Former State Supreme Court Judge arrested for felony DWI


James P. Dawson

WESTPORT — Former Essex County State Supreme Court Justice James P. Dawson, 68, of Elizabethtown was remanded to Essex County Jail on Sunday, Jan. 5 charged with a felony DWI.

It was Dawson’s second DWI arrest in the past 10 years, making it an automatic felony.

Dawson was charged after being involved in a single-car accident Sunday, Jan. 5 on County Route 8 in the hamlet of Wadhams.

According to state police, Dawson was found attempting to drive his 2009 Chevy Impala with three blown tires around 3:05 p.m. Sunday.

When state police arrived, Dawson alledgedly refused to exit the vehicle, resisted arrest and refused to take a breathalyzer.

Officers also noted an open whiskey bottle in the vehicle.

Dawson was officially cited for a total of six infractions: consuming alcohol inside the vehicle; refusal to take a field testing breathalyzer; speed not reasonable and prudent; failure to keep right; moving from lane unsafely and driving while intoxicated.

His license was immediately revoked upon refusing to take a blood alcohol level test at the police station in Lewis.

An Essex County Court Judge from 1992-94, Dawson went on to become a State Supreme Court Justice until 2008.

On Sept. 30, 2010, Dawson was pulled over on the Adirondack Northway in Saratoga County and was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.27 percent, three times the legal limit (.08).

Dawson was released on $5,000 bail on Monday, Jan. 6.

Called for comment, Dawson declined to come to the phone.

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