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August 2008 Archives

Jury Hangs on 19 Count Gross Sexual Assault Trial

For those of you who have been wondering where I have been, I've been in a wave of jury trials. This past week, I was in a 19 count Gross Sexual Assault (GSA) and Unlawful Sexual Contact (USC) trial. The GSA and USC counts are Class A crimes, which is the highest level of crime in Maine, other than Murder. The GSA counts, of which there were 10, each carried a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence.
Obviously, this was a crucially important case for our client - his very life was on the line. We were facing a very difficult case, however. This allegation was from a 10 year old girl, and there was a notch on her hymen that the State's expert, Dr. Lawrence Ricci, Director of the Spurwink Child Abuse Program, said was consistent with evidence of a prior penetrating trauma. I spent a significant amount of time doing medical research for Dr. Ricci's cross examination. On cross examination, Dr. Ricci acknowledged that the injuries were not diagnostic for sexual abuse, that there is a difference between a superficial and deep notch in the hymen, that superficial notches would not be consistent with prior penetrating trauma, and that the injuries could have pre-dated the time of the alleged sexual contact.
Obviously, there were other witnesses to conquer as well. The alleged victim testified very powerfully on direct. We spent a lot of time discrediting her testimony on cross. Likewise, we cross-examined and presented witnesses on our own to support our theory of the case - that this is a lie that snowballed based on a horrible custody case.
The jury was out for over a day and deadlocked. Ultimately they hung. A hung jury, especially in a case such as this, is a big win for the defense, and my client walked out of the courtroom with me - still a free man. ~Tim

Operating After Suspension for Operating Under the Influence Deferred Disposition

Last week, ZERILLO LAW, LLC Attorney Amy Robidas received a deferred disposition for our client on a second offense of Operating After Suspension (OAS) for Operating Under the Influence (OUI). If you have followed news on OAS sentences in Maine over the last few years, you know how tough these cases have become. Second offense OUI's routinely involve jail sentences. Here, a second offense OAS for OUI is even tougher, by Attorney Robidas was able to successfully negotiate a deferred disposition for our client. ~Tim