Relapsing defendants test court’s patience and land behind bars

NORWICH – Two people were scheduled to appear in Chenango County court Tuesday with the possibility they would be more lenient treatment for their drug- motivated crimes. Instead, both defendants admitted they’d violated court orders with their continued substance abuse and both were placed behind bars.

“We can’t tolerate people breaking the law just because they’re drug users,” Supreme Court Judge Kevin M. Dowd told one defendant after revoking the possibility of attending Chenango County Drug Court. He sentenced the defendant to state prison after the teen tested positive for marijuana use while applying for the program.

First to appear was admitted drunk driver 49-year-old Terri M. Furgeson, who pleaded guilty and was released in October on the condition she not drink alcohol. She was due to report back to the court to receive sentence in January; Dowd had said he would consider a lighter term if she remained out of trouble.

But Furgeson was arrested again on her birthday, Dec. 13, in the Town of Afton for driving while intoxicated and operating a reportedly stolen car. Although arrested in Chenango, the stolen car was a Broome County case and is pending in Broome County Court. She was indicted for another charge of felony DWI by a Chenango County grand jury Wednesday.

Furgeson spoke at length in court about how the arrest was a misunderstanding, but she did admit to consuming alcohol, a violation of the terms of her original release.

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