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February 2008 Archives

Assault Case Filed

I was successfully able to negotiate a filing for my client on an assault case in the York County Superior Court today. This filing means that the case will be dismissed against my client in 6 months if he doesn't have any new criminal charges. This means he will have no record, which was important because he could have lost his job otherwise. ~Tim Zerillo

More on Manslaughter Case Resolution

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008
Kevin Atkins, right, sits with attorney Tim Zerillo as he awaits sentencing Monday at York County Superior Court in Alfred. Atkins pled guilty on one count of Class A Manslaughter and one count of Class C criminal OUI in the Sept. 1, 2006 death of Saco resident Normand Audie.
JEFF LAGASSE / JOURNAL TRIBUNEAtkins sentenced to15 months in Audie deathAtkins sentenced to 15 months in Audie death
ALFRED -- Former Kennebunk resident Kevin Atkins was sentenced on Monday in connection with a fatal car accident in Saco. The collision on Sept. 1, 2006 took the life of 21-year-old Saco resident Normand Audie, the son of former Biddeford police officer Bruce Audie.

Atkins, 34, pled guilty to one count of Class A Manslaughter and one count of Class C criminal OUI. He was sentenced to 10 years in the York County Jail, with all but 15 months suspended, followed by three years of probation.

Atkins, who has moved to Buxton since the accident, was sentenced to six months for criminal OUI, to be served concurrently with 15 months for manslaughter, along with a $2,100 fine and a six-year suspension of his driver's license. After sentencing, Zerillo said he expects Atkins will spend about a year in jail.

After hearing from Assistant District Attorney Thad West, Justice G. Arthur Brennan followed the recommendation of Atkins' attorney Tim Zerillo regarding the count of manslaughter.

Addressing Atkins and the court, Brennan stated that the distinction between a regular OUI and criminal negligence was "acting without regard to the risks," which he said applied to Atkins' case.

Atkins showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down.

Before sentencing, several of Audie's family members addressed the court.

"I can tell you that this will not provide closure for my family," said a visibly upset Bruce Audie. "It only closes a chapter in our lives - lives that have been changed forever."

Audie's sister Katie also spoke, her comments eliciting sobs from the throng of family members seated behind her.

"He was my best friend, and my protector," said Katie Audie, who was nine months pregnant with Audie's nephew when he lost his life. "When my brother was killed, a piece of my heart was killed, too.

"He wanted to teach my son his first words," she said. "Now he will never even hold him."

On the evening of his death, Audie was returning from an event kicking off Biddeford's participation in National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

Brennan told the family that remembering Audie will, at first, be painful, but time will ease that pain. Children in the Audie family who will never meet him will feel a measure of familiarity and kinship with him through the stories of his life, said Brennan.

The Audie family made it clear, though, that acceptance is still a long way off.
"I think about him constantly," said Bruce Audie.
-- Contact Jeff Lagasse by calling 282-1535, ext. 318, or by e-mail at jlagassejt@gwi.net.
From the Journal Tribune. This article can also be accessed at www.journaltribune.com

Manslaughter Case Resolved with 15 Month Sentence

State v. Kevin A., there are no winners, only losers. In that case, there was a death of a 19 year old young man after an auto accident with my client who had a .12 blood alcohol content. The 19 year old victim was the son of a long-time local law enforcement officer who had a very well-respected family. My client had a prior OUI 13 years prior and no other criminal record.
Ultimately, we arrived at a plea that was very fair, and involved incarcerating my client for 15 months. It does not please me to see a client go to jail, but this plea deal, along with 3 years of probation, offered my client the ability to have some certainty related to what could have been a much longer sentence (up to 20 years for a manslaughter).
Some might say that this is too light a sentence for a manslaughter. Of course, that is not really for a criminal defense lawyer to ponder, but is a question for others. That said, this family, and specifically the father of the victim, seem to recognize something that I rarely see in cases like this. They understand, and specifically the victim's father spoke about, the fact that a long incarceration period for my client will not bring their son back. Often, I see blind anger by alleged victims and their families, and a thirst for retribution. This was a mature and thoughtful approach by the victim's family to a heartbreaking situation. I wish all the victim's and victim's families I dealt with were as well-reasoned and forgiving.
This is not to say that they didn't want to see punishment. They wanted my client to take responsibility for his actions, which he did. Over and over again in sentencing memos in cases where a client's sentence is unknown I find myself writing the following to judge's: justice is only justice if it is tempered with mercy. The victim's family in this case understands this concept better than most.
This is not to say that my client is an evil person. Quite the contrary. He is a kind, hard-working person who made a mistake. Once it is understood that people can make mistakes and still be good people, jail sentences become less of a must have and more of a last resort. Teaching people to not repeat mistakes is the key.
Either way, there are no winners in this one. My client goes to jail for 15 months and the victim's family is without their son. That said, this is probably closer to justice than we would have any other way.

Obstructing Report of a Crime Filed

Why is Amy Robidas so happy? Because she had an Obstructing Report of a Crime filed today. Originally, this case was charged as a Domestic Violence Assault. We convinced the D.A. that they could not prove the assault. We modified bail so that our client could live with the alleged victim. They changed the charge to Obstructing Report of a Crime. Today, Amy was able to get that case filed for $200 in Court costs.