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Massena man says judge’s decision to send him to jail is ignorant

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MASSENA - A Massena man awaiting sentencing on an attempted menacing conviction was fired up when he learned he was being sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility on $1,000 bail pending sentencing on May 21.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson told Bobby C. Page Jr., 26, of 33 McCluskey Ave., Apt. 6, he was prepared to move forward with sentencing for the second-degree attempted menacing conviction, but he would postpone that action until the Massena man’s attorney was present.

The village justice was looking at a memorandum from the probation department that indicated Page had missed numerous appointments over the past eight months to meet with the probation department for the pre-sentence investigation interview, including an interview on April 12.

Page told the told the village justice he was in court this week for an unlawful possession of marijuana charge and suggested he still had plenty of time to address the issues related to his scheduled May 21 appearance for sentencing on the attempted menacing count. “The court told me I didn’t have court on that charge until May 21,” Page reiterated.

But Mr. Gustafson, who had learned Page had failed to appear for a pre-sentence interview as recently as April 12, said it was time to move forward with the attempted menacing count.

“My inclination is to just sentence you and be done with it, but I don’t want to do that without your attorney being present,” he said, setting bail at $1,000.

Page was stunned by the justice’s decision. “I’m going back to jail?” he asked.

“Whatever. Why are you putting me in jail” It’s ignorant if you ask me. People with 17 ... felonies aren’t in jail. I came to court. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do,” he fumed.

“Pretty much, you are not,” Mr. Gustafson countered.

Page became more agitated and started sprinkling his commentary with colorful adjectives before a court office led him out of the courtroom.

The St. Lawrence County Probation Department noted it had received orders from village court to conduct the pre-sentence investigation on Aug. 21, 2012 and Nov. 21, 2012. “In both instances, the requests were returned to the court due to the defendant failing to cooperate,” Probation Director Edward C. Gauthier wrote in a memorandum to the court.

Page blamed the probation department for the November issue during an appearance before Mr. Gustafson later that month.

Page said the probation department had waited almost two months to schedule his pre-sentence interview, and he was unable to garner transportation to Canton on the scheduled date.

“They waited until the last minute to schedule it. I’ve been doing everything I can. I’m dealing with my problems. I just wasn’t able to make it that day,” he told the court in November.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker had noted at that time Page’s version of the events contradicted the facts contained in the probation department memorandum.

Mr. Becker had said Page has an extensive criminal history and recommended he be sentenced to 90 days in the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and sign an order of protection directing him to stay away from the woman he had threatened with the knife.

Mr. Gustafson had warned Page there would be consequences if he failed to comply with the probation department’ request. “Let me tell you this,” he warned Page in November. “You have been to court enough for me to have a pretty good handle of what is going on. If the pre-sentence investigation is not done, I will use everything left in the arsenal.”

Page assured the court the pre-sentence interview would be completed. “I guarantee it will be done,” he said in November.

It wasn’t and sentencing was later extended from January to the May 21 date.

Mr. Gauthier, in his mid-April memo to the court, said another appointment letter was mailed to Page on April 4 scheduling an appointment for April 12. “The defendant didn’t appear or call requesting to change the scheduled appointment. As of this writing (April 15), the defendant has not had contact with this department,” Mr. Gauthier said, noting Page had also failed to request to have his previous appointments rescheduled.

“The defendant was given ample opportunities during the course of the last eight months to have his psi completed, and he has failed to be compliant. The defendant historically has been uncooperative with legal authority, displaying a contemptuous attitude toward the judicial system. The defendant is not suitable for community supervision,” the probation directed concluded.

Page had been charged in June 2012 with threatening a neighbor in his apartment building with a steak knife.

Village police had charged Page with second-degree menacing.

Police said Page went to Sheri Colburn’s Water Street apartment, displayed a steak knife he pulled out of his pocket and threatened to stab her after she confronted him about reports he had urinated on her door earlier in the day. She said he denied that allegation, pulled the knife from his pocket and started waving it around and shouting that he should stab her.

Adam Gauthier, who told police he had been drinking with Page that day, said he separated Page from Ms. Colburn and escorted his acquaintance back to his apartment.

Ms. Colburn, in the statement she signed for police, said Page had come to her apartment at around noon, and she had asked him to leave. She said she had left a short time later to run errands and had received a phone call from her son, Andrew Van Guilder, informing her Page had urinated on her door.

She said Page returned to her apartment door shortly after she returned home that afternoon.

In other recent court action before Judge Gustafson:

■ Keith W. Snyder, 21, of 405 South Main St., Massena, appeared on an aggravated harassment charge pending in village court. He was sent back to the county jail, where he is being held on alleged violation of probation by St. Lawrence County Court.

■ Edward J. Slade, 22, of 57 Grove St., Massena, was fined $25 and an $85 surcharge for using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle on March 1. He was sent back to the county jail, where he is being held pending sentencing on a third-degree forgery conviction in St. Lawrence County Court.

■ Dean J. Maza, 36, listing addresses in Massena and Hackensack, N.J., was fined $200 and an $85 surcharge for operation of a vehicle without a mandated interlock device following a driving while intoxicated conviction.

■ Joshua J. Love, 22, of 81 Chase St., Massena, waived his felony sex charges up to county court. He was charged on April 25 with third-degree criminal sex act, third-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of unlawfully dealing with a child stemming from an investigation into a Jan. 11-12 incident involving a 16-year-old female. He also allegedly provided alcohol to a second 16-year-old female that same night.

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