Publisher released from jail after serving 180 days of sentence
- The publisher of a sporadically produced newspaper and long-time critic of officials in Warren County served time in jail for filing a false harassment complaint.
Editor’s note: Maxam’s conviction was later overturned because she was denied counsel and was not present during a court hearing on the case. The charges were completely dismissed in December 2005.
May 21, 2003 — June Maxam, who has published the North Country Gazette in Chestertown, New York, since 1981, was released from the Warren County jail April 30 after completing six months of a nine-month sentence. Her latest incarceration was for 100 days. She served 80 days of the sentence in 2000 before being released on a stay.
She was ordered to complete the sentence after a state appellate court in January rejected her appeal of felony convictions for falsely accusing her neighbors, Donald and Eleanor Lambert, of harassment.
But Maxam maintains that her news coverage of officials in Chestertown and of the Warren County Sheriff lead them to seek retribution against her. Since 1985, according to Maxam she has had run-ins with county and city officials over stories published in her newspaper.
She plans to contest her conviction through a civil rights lawsuit in federal court.
“[Going to jail] was waste of my time and a waste of taxpayers money all because I challenged the system,” Maxam said. “And I’m gonna challenge it more.”
(New York v. Maxam) — JL
© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press