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May 4, 2013

DUI fatality suspect held on continuance

The Gloucester woman charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving will continue her stay in a Framingham women’s correctional facility, after a brief appearance in Gloucester District Court led her case to be continued until a June 7 hearing on its status.

The charges against Rebecca Jacques stem from a two-vehicle crash on Essex Avenue that killed Mary E. Lipman, a 52-year-old Ipswich woman late one December night.

The June 7 hearing will likely result in the case moving up to the superior court in Salem, according to Jacques’s court appointed attorney, Kathryn Cox.

“I think this case is going to end up going to Superior Court shortly,” Cox said in court Friday. “If that wasn’t the case, we would proceed.”

Cox expects her client to be arraigned in Salem before the June hearing, she said in court.

A switch to Superior Court, could mean a harsher sentence for Jacques if she is found guilty. Any crime tried in district court can result in a sentence of up to 21/2 years in a house of correction; a Superior Court judge can sentence a defendant to time in a state prison for up to a life sentence.

While some cases clearly fall into either district court or superior court jurisdiction, other “concurrent jurisdiction” charges could be appropriately tried in either court, and must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Jacques, who has a long list of prior offenses, including multiple license suspensions, allegedly had been driving drunk while her license was suspended on the night of the crash.

Initially, Jacques faced a charge of driving negligently to cause death, but that charged was bumped up to the current felony charge of vehicular homicide in February after prosecutors received the results of a Dec. 19 crime lab report indicating that Jacques’ blood alcohol level at the time of the crash measured 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.

Jacques’s bail doubled to $50,000 with that change in the charge, and she has remained in jail since that time.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451.

, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.

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