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Gouverneur court security is improved

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GOUVERNEUR — Gouverneur Town Court has improved security after two defendants created a scene in the courtroom earlier this month.

Ryan M. Weir, 31, of 271-A Talcville Road, Edwards, and Bryant R. Depompe, 25, of 336 County Route 11, Gouverneur, were each charged with disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal contempt March 7 after they refused to calm down and obey the instructions of St. Lawrence County deputies who were in the courtroom in the village municipal building.

“It got out of control,” Mayor Ronald P. McDougall said. “Our police chief is an ex-Marine so we got control. We are going to have order.”

The courtroom was packed with about 75 people or more and there was a problem with crowd control, Sheriff Kevin M. Wells said.

To improve security, the courtroom was rearranged so that the bench is adjacent to judicial chambers, town Supervisor Robert R. Ritchie said.

Chairs in the gallery were swung around and a separate area was made for prisoners apart from visitors where the judge’s bench used to be.

The court is a function of town government but is held in the village municipal building.

A private consultation area for attorneys to meet with clients will be in the former firefighter recreation room across from the courtroom. Attorneys and others will no longer be allowed to mill around the judge’s office unless invited. On high volume court days, village police will provide security.

“We haven’t made a formal agreement but it’s already been instituted,” Mr. McDougall said.

Other busy courts also have security, Sheriff Wells said.

Ogdensburg City Court has security provided through the Office of Court Administration. In Massena, a retired village police officer provides courtroom security.

“We do not expect any more problems,” Sheriff Wells said. “I’m more than pleased with the town and village.”

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