Highland Falls man gets DWI jail time

County Court, 48 Court St, Canton, NY.

CANTON — An Ogdensburg woman who a jury found guilty of drug possession following an October trial was sentenced to prison Monday in St. Lawrence County Court, but her attorney said he will file a motion to overturn that verdict by week’s end due to an alleged “improper relationship” between her and her previous attorney.

Kelsey Rubadue, 26, of 3857 County Route 6, Hermon, was sentenced as a second-felony offender to eight years in prison and five years of post-release supervision for her Oct. 2 guilty verdict of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine.

It took the jury less than two hours to find her guilty following nearly a week of testimony in a trial that began Sept. 27.

The charges against Ms. Rubadue stem from an April 2 Ogdensburg City Police raid at the 717 Knox St., Ogdensburg, residence of her co-defendants, Harold and Melissa Planty, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Police recovered a one-pot methamphetamine lab as well as several components of those labs.

Mr. Planty, 44, and Mrs. Planty, 41, each took a plea deal with the district attorney’s office.

Ms. Rubadue was previously convicted on May 25, 2017, in St. Lawrence County Court of third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine.

Ms. Rubadue declined a deal on Sept. 9 to plead guilty to the reduced third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charge, with the court committing to send her to prison for five years with three years of post-release supervision. The court would have also recommended the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to allow her to participate in any programs they deem her eligible for.

Ms. Rubadue was originally represented by assigned counsel attorney Daniel C. Ramsey; however, on Oct. 25 he was removed from the case by County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards.

The judge said that there was an “improper relationship” between Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Rubadue in the form of a series of text messages that were sexual in nature, while he was representing her, which he said he read after Ms. Rubadue turned them over to the authorities following her guilty verdict.

Mr. Ramsey declined to comment on the allegations.

Mr. Ramsey was suspended from receiving assignments under the county’s assigned counsel program and was advised by Judge Richards during the Oct. 25 appearance to provide the court with a list of all of the clients that he has been representing in all of the courts in the county on criminal charges, which were reassigned to new counsel.

Judge Richards assigned attorney Thomas C. Finnerty, who, during sentencing Tuesday, said that he will be filing motions by the end of the week, one that will look to overturn the verdict due to the nature of the allegations against Mr. Ramsey. He said he will also be seeking to file a motion appealing her conviction.

Judge Richards told Ms. Rubadue that while he didn’t know what the conversation was between her and her former attorney, pertaining to what could happen if she chose to go to trial, had he been the attorney defending her, “I would have been much more conservative in my report to you at what the possibilities were.”

He said there were an estimated 50 meth-related arrests in the county in 2019 and that the media coverage of the problem in the county was a factor that played against her at trial.

“When the proof is presented, jurors are not likely to overlook whether or not a defendant has committed the crime,” Judge Richards told Ms. Rubadue Tuesday. “Based upon the evidence that was presented, you were involved. I agree with Mr. Finnerty, there are two issues, maybe more, that an appeal can address, however that doesn’t change the fact that as you sit here you stand convicted of an A-II felony as a second-felony drug offender.”

In addition to her prison sentence, Ms. Rubadue had $389.61 in court fines, fees and surcharges and $292.22 restitution reduced to judgment.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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