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DA race tops county elections; county coroner has three vying for two seats

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CANTON — The race for St. Lawrence County district attorney has been a battle about who will be more efficient in the office.

Democratic incumbent Nicole M. Duve is seeking her third term and has campaigned on her two decades of experience in criminal law, her administration’s bringing in over $1 million in grant and forfeiture money and her designation as a special assistant U.S. attorney, which she said enables her to prosecute cross-border crimes and to focus on the region’s drug problems.

Ms. Duve attributes her experience in numerous trials and her former job as a Potsdam town judge among her top qualifications. She said while in office the number of violent crimes reported to the police in the county has dropped 42 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

But Ms. Duve has taken heavy criticism from her opponent, Republican Mary E. Rain. Ms. Rain maintains Ms. Duve has failed to prosecute effectively, that her office is plagued by disorganization and disengagement, and “needs an overhaul.”

Ms. Rain, who has spent three decades working as a police officer, prosecutor, and defense attorney said the county has seen too many crimes where victims are treated poorly and left by the wayside. Her platform includes a focus on timely prosecutions, technological upgrades, and improved communications with law enforcement partners.

Questions of Ms. Rain’s ability to handle the district attorney’s office have been raised because of her resignation as public defender. At that time, she said it was the overwhelming workload that persuaded her to leave the position, adding that she felt she could do a more effective job in private practice with flexible hours.

Ms. Rain went on paid administrative leave in September 2011 while the county reviewed a position change made in March of that year that stripped her of the operational oversight of her office. She resigned in October.

During her campaign, Ms. Rain said she left the office because she had “full knowledge” that she was going to run for district attorney.

The only other countywide race is for St. Lawrence County Coroner, where three candidates will vie for two seats.

Republican incumbent June H. Wood, Hopkinton, is in her third term as a coroner. She is a licensed funeral home director, a member of the Parishville-Hopkinton Fire Rescue & Dive Team, a rescue squad captain in critical care, an advanced emergency medical technician with Tri-Town Rescue Squad and an instructor in advanced EMT at SUNY Canton. She assists at autopsies and is accredited as a medical/legal death scene investigator through the New York State Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners.

Republican candidate Kevin J. Crosby, Morristown, is chief of the Morristown Fire Department, an emergency medical technician and superintendent of public works in the village of Morristown.

Democratic candidate Eric J. Warner, Lisbon, who has held his funeral director license since 2002, is also an organist for St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ogdensburg.

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