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Duell wins primary vote for justice, but state official says she's ineligible

THURMAN Real estate agent and investor Glenda Duell won a Republican primary election Sept. 9 for Thurman Town Justice, but a state official said days later that she likely wouldnt be able to serve in the post if voters choose her again in the November general election. Duells predicament is that she was convicted in 1997 of 136 felony counts in a controversial case in Essex County in which the state argued she knowingly allowed human waste from a broken septic system on her property to flow into a public stream. State law, however, bars people convicted of felonies from serving as town justices, and they are deemed permanently ineligible as candidates for the post. The details are spelled out in Section 21-5 of state Town Law, state Office of Court Administration spokeswoman Kali Holloway said Friday. A person who has been convicted of a felony may not hold the seat of town justice in the state of New York, she said. Holloway said that if a convicted felon won a general election, they would not survive the basic vetting process prior to the required class work. As the top vote-getter in the Primary, Duell is now slated to be on the Republican line at the Nov. 4 general election for Thurman Town Justice. She is opposed only by independent candidate Filomena Riviello. Duell garnered 42 votes in the Primary, defeating Douglas J. Collignon Sr. who had 34 votes and Carolyn Grotevant, who had 32. According to public court documents, the court leveled Duell $68,000 in fines and sentenced her to six months in prison. Duell said she only served 45 days and was required to pay only a fraction of the fine. She and other property-rights advocates had objected to the charges, the trial and convictions, and advocacy groups adopted her cause and created a legal defense fund raising over $150,000, she said. Duell has described the States case as a sham. Warren County Republican Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said Friday that it is not the jurisdiction of the county Board of Elections to police candidates backgrounds. The board of elections oversees the election process, not who is on the ballot, Casey said. We provide the process. Casey directed all other questions to the state Office of Court Administration, the institution that has jurisdictional oversight capacity over town court conduct and function statewide. Duell said she had not decided what she was doing about her candidacy at this point, because she hadnt yet heard about the states ban on convicted felons serving as town justices. Regardless of the legal question of her ineligibility, Duell said she was pleased with the outcome of the Primary vote. Im grateful for the win, she said. Im glad there was a good turn out and Id like to thank everyone for their support. In the only other Primary election in northern Warren County, Joseph Dooris won 141 votes to Dennis Bolton Sr.s 110, securing the Republican slot on the November ballot for an open Horicon Town Board seat. Correspondent Jon Alexander contributed to this report.

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