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Potsdam man argues he has been falsely accused of forged check charges

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MASSENA - A Potsdam man charged with cashing 11 forged checks that totalled over $6,000 was not pleased when a village justice rejected the defense attorney’s motion to have the case dismissed.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Alison Appleby had filed a motion arguing the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office had failed to meet timeliness requirements for a felony case and had improperly converted the felony charges to misdemeanors.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson ruled from the bench that he had read the decision from Ogdensburg City Court cited in Ms. Appleby’s motion for dismissal.

“In that case, the People had not fulfilled the requirements in 30.30 (announcing readiness for trial within 180 days of a first court appearance). The determining factor in this case was the People have done everything they have to do to be ready for trial,” he said.

His decision did not sit well with Adam Ortiz, who had been removed from the courtroom earlier in the docket for refusing to remove his hat. He argued the judge’s ruling was legally faulty.

“I did fed time, state time. I’m pretty sure I know the law,” he fumed.

Ortiz had initially been charged with third-degree grand larceny and 11 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument after he allegedly cashed 11 checks totaling over $6,000 between July 3, 2012 and July 13, 2012 from the account of Douglas and Dalycee Taillon.

Ortiz, in his statement to police, claimed the checks had been signed and made out of him by A.J. Taillon, whom he said led him to believe the funds were being taken from his trust fund.

“I’m not taking any plea bargains. I’m taking it to trial,” he told the judge. “He’s the one who did all this ... Why am I taking the fall for it?”

The court also changed Ortiz’s securing order after Sheena White told the village justice she wanted the $3,000 she had posted at the time of his arrest returned. Her bail money was returned, and Ms. Appleby asked the court to reduce the bail to $500. She noted her client has appeared in court as directed since his arrest, has no new arrests and the original felony charges had been reduced to misdemeanors.

“I’ve got a grand right here,” Ortiz said, flashing a wad of bills, when the court lowered his bail.

When his appearance before the bench was completed, Ortiz glared at the courtroom security officer, put his hat back on and marched out of the courtroom.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Robert B. Orton, 41, of 3 Clark St., Massena, pleaded guilty to illegally discharging a firearm stemming from an incident at 12:51 a.m. March 13 when he reportedly fired off six rounds from his ,357 revolver at his residence at 3 Clark St. The court directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Sept. 17.

■ Katie M. Mattison, 21, of Maple Street, Massena, pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in a plea bargain agreement that satisfied fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree criminal trespass and disorderly conduct charges. The court directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Sept. 17.

Mattison had been charged with kicking Ptl. Mark Englert and attempting to pull away from his officers when she was being led to a police vehicle after being charged with disorderly conduct at 6:32 p.m. Nov. 7, 2012.

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