Accused Points to Misconduct in Assault Case – Asks Court to Be Released to Home with Daughter, Gets New Lawyer


By Jojo Kofman

BURLINGTON – VT: The accused, charged with aggravated assault, disclosed this week in a Chittenden County Superior Court pre-trial that “my alleged victim filed an affidavit describing that law enforcement failed to disclose information…the victim admitted to being severely intoxicated when she filed the complaint.”

As the accused spoke, Judge Gregory A. Rainville interrupted him, “I hear what you’re saying…there are some holes in the state’s case,” but he advised the accused to not discuss the case details because it could affect him negatively later.

Judge Rainville had started the proceedings, a motion for hearing on new counsel, by confirming the accused had been held in custody for two months on the alleged aggravated assault charge.

The judge went on to say, “You have this felony which has a potential for up to 15 years. What may be more important is what criminal record you bring to court.”

He then read the accused’s criminal record, reciting, “Two failures to appear, 12 felony charges with two convictions, five assaulted crimes charged with one conviction…You’ve got a weighty case, there’s a lot at stake.”

Judge Rainville then admitted to the accused he probably will be incarcerated for a while, unless Deputy Public Defender William David Kidney negotiates conditions of release which involve a responsible adult and residence.

Deputy District Attorney Emily Page Pijanowski stepped in to explain that the accused was being held in custody on a probation violation, not the aggravated assault charge.

In response, the accused stepped in, arguing, “I don’t know why I can be held without bail on the probation violation when the state is proceeding with the new criminal charge…it seems a little backwards to me.”

While Judge Rainville admitted the accused made a good point, he explained, “When you get a probation violation you lose the right to bail…it’s stacked against you to get out of jail…you’ve got too many priors.”

Continuing to advocate for himself, the accused explained the violation was his first in many years, emphasizing, “I know the severity of coming to court…I just wanna let you know that I’m not the same 19-year-old boy I was before. I’m an adult now.”

The judge agreed with the accused for the second time, and replied, “That was 11 years ago, you make a good point.”

Judge Rainville went on to ask, “What is the status of the discovery at this point?” and DDA Pijanowski explained she’s waiting for additional information from law enforcement, noting, “I understand that [the accused] and the alleged victim have been in contact…”

At this point the accused spoke up to describe the details involved in the case before being advised by PD Kidney and Judge Rainville to not discuss the case.

Judge Rainville suggested the accused continue working with PD Kidney while discovery continues within the next 30 days before the status conference, adding, “if no negotiations are reached we can send this to trial.”

However, the accused interjected, “I feel like Mr. Kidney had coerced me and didn’t have my best interests at heart…I had to ask Kidney if he could explain to me how he had my best interests and he failed to do this numerous times.”

“Your honor, I have a 15-year-old daughter…I just want to be home,” insisted the accused.

The discussion regarding the possibility of new counsel finally commenced towards the end of the hearing.

PD Kidney replied, “[The accused] is taking a big interest in his case as he should,” and explained if the accused isn’t having the ability to work well in his defense the court can go forth and appoint new counsel.

Judge Rainville then finalized the motion by appointing the accused new counsel to be represented by. He concluded by issuing a no contact order between the accused and the “person the state believes is the victim.”

As the judge issued the no contact order, the victim who’d been in the courtroom audience throughout the proceeding loudly cried out, clearly upset, and said “it’s a f**king joke” and stormed out of the courtroom.

About The Author

Jojo Kofman, from San Francisco CA, is a fourth-year student at the University of Vermont. She studies Political Science and Sociology and is passionate about addressing issues in the carceral system. She hopes to pursue a career in law.

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