COURT WATCH: Accused’s Case Continued When Records Not Provided Defense – Man Forced to Live on Streets in Meantime 

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By Annie Rudolph and Charlie Simmons

BURLINGTON, VT- During a status conference today in Chittenden County Superior Court, Defense Attorney Emmett Wood told the court the defense could not file a motion to dismiss the accused’s case because crucial medical records have not been provided.

Because of the nature of the charges against him, the accused is unable to return home to his partner and children until the case is dismissed, said the defense, noting the accused is now forced to live on the streets during a frigid Burlington winter despite debilitating health struggles.

The accused is charged with simple assault and violating his conditions of release.

Defense Attorney Wood expressed a certain amount of frustration over the “immense struggle to get records” about the accused’s medical history, particularly relating to an isolated event that occurred while the accused was incarcerated.

Although the accused’s fiancé provided limited medical information about the accused, Wood has been unable to obtain medical records from the hospital or Dept. of Corrections.

The defense said it is unsure about the specifics regarding why and where the records are being held, but expressed that it is all “a mess frankly.”

Defense Attorney Wood admitted he doesn’t like to “kick the can up the road” but explained that in this case, “I don’t have materials I need.” He said he is planning to file a motion to dismiss this case but is unable to do so until they obtain the relevant medical information.

Without this material, the accused is currently stuck in limbo, living on the streets, said Wood, imploring the judge to reverse or amend his conditions currently barring the accused from being home with his family.

The accused said that his three children don’t understand “why dad can’t come home,” and that both he and his partner wish for him to return. The state refuses to amend his conditions of release without the relevant medical records.

The accused’s partner is his primary caregiver and assists in administering his medication which is burdensome for both of them under the court’s current conditions, said the defense.

Judge Michael Harris and Defense Attorney Wood both said this case has reached a juncture where issuing a subpoena might be necessary to pursue the necessary records.

Though the accused appeared virtually in court, his partner could be seen lying next to him in bed. His exact location was unclear.

During proceedings, the accused emphasized that it was both “embarrassing” and frightening to have to live outside during the “cold” Burlington winter. “I’m scared,” the accused said. “I don’t want to die in the streets.”

The accused also spoke up regarding the incident that occurred while he was in custody and shared “I stopped breathing” and “I don’t think they (DOC) wanna give that up.”

Defense Attorney Wood explained this was an isolated event. They stated that the accused is “not in good health,” and suffers from ongoing debilitating medical problems.

The accused appeared to have a visible bruise on the left side of his face. During proceedings, it was revealed the previous night he had fallen, causing him to obtain a head injury. Attorney Wood asserted this ongoing case is quite detrimental to the accused and his health, while also placing a major strain on his family.

According to the defense, the hospital released the accused’s records to an unnamed “third party” that is currently in possession of the necessary materials. Judge Harris inquired further on this matter but Wood conceded that they didn’t know any more details.

Judge Harris acknowledged the accused was in a reclined position on the video screen and appeared to be in poor health. In discussing a different matter the court needed to arraign the accused on, the judge questioned if the accused wished to postpone that proceeding to a different day to which he consented.

Judge Harris scheduled a status conference in 60 days but acknowledged that this could change to a motion hearing if the defense is able to obtain the records within that period and file the motion. Meanwhile, the trial is continued and the hearing ended with arraigning the accused on the other matter to which he entered a plea of not guilty.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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