruct the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend Ms. Wilson’s driving privileges after she said she could not surrender her license because it was in a wallet that had been stolen.

She was released under the supervision of probation and allowed to return to Monroe County pending trial.

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