Man admits violating probation, can’t vacate felony plea

CANTON — A Massena man was denied his opportunity to vacate a felony plea after admitting to violations of his interim probation Monday in St. Lawrence County Court, but was granted leniency, avoiding prison, when he admitted to needing help for his addictions.

Joseph D. Mitchell, 23, of 237 Route 37, admitted to violating his April 29 one year of interim probation for his guilty plea to felony first-degree criminal contempt.

On June 9, Mr. Mitchell violated a May 9, 2018 order of protection out of Louisville Town Court in favor of his brother, Anthony Brewer, whom he injured in an assault.

As part of his original plea deal with the district attorney’s office, had Mr. Mitchell complied with his interim probation terms and conditions, he would have earned the opportunity to vacate his felony plea and plead guilty to a misdemeanor and be sentenced to straight probation.

Among the alleged violations, Mr. Mitchell admitted to the court that while he followed through with treatment and complied with many of the conditions, he had failed to report to probation as required and tested positive for marijuana use.

“I thought I had a handle on things, but I messed up,” he said, telling County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards that he had not been on his medication since July, which was when “things started backfiring on me.”

Mr. Mitchell lost his chance to plead to the misdemeanor and was convicted on the felony plea, but his plea for another chance so that he could address his addictions was heard, as he was then sentenced directly to five years of probation and was ordered to pay $375 in court fines, fees and surcharges.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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