Press-Republican

December 6, 2012

Court ruling: Tupper Lake man not fit to stand trial

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — A man housed at the Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office facility in Tupper Lake was deemed unfit to stand trial for allegedly sexually abusing a female staff member.

Eric Duprey, 26, was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury in November for first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree unlawful imprisonment, stemming from an incident May 25.

During the alleged event, Duprey was told by a female Sunmount employee to leave a certain area, but he did not, according to Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.

Instead, he reportedly concealed himself close to the woman’s door, sneaked inside the room and allowed her no place to go.

“He had diminished mental capacity, but I felt he was street smart,” the DA said. “This took planning, and he knew what he was doing and what he wanted, but he did not meet all of the six criteria to be classified as fit.”

SIX CRITERIA

Champagne said a hearing was held to determine Duprey’s ability to stand trial, when his case was examined by three mental-health professionals.

Two spoke with him, and one was not able to finish the exam.

There are six criteria on which they base their opinions, and all must be met to declare a person fit, including: his or her orientation to time and place; understanding of the criminal-courts process; ability to establish a relationship with an attorney, listen to the advice of the attorney and weigh the legal options as outlined by the attorney; and being able to withstand the pressure of a trial.

One doctor was prepared to testify Duprey was fit, a second felt he was not able to help himself, and a forensic psychologist was ready to say he was unfit after a review of the file and paperwork.

The first doctor, who had not seen five reports that the other two doctors were provided, later read those documents and determined from the new information that Duprey was actually not fit, in his opinion.

PREVIOUS ACCUSATION

Champagne said that doctor filed paperwork with the court to amend his report with his new finding, and once that is accepted, County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr. can hand down a temporary order of observation that would send Duprey for further psychiatric evaluation and treatment for 90 days.

The mental-health staff treating him would make a report at the end of the time period with a recommendation on his ability to proceed to trial or continue treatment for another six months, the DA said.

Once that time is up, another evaluation would be provided to the court, at which time the judge could commit him to treatment for a year. After that, the case would be reviewed and reported to the court every two years, Champagne said.

Duprey had been sent to Sunmount from Clinton County, where he had been accused of another instance of unwanted sexual contact.  

Email Denise A. Raymo: draymo@pressrepublican.com