CANTON A state appellate court reinstated a felony assault charge Thursday against a Massena man accused of punching a St. Lawrence County sheriffs deputy in the face in 2009.
As Terry A. DeRouchie, 44, was leaving a Family Court hearing on May 22, 2009, he allegedly became angry and threatened his ex-wife with a metal cane. Instead of dropping the cane as requested, Mr. DeRouchie is accused of threatening a court officer with it, then getting into his car parked outside the St. Lawrence County Courthouse.
Seeking to prevent Mr. DeRouchie from driving away, the officer called for backup. Deputy Lester LaSala responded to the scene, but suffered a cut under his eye when Mr. DeRouchie exited his vehicle, then kicked and punched the deputy, according to court documents.
The deputy was treated at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, and released.
Mr. DeRouchie then was charged with felony second-degree assault and second-degree harassment, a violation, which were filed in Village Court. He was indicted after the assault charge was presented to a grand jury, but the harassment charge remained pending in the court.
On Jan. 19, 2010, Mr. DeRouchie pleaded guilty to the violation and received a one-year conditional discharge and a $375 fine. His defense then moved to have the felony charge dismissed, contending that further prosecution was precluded by the double jeopardy statute.
County Judge Jerome J. Richards agreed and tossed the charge in February 2010, but it was reinstated by a state appellate court Thursday.
Mr. DeRouchie and his defense failed to ask for the charges to be joined together, the court ruled. Had they, double jeopardy would have applied.
The court also found the situation fell within an exception in the law, which states that a person may not be separately prosecuted for two offenses based upon the same act or criminal transaction unless ... each offense involves death, injury, loss or other consequence to a different victim.
Because there were indeed two victims in Mr. DeRouchies case, the court reversed Judge Richardss dismissal, sending the case back to St. Lawrence County Court.