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October 2008 Archives

Deferred Disposition in Felony Case Where House Shot

I am pleased to announce that, prior to trial yesterday, I was able to negotiate a Deferred Disposition on felony cases resulting from my client shooting a house during muzzle-loading hunting season. My client was charged with Aggravated Criminal Mischief and Reckless Conduct with a Dangerous Weapon, both felonies, and violation of hunting regulations. Conviction of a Class C Reckless Conduct with a Dangerous Weapon would have landed my client in the jail for a 1 year minimum that could not be suspended. Instead, we struck a deal where my client would take a hunter safety class and not hunt for 2 years other than to bow hunt. My client will avoid all felonies, have no jail time and no probation as a result of this deal. ~Tim

Motion for Contempt Successful

Today, I successfully brought a Motion for Contempt in a divorce case. Attorney Amy Robidas from ZERILLO LAW, LLC got an order of spousal support against the husband in a divorce case in June. This support had not been paid entirely. We filed a Motion for Contempt and had a hearing today. The Judge found the husband in contempt, ordered gave him 90 days to pay the past due balance or he would be sent to jail. ~Tim

Felony Gambling Case Dismissed During Trial

Yesterday I blogged that I was in trial on a felony Aggravated Unlawful Gambling case. In my view, the State had no evidence of my client's control over the video poker machines or that he ever received one dime from them. In a rare (and brave) move, the presiding justice threw the entire case out with prejudice based on a discovery violation, and our clients walked out of court, free men. Here is a link to the News Report on the dismissal from WCHS Channel 6 (NBC):http://www.wcsh6.com/video/default.aspx?maven_playerId=immersiveplayer&maven_referralPlaylistId=cafdb934628059c18e26dd9a027efa9126a37983&maven_referralObject=881300549Here is a copy of the Portland Press Herald article by David Hench:Felony gambling case dismissed against former Eagles' officers The prosecutors' failure to share evidence is called an 'egregious' violation. By DAVID HENCH, Staff WriterOctober 8, 2008The felony gambling case against two former officers of the Portland Eagles was dismissed Wednesday after prosecutors failed to share all their evidence for the case with the defense.Defense lawyers said that Superior Court Justice Roland Cole dismissed the charges against Richard S. Brichetto, 63, and Martin Piacitelli, 54, calling the failure of the prosecution to share all of its evidence before trial an "egregious" violation of discovery rules.The charges stem from a 2004 undercover operation in which Maine State Police Detective David Armstrong infiltrated the club at 184 St. John St. and said he was able to watch club members collecting payoffs when they won at video poker. The case culminated in a raid on Jan. 14, 2006, when police seized $23,000 as well as video machines and records.Prosecutors won an indictment against the club itself in 2006, and the entity entered a guilty plea, forfeited $23,000 and paid a $60,000 fine.The state then went after members of the club, winning indictments against 10 members, including Brichetto, who was chairman of the club's board of directors, and Piacitelli, who was club president. All of the others reached plea agreements that led to the charges' being filed without disposition with the agreement that they would not become officers in any other fraternal organization, attorneys said."Neither one of these guys had any more power than the other guys that were indicted," said Piacitelli's lawyer, Tim Zerillo. "We never understood why they were singled out."To win its case, the state would have had to prove that Brichetto and Piacitelli received more than $1,000 in gambling revenue in a 24-hour period, the requirement for the Class B charge of aggravated unlawful gambling, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.One state witness described how he used the club's records to conclude how much the two defendants had taken in. Under cross-examination by Daniel Lilley, Brichetto's lawyer, it was revealed that those records had not been made available to the defense."They had boxes of stuff they held back," Lilley said after the dismissal.Lilley said the case against the two former officers was weak at the outset."This case was going nowhere fast. There was no evidence. It was guilt by association," he said.Both Lilley and Zerillo said their clients were not in a position to oversee or promote the use of video gambling machines for money.Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:dhench@pressherald.com

Tim Representing Eagles Member In Gambling Trial this Week

Enclosed is an article today from Portland Press Herald writer David Hench about a trial I am in this week. I represent the former President of the Eagles Club in Portland who is accused of 4 Counts of Aggravated Unlawful Gambling in the Cumberland County Superior Court. Following is the Press Herald article:
Two members of Eagles club go on trial
By DAVID HENCH, Staff Writer October 7, 2008
The trial of two members of the Portland Eagles charged with felony gambling will resume today, after Monday's opening arguments and jury selection.
The charges stem from a 2004 undercover operation in which Maine State Police Detective David Armstrong infiltrated the club at 184 St. John St. and said he was able to watch club members collecting payoffs when they won at video poker. The case culminated in a raid on Jan. 14, 2006, when police seized $23,000 as well as video machines and records.
Prosecutors won an indictment against the club itself in 2006, and the entity entered a guilty plea, forfeited $23,000, paid a $60,000 fine and agreed to hold no games of chance for one year.
After the guilty plea by the Portland Eagles, prosecutors obtained indictments for 10 club members and some current or former club officers. Most of those cases have been resolved, said lawyer Tim Zerillo, who represents defendant Martin Piacitelli.
Richard S. Brichetto, 63, and Piacitelli, 54, are each charged with four counts of aggravated unlawful gambling, a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine – though a conviction probably would not result in the more severe range of penalties.
Brichetto was chairman of the board of directors that oversees the club, and Piacitelli was the president.
The charges allege that on four different occasions, the men received more than $1,000 within a 24-hour period from a gambling scheme or enterprise.
Zerillo said there is no evidence or any allegation that his client profited personally from the video gaming. He will try to persuade the jury that his client did not have control over the poker machines.
"They have to prove he had control over the poker machines, and that he didn't do anything" to stop their use for gambling, Zerillo said.
He also said that on the days identified in the indictment, his client either wasn't there or Armstrong was the only one gambling.
"They believe they have done nothing wrong, and they are willing to stand up to government, even in the face of four felonies, and say that," Zerillo said.
Video poker machines themselves are not illegal as long as the players are not able to wager money on the results. The machines are a popular attraction at some fraternal organizations, which also run other legitimate games of chance, with the proceeds earmarked for charity.
The detective said he watched members insert cash into the video poker machines, then alert the bartender when they had accumulated credits. Winning hands would yield credits, which could be cashed in for 25 cents per credit.
Armstrong said he saw many people insert $10 or $20 into the machines and later cash in credits.
The trial is expected to be completed this week.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:
dhench@pressherald.com