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Sun., Dec. 21
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Two avoid prison with Jefferson County Drug Court referrals

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Two people who admitted Thursday in Jefferson County Court to selling illegal drugs avoided potential state prison sentences by being referred to Drug Court.

Robert J. Dalton II, 26, whose last known address was 100 W. Remington St., Apt. A, Black River, and Christine A. Countryman, 47, whose last known address was 622 Gotham St., both pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance as a result of separate incidents.

Mr. Dalton was charged in a grand jury indictment unsealed in court Feb. 25 with selling heroin within the county in early November. Ms. Countryman was charged in an indictment unsealed Feb. 20 with selling cocaine in mid-September and again about a week later.

Both were referred to Drug Court, a substance abuse rehabilitation program designed to serve as an alternative to incarceration.

If Mr. Dalton successfully completes the program, his guilty plea will be vacated and he will be allowed to plead guilty to the lower-level felony of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He then would be sentenced to five years’ probation. If he is unsuccessful, the original conviction will stand and he faces a sentence of two years in prison, followed by an additional two years of supervision upon his release.

If Ms. Countryman completes the program, her guilty plea similarly will be vacated and she will be allowed to plead guilty to the same lower-level felony count as Mr. Dalton. She, too, then would be sentenced to five years’ probation. However, if she fails to complete Drug Court, she will be sentenced to five years in prison, followed by three years’ post-release supervision.

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