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Massena man warned he needs to take responsibility for his court dates


MASSENA - A Massena man’s effort to fire his court appointed attorney received a cool reception from the village justice.

Timothy F. Trimm, 40, of 187 Center St., Massena, told the court he was upset that his attorney, Denice (Goodrich) Smith had failed to call him and notify him of his court dates. He said his attorney’s failure to inform him of his court dates had nearly resulted in a warrant being put out for his arrest and could have resulted in the forfeiture of $2,500 that had been posted to gain his release from jail.

Village police had charged Trimm with false personation, second-degree forgery and petit larceny June 30, 2012 after he and a co-defendant shoplifted merchandise, including two 24 packs of Bud Light and a 12-pack of Twisted Tea, from Price Chopper.

Trimm identified himself at the time of his arrest on the petit larceny charge as Chris F. Chapion, 37, listing the same day and month of his own birthdate, when he was booked on the petit larceny charge. He also the completed the booking process by signing Mr. Chapion’s name on his fingerprint cards.

Ms. Smith had asked the court to relieve her of representing Trimm, noting he had sworn at her and lacked confidence in her abilities. Mr. Gustafson denied Ms. Smith’s request and told Trimm his conclusions were ill advised. “If you are going to get another attorney, you are going to hire your own and until you hire an attorney she is the only thing between you and a lot of bad things happening to you. The court has full confidence in your attorney. From my perspective, she does one of the better jobs I see here,” the veteran village justice noted.

Trimm reiterated that he was upset he hadn’t received phone calls from his attorney notifying him of his court dates. “I’m tired of this too. I’d like to end it,” he said.

Ms. Smith noted her office had repeatedly sent correspondence to Trimm’s address and most of it had been returned as undeliverable. She also suggested Trimm’s phone number had reportedly changed multiple times since his arrest.

Mr. Gustafson made it clear it was Trimm’s responsibility to contact his attorney if he had questions about his court dates. “The lawyers always go home at night to their own beds. Sometimes if the attorneys don’t know their clients whereabouts the defendants don’t go home to their own beds,” he said.

He also pointed out Ms. Smith’s work had resulted in the reduction of the felony charge to a misdemeanor and an offer that would resulted in Trimm being sentenced to 90 days in the county jail if he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor forgery count. Trimm later rejected that offer.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Corbey A. Terrance, 22, listing address on Malby Avenue and Maiden Lane in Massena, pleaded guilty to a petit larceny count. The court directed the probation department to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Jan. 14.

Terrance allegedly walked past the last point of sale at Walmart on July 12 without paying for a chainsaw and soda. The merchandise was valued at $168.63.

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