Trial at Ovid courthouse for first time in 35 years

On August 9-10, 2012, the historic County Courthouse in Ovid was the site of a criminal jury trial for the first time in over 35 years. Ovid Town Justice Louis Van Cleef presided over the trial in which it was alleged that a breath test of the driver showed a .09% blood-alcohol content level. The prosecutor was Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch, who presented one witness, a State Trooper, and several exhibits. The defendant was represented by Ithaca criminal defense lawyer James Baker, who called four witnesses, including an expert medical witness. The jury, after several hours of deliberations, returned a guilty verdict for driving while intoxicated and speeding.Use of the courtroom for the trial was obtained through the efforts of Ovid Town Supervisor Walt Prouty. The Courthouse, affectionately known as “Papa Bear,” is the largest of three Greek-Revival style buildings, commonly called the “Three Bears,” situated on a knoll overlooking a public square in the Village of Ovid. The Courthouse was erected in 1845 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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